We’ve been told for years we need to stay out of the sun because it can increase the risk for skin cancer.
But other studies are coming out to contradict this information. And the results are fascinating.
In summary, avoiding sun could INCREASE your risk of cancer AND be contributing to your overall less-than-stellar health.
Note: studies done in this direction are currently observational and preliminary. That said, we’re all intimately familiar with how much on the cutting edge of science the Celiac experience tends to be. And these studies bring up some incredibly interesting observations.
What Studies Say
A study in Sweden done on nearly 30k women indicated ladies who spent more time in the sun lived longer and healthier lives. Less disease, less instances of cancer, and longer lifespans.
Numerous studies have indicated vitamin D deficiency may contribute to-
- Cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk for developing autoimmune diseases
It sounds almost too far-fetched to be true. So many things connected back to sunshine? But these studies and more are turning up more and more links between too little sunshine and overall poor health.
The Links to Skin Cancer
“Ah, but what about skin cancer?” you may ask.
It’s a good question.
First, skin cancer risks only rise significantly when you get BURNED. Just sun exposure without burning doesn’t increase your risk of skin cancer.
Secondly, getting enough sunshine is being seen to reduce the rates of other, more common cancers. Estimates I’ve seen say the reduction of risk for THOSE cancers far outweighs the potential risk for skin cancer.
So in other words, if you’re getting sun exposure and not burning, you are reducing the risk of other cancers and not significantly increasing your risk of skin cancer.
How Much Sunshine You Should Get
OK, so if you’re like me, this convinced you to get more sunshine in your day. I am literally making time for sunshine every single day after diving into this research.
The question then becomes “how MUCH sunshine should I get?” And that’s much harder to answer.
We know about much vitamin D you need to be considered at a healthy level. But how much you synthesize from the sun depends on your skin tone, your altitude, how cloudy it is, and other environmental factors.
Do NOT wear sunscreen while getting your sun in. We don’t know how sunscreen messes with your synthesization of vitamin D, so wearing it could mean you don’t get any of the benefits you’re working so hard to get.
DO NOT GET BURNED. So if you’re a delicate white rose that turns pink in the sun in 15 mins (like my partner, who I teasingly call Frybaby while I slather him in sunscreen for long days in the sun), don’t be in the sun more than 15 mins. Only do 10, or whatever you can do without burning yourself.
You need SOME kind of guideline for getting enough sunshine. There’s a fantastic calculator I found that takes your location, your altitude, your skin color, and a couple other factors into consideration for estimating how much time in the sun you need every other day to get enough vitamin D synthesized. It’s based on numerous studies, looks super ugly (lol), and gives really interesting information. Check it out.
When you use it though, bear in mind this is an ESTIMATE. It’s taking your data and making a calculation based on what it knows. It is NOT a prescription. I just had a client use it and she is a gorgeous gal with pale skin who burns even faster than my partner. She plugged in her numbers, then told me “this says I should be in the sun for 3 hours”.
NOPE. Not gonna happen. She would fry down to nothing with that much unprotected sun. So she’s currently getting 10 mins of unprotected sunshine a day. Enough to build her sun tolerance for now, and more sun than she’s ever got in her life.
As always, take this advice with a grain of salt. If this makes you want to experiment with getting more sunshine, make sure you do it responsibly.
Stay safe and healthy, friends.