Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sun Safety

David Sokulski
Enjoy the Sun (and Leave Harmful Sunscreens Behind)
by David Sokulski, L.Ac.

The sun has many health benefits, and most sunscreens contain chemicals that are extremely damaging to your health.

The benefits of sunlight are many, including:

  • Supplies the body with vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of Calcium and transfers Calcium across cell membranes, thus strengthening the bones
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Prevents infections from bacteria, mold, and viruses
  • Increases white blood cell count and gamma globulin count, thus enhancing the immune system
  • Strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system.
Sunlight aids in preventing:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix, ovaries, colon, prostate and stomach.
However, you don't want to get too much sun, and avoid getting burned. Be careful to do this naturally, though, and avoid using commercial sunscreens, which are loaded with harmful chemicals that are not approved by the FDA (but don't have to be, since they are applied to the skin.)

One such chemical is called oxybenzone, which has been linked in studies to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight in girls whose moms were exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is actually a penetration enhancer, which means it aids in helping get itself and other chemicals into your body through your skin.

The Environmental Working Group has put out their 2010 Sunscreen Guide. They list sunscreens for use by adults, children and even babies which contain oxybenzone. Among the worst on the list are sunscreens specifically made for babies, so please check this list out.

(This article has full details about oxybenzone and where to go for a list of safe sunscreens.)

Sunscreens, even organic sunscreens, may also contain titanium oxide, which can cause heavy metal poisoning and cell damage, especially in young children.

Things you can do to stay protected from sunburns but enjoy the sun's amazing rays and health benefits are:

  • Do not eat deep fried foods and fast foods. Unhealthy fats in our system enhance likelihood of sunburn.
  • Eat healthy oils, like coconut oil and omega three oils such as flax oil.
  • Avoid being out in the sun during the hottest times of the day.
  • If out and you feel you are getting too much sun, cover up with a long sleeved shirt and a hat.
  • Use a pure oil on the skin, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. This keeps the skin from drying out and jojoba has a natural SPF of 15.
Be smart in the sun, but please enjoy this gift of summer (and all seasons), and learn to avoid putting toxic chemicals on your skin. It's better for you, your children, those around you, and the environment.

Here, again, is list of helpful references and links:



David and Melissa Sokulski, L.Acs.

Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

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