A recent study in the prominent US dermatology journal tell us that only a small fraction of US schools have implemented policies that protect students from over-exposure to the sun, and few provide shade, sunscreen, or other ways to avoid ultraviolet rays.
Since severe sunburns occur during childhood, which may promote melanoma later, these experts recommend that policymakers and school administrators encourage and implement sun protection policies at schools nationwide.
The authors of this study recommend that schools without a sun protection policy adopt one, and at least implement minor changes that could help shield students from the sun, such as allowing staff to put sunscreen on students, and permitting hats and sunglasses when outdoors.
Archives of Dermatology June 2002;138:771-774
Most of us have been bombarded about the dangers of the sun by experts and the media. However, because it is one of the most pervasive and inaccurate myths persisting in most of the patients I see, I can only assume you are under the same misunderstanding. Unfortunately, this myth has contributed to massive amounts of disease and illness in our society.
Can sun exposure cause skin cancer? Absolutely. However, appropriate sunlight actually prevents cancer. Exposure to the sun provides many benefits such as promoting the formation of vitamin D. We also have strong evidence that sunlight is protective against MS and breast cancer.
The key is to never burn.
Although the American Academy of Dermatology will have you bathing in sunscreen, it is one of the LAST things you want to put on your body. It is a toxic chemical that can cause problems in your system. Even if it didn’t contribute to disease, the central issue is that it doesn’t even work.
A British dermatologist published an article earlier this year which showed no clear indication that sunscreens worked. Another study in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology last year found the same thing. A far more logical solution would be to use clothing to protect you against the sun.
So what is the cause of skin cancer and the deadly melanoma?
I may sound like I am on my soapbox again but, it is the omega 6:3 oil ratio.
I quote from Cancer Res 2000 Aug 1;60(15):4139-45:
"Epidemiological, experimental, and mechanistic data implicate omega-6 fat as stimulators and long-chain omega-3 fats as inhibitors of development and progression of a range of human cancers, including melanoma."
Last year, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development. An Australian study done ten years ago showed a 40% reduction in melanoma for those who were eating fish. And this was without any attention to lowering omega-6 fats.
So, do I recommend you pop some fish oil pills and go out and get as much sun as you would like?
You must exercise caution. At the beginning of the season go out gradually, perhaps as little as ten minutes a day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so that in a few weeks, you will be able to have normal sun exposure with little risk of skin cancer.
Remember never to get burned, that is the key.
Remember also never to use sunscreen, another key. You can creatively use your clothing to block the sun’s rays during your build-up time.
The bottom line is, please avoid getting sucked into the hype that sunlight is dangerous. It is only dangerous if you are clueless about fat nutrition, which most medical doctors are. If you choose to ignore your omega 6:3 ratio and stay out of the sun, you could limit your risk of skin cancer, but is that worth the risk of getting MS, breast or prostate cancer?