8

votes

Is there any scientific evidence that no soap means no need for sunscreen?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 18, 2012 at 2:25 PM

So, I quit using soap on all areas of my body except my crotch (I still think hygiene is probably the best policy) and I am still using shampoo. I eat almost 100% paleo, lots of coconut, olive and fish oils consumed.

I thought I read somewhere that by not using soap your skin's oils are more protective (since they are actually there). Obviously skin cancer is always a concern. I live in Colorado and spend a lot of time outside year round.

Does anyone have any sources that support not using sunscreen in this scenario? I really don't want to put chemicals on my skin.

Thanks a lot for your help on this.

091f5e18a471bcc52544c537d5103fea

on April 09, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Have to agree with you there. I'm red headed, fair skin, freckles and as long as I stick to paleo, I can tolerate a lot more sun. Can't wait to get out an hour a day up here in Colorado (9000 ft)!

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on March 29, 2012
at 07:35 AM

@wowza. I go in the sun every chance I get, on the narrow boat when I can and I wear tan through T shirts now too. No sunscreen ever, no soap except pits / feet / groin, and at 60 this summer, I have virtually no wrinkles and am often told I look 10 years younger. I eat lots of sat fats, and believe that our natural oils do protect us (and I wouldn't be surprised if they assist in making vitamin D too).

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on March 29, 2012
at 07:31 AM

@wowza - I have NEVER used sunscreen, I go in the sun every dance I get (even wear tan through T shirts), spend lots of time on my narrow boat in the sun - and at 60 this summer, I have hardly a wrinkle at all. I am often taken for 10 years less. I use soap on armpits / feet / crotch only and believe that our natural oils protect us. (Probably also help form vit D). I eat lots of sat fats, which I think help too.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Yeah, @Wowza speaks the truth. My BF's fisherman family have the most wrinkled, leathery skin from being on the water and getting so much sun, and my kite-surfing/life-long-surfer uncle has mad wrinkles. Their necks look really weird and creased especially. The BF's mom is so embarrassed by it, she is constantly putting cream on her skin. My dad is a red-head who grew up on a farm (lots and lots of time outside) and used to be a ski instructor (didn't wear a hat or helmet for years), and got melanoma on his head 15 years ago. Unpleasant aging/damage can happen!

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 19, 2012
at 03:06 PM

I haven't met any "openly" paleo people here yet, but then again I don't advertise my diet to people I meet. Most people here are either gluten-free or "healthy whole grains" types, and almost everyone's into "cardio".

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 19, 2012
at 01:52 PM

I'm in Longmont. Paleo seems like a real "Boulder" kind of thing even though most people think it is all about vegetarians.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 19, 2012
at 12:37 AM

Boulder. you know, the best part ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 18, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Where in Colorado?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 18, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Where in Colorado?

80890193d74240cab6dda920665bfb6c

(1528)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:47 PM

The issue here goes beyond sunburn, dudes. I'll get in trouble for saying this here, but the real issue is aging. UV light damages collagen over time - so by age 40 without sunscreen you'll start to look like an old leather couch and by 60 you'll have the full and tragic Bardot look, where your cheeks are down past your chin. It's not a good look - stick to the TiOx if you want, with sunglasses, but I beg you to avoid magical thinking about the long-term effects of UV on collagen.

Medium avatar

(2923)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:09 PM

In addition, both Robb and Mark point out in their books that regular sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels help with extending the amount of exposure before burning and lowering the risk of melanomas (so long as you avoid burning).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:13 PM

@raydawg - the reason they are related was that I was thinking that the skins natural oils may work as a sunscreen and that we really only "need" sunscreen because people tend to remove those oils with soap.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on March 18, 2012
at 04:33 PM

Why should soap use and sunscreen use be related? Avoid both, but not because they're connected (which they are not.)

F02990386b12528111740ad6279ba29d

(1363)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:15 PM

Great Question. Summers coming, time to start lathering ourselves and our loved ones up with poison!

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7 Answers

6
9c8a6d20ee1db00a795709d6d2e2ce7a

on March 18, 2012
at 03:08 PM

There's evidence out there that one might not want to be putting on sunscreen anyway (most sunscreens contain known endocrine disruptors and synthetic vitamin A derivatives that increase the rate of cancer growth). Besides, when you avoid sunscreen, your body produces vitamin D, which among its many functions in the body is actually onco-protective! Still, if you're really worried, here are some primal tips: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/8-natural-ways-to-prevent-a-sunburn-and-sunscreens-not-one-of-them/#axzz1pNtmMlgr

Medium avatar

(2923)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:09 PM

In addition, both Robb and Mark point out in their books that regular sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels help with extending the amount of exposure before burning and lowering the risk of melanomas (so long as you avoid burning).

091f5e18a471bcc52544c537d5103fea

on April 09, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Have to agree with you there. I'm red headed, fair skin, freckles and as long as I stick to paleo, I can tolerate a lot more sun. Can't wait to get out an hour a day up here in Colorado (9000 ft)!

3
A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 18, 2012
at 04:42 PM

I'm in Colorado as well, already have a good tan going! Especially if you're white, you're going to get sunburned if you expose your skin to direct sun for too long, regardless of whether or not you use soap. So you have two choices - don't expose your skin for too long, or wear sunscreen.

