From what I understand, as long as I tan easily, don't burn, and don't spend obscene amounts of time in the sun, I should be fine even without sunscreen. I have assure myself that sun exposure has been more or less incorporated in our genetic evolution. But is it possible that all bets are off if we use soaps and exfoliation scrubs which could remove protective layers on our skin?
More broadly, do paleo tenets (e.g. no-sunscreen) rely on other paleo tenets (no-soap) in order to hold true?
asked byMM (773)
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on June 26, 2014
at 10:35 AM
As long as you stay within your lattitude it's fine. I find that here in NY, I don't burn at all, even if I stay in the sun for 2-3 hours at a time. If I'm on vacation in a warmer zone, I wind up burning after half an hour, unless I'm already tanned, and even then I sometimes burn.
The restriction on soap is that you don't wash off the vitamin D sulfate you've just created before it's absorbed. That is, we make vitamin D from cholesterol by exposing it to UV rays, and then later at night, we absorb that vitamin D through our skin. So if you take a shower, after spending a day in the sun, you'll risk washing off all the vitamin D sulfate you just created. tl;dr shower in the morning only.
Soaps don't exfoliate, they emulsify fats in water (Vitamin D is fat soluable) and allow them to be removed. If you'll use something abrasive, like an exfolliant, then you'll mechanically rub off the top layers of dead skin. It's unlikely you'll prevent vitamin D formation, but certainly you'll prevent its absorption. I'm not sure that the new skin underneath would lack melanin thus stripping away your protection from burning. Certainly, you'll still be able to form vitamin D with the new skin layers below.
The restriction on suntan lotion is that it's full of carcinogens, and the ones that contain antioxidants in them, such as vitamin A, cause the vitamin A to react with the UV rays, forming free radicals that raise the probability of cancer in addition to the risk from the UV rays themselves.
Further, almost anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your blood stream, some things even quicker and more efficiently than if you ate them because the digestion process offers some protection against toxins (by breaking them down or excreting them) where the skin directly absorbs them. tl;dr: if you wouldn't eat it, don't put it on your skin.
It's perfectly fine to use a toxin free zinc based sunscreen.
on June 26, 2014
at 06:54 AM
I have never used sunscreen, as I don't want to be covered in chemicals which might be absorbed transdermally. I eat plenty of sat fat, so assume my skin has a reasonable amount of cholesterol to produce vitamin D. And I use soap only on feet / groin / armpits. And I do tend to tan more easily than in pre paleo days - it is really noticeable. I don't overdo sun exposure until a tan is becoming established, but by high summer here in the UK I am comfortable spending hours outside.