How to Prevent, and Treat, Sunburn

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July 21, 2014 | 283,481 views

Story at-a-glance

  • While it's true that excessive sun exposure resulting in sunburn may increase your risk of skin cancer, it’s a fallacy to believe that sun exposure should be avoided altogether
  • When UVB strikes the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative into vitamin D3, which is critical for overall health and disease prevention
  • As a general rule of thumb, to optimize your vitamin D levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun – including your legs, back, arms, and chest, but avoid your face to reduce photoaging wrinkling
  • The key is knowing when to cover back up. You only want your skin to turn the lightest shade of pink. Once that occurs—which can happen in as little as 10-20 minutes—cover up or get out of the sun
  • One of the most effective first-aid strategies I know of is to apply raw aloe vera onto the burn. It’s loaded with powerful glyconutrients that accelerate healing. Several other natural first-aid treatments are also reviewed

By Dr. Mercola

You've heard the advice before: stay out of the sun or use plenty of sunscreen to block cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays. But while it's true that excessive sun exposure resulting in sunburn may increase ayour risk of skin cancer, it's a fallacy to believe that sun exposure should be avoided altogether.

The key is to find the right balance, where you're exposing plenty of skin to the sun's rays, but not staying out to the point of getting burned. Sun exposure can only be therapeutic when it's done in appropriate and measured timeframes.

Excessive sun exposure provides no benefit and can only result in damage like sunburn, which is an inflammatory response in your skin to UVB overexposure. However, UVB exposure is precisely what you want, in appropriate amounts, because when UVB strikes the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative into vitamin D3.

The benefits of optimizing your vitamin D stores cannot be overstated, and I've discussed this in a large number of articles spanning more than a decade. Ironically, one of the benefits is actually a significant reduction in cancer risk—both skin cancer and many other types of cancer.

Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

In my view, sensible sun exposure is so important for optimal health, you're really doing yourself and your kids a disservice by not learning how to do so safely and effectively. A robust and growing body of research (totaling in the neighborhood of 34,000 studies) clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for disease prevention. Researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half.  

This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. It is showing how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.

In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)

As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 Journal of Clinical Oncology July 7, 2014 [Epub ahead of print]
  • 2 Fox News July 9, 2014
  • 3 Healio.com July 9, 2014
  • 4  Calculated Ultraviolet Exposure Levels for a Healthy Vitamin D Status
  • 5  Medicinenet.com Signs of Dehydration
  • 6 Consumer Reports July 2, 2014
  • 7 10News July 9, 2014