Here in CO where I can get a tan in March, I try to get an hour of sun every day until I darken a bit, then work up to 2 hours a day and so forth. By the time summer rolls around I've got a tan dark enough that I don't need to worry about being outside for 3-4 hours with my shirt off. That's about as "Paleo" as it gets for white folks.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 18, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Where in Colorado?

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 19, 2012
at 12:37 AM

Boulder. you know, the best part ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 19, 2012
at 01:52 PM

I'm in Longmont. Paleo seems like a real "Boulder" kind of thing even though most people think it is all about vegetarians.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 19, 2012
at 03:06 PM

I haven't met any "openly" paleo people here yet, but then again I don't advertise my diet to people I meet. Most people here are either gluten-free or "healthy whole grains" types, and almost everyone's into "cardio".

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32566)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:27 PM

I think it is important to optimize your D levels, whether from gradual sunning beginning now or supplementing with D. My very fair husband has noticed increased sun tolerance since supplementing with D for many months. We live in Santa Fe, NM at 7,000 feet.

Here's an excerpt form an older Vitamin D Council newsletter--sorry, I don't have the link!

Dr. Cannell: I just came back from a vacation in the Caribbean and you are right about what you wrote a few years ago about vitamin D and sun sensitivity. Before, I always burned easily as I am fair-skinned. But, before this vacation I had been taking 5,000 IU per day for about 9 months. My skin was much more resistant to the sun; sometimes it would get red and I thought I was burned but the next morning it was gone.

Thank you, it is so great not having to always worry so much about getting burned. Justine, New Jersey

You're welcome, but don't throw away your sunblock. If you remember from my past newsletters, my daughter Eliza discovered vitamin D's ability to prevent sunburn and my fair-skinned, river-rafting friend confirmed it. My daughter had been taking 5,000 IU per day for ten months and decided she wanted to tan in a suntan parlor. Instead of burning the first few times, she quickly developed a rich tan.

My friend took high doses of vitamin D for a few weeks before rafting and, for the first time in his life, did not burn when rafting the Snake River. In fact, a businessman is now selling a product at sun-tanning parlors to prevent burning; the product's active ingredient is simply 30 tablets of 10,000 IUs of vitamin D3, to be taken daily for one month before tanning.

This is the time of year many people sunburn. I have thought a lot about the whole issue of sunburning and would like to propose a theory. I do not think sunburning is entirely without an evolutionary benefit. The final conversion of vitamin D in the skin requires heat and the heat of sunburn will increase the amount of vitamin D made by any one sun-exposure. Thus, sunburns evolved for a reason. Nature cares less if you damage your skin with sunburn; Nature cares more that vitamin D deficient people maximize any one sun-exposure. That is, people with low 25(OH)D levels have a reason to burn, they make more vitamin D. Easy sunburning and sun sensitivity may simply be a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. This is also a good study for some young vitamin D scientist to do.

Vitamin D sufficient people do not need any extra vitamin D from the sun, so the extra heat in the skin generated by sunburn is not needed. (As an aside, I also predict that 25(OH)D exerts negative feedback on 7-dehydrocholesterol, vitamin D's precursor molecule.) Vitamin D sufficient readers will see, when they go into the sun this spring, that it takes longer to burn, that their skin is less sun-sensitive, and that when redness does occur, it is often gone the next day. However, beware: vitamin D sufficient people can still sunburn, it just takes longer. Sunburns increase your risk of melanoma and other skin cancers.

Also, some fair-skinned people have a genetic variation that prevents their skin from making melanin pigment. Theoretically, vitamin D should not help them from sunburning. But don't confuse fact with theory. The fact is that some skin type 1 people cannot make much melanin; the theory is that vitamin D will not protect their skin from sunburn. However, I know of some very fair-skinned, blond-headed, blue-eyed, skin type 1 people whose skin became less sensitive to the sun after taking 5,000 IU/day.

1
Ee0c539e56bff4ad4195d55fad3cd776

(10)

on March 29, 2012
at 01:25 AM

Excellent discussion. As a melanoma survivor (at 32) and avid cyclist/runner, I have concern for future cancer development. I do feel that Vit D (which I have been taking at 5000 IU per day for 1 year) has decreased my usual succeptibility to sunburn. My time in Oregon left me D deficient, and as a result I would burn frequently and easily. As far as not bathing goes- I am not sure that increases the amount of sebaceous fluid on the skin would cause you to burn less- if anything, it seems it woudl cause one to burn more readily. Of course, you can't argue with what works for each individual.

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on March 18, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Read my previous post about sunscreen here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/37200/are-you-aware-that-using-sunscreen-may-cause-skin-cancer/37202#37202

I also live in Colorado (at 8,000 ft) and am outside all year round with no issues.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 18, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Where in Colorado?

0
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:30 PM

I don't know, but since going Paleo and eating a very high Fat diet and losing a ton of weight to where I can go outside without a shirt on ( something this old pudge would NEVER do) to garden and swing kettlebells- I have yet to get a burn or even a decent warm tone of a tan. My left arm, which rests outside the car window for hours on end, doesn't even get a tone anymore. Im as white of anm irishman as I ever have been. Is it the high fat? I don't know but it works for me and I use soaps from the farmers market and wash me all.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 18, 2012
at 06:06 PM

Highly doubt that there's UV-protective properties in skin oils. You have to have UV-absorbing chromaphors and skins oils don't have them. Of course, you look at the chemical structures of UV-absorbing ingredients in sunscreens and all those aromatic rings should give one pause. Very reminiscent of many essential oils.

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