Those of you who know me - or have read this blog for any length of time - know how much I disagree with the application of chemicals to the skin and to the invasion of Big Pharma into our lives.
I found the following article about lack of sun exposure and its devastating relationship to cancer and other serious health complications on Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's site. I agree with about 90% of it, this part in particular:
"...I recommend moderate sunbathing... Vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine (in terms of Vitamin D needs). But, if taken in too large a dose, they can cause Vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not."
30 years of warnings - which can be traced directly back to manufacturers of sunscreen and their corporate financial goals - have left people sick, much more prone to cancers and, not mentioned here, MUCH higher rates of MS and who knows what blood-borne damage due to application of chemicals to porous skin.
Our bodies are excellently evolved to protect us from the elements first, but secondly to USE the elements to keep us healthy. From Wikipedia, this is the function of a tan:
"As a defense against UV radiation, the amount of the brown pigment melanin in the skin increases when exposed to moderate (depending on skin type) levels of radiation; this is commonly known as a sun tan. The purpose of melanin is to absorb UV radiation and dissipate the energy as harmless heat, blocking the UV from damaging skin tissue. UVA gives a quick tan that lasts for days by oxidizing melanin that was already present and triggers the release of the melanin from melanocytes. UVB on the other hand yields a tan that takes roughly 2 days to develop because it stimulates the body to produce more melanin. The photochemical properties of melanin make it an excellent photoprotectant.
Sunscreen chemicals on the other hand cannot dissipate the energy of the excited state as efficiently as melanin and therefore the penetration of sunscreen ingredients into the lower layers of the skin increases the amount of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (seriously?? does that sound like a good idea?)"
An article in the Seattle Times points to what looks like an obvious connection between lack of sun and MS.
"A growing body of evidence suggests [lack of sun exposure] can raise your risk of cancer, increase susceptibility to heart attack, diabetes and other disorders, and at least partly account for the region's sky-high rates of multiple sclerosis."
Sunburns are certainly not good for the skin but the sun itself - and the body's ability to tan and therefore 'metabolize' sun - is absolutely necessary and critical to a body's health. Responsibly taking the sun means that the skin will activate its highly developed protective feature - tanning - while allowing the body to process vitamin D in a radically more accessible way than by taking supplements, which can easily be consumed to toxic, damaging levels.
As I've said before, if a product - vitamin D, sunscreen, drugs of many types - comes with expensive TV advertising or similar 'push' campaigns, it is suspect.
Paltrow says in her newsletter that not only was she ill enough to check in with both her western and eastern doctors, she was discovered to have the lowest amounts of vitamin D they'd ever seen. She also admits to being what I'd call phobic about staying utterly out of the sun. She is the poster-girl for who sick it can make a person to buy in to big pharma and its little buddy the sunscreen peddlers.
Go outside, get some sun and yes, get a tan. It IS good for you. READ ON.