What is your take on sunscreen?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 26, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Hi everyone,

What is your take on sunscreen? Is it harmful? Is it necessary?

If you use it, which brand do you use? What SPF? How often do you reapply?

If you go without it, what do you use in place? Coconut oil? Hats and long sleeves? Stay indoors?

Do you eat certain foods in the days leading up to lots of sun exposure? Any supplements?

Specificity is appreciated.

I'm preparing for a weekend at the NJ beach. I'll be on the sand from the morning til the late afternoon. I have five days to get ready. I'm already eating mostly Paleo (80% the last 2-3 weeks, but usually closer to 90%) I'm wondering if I should be stocking up on coconut oil and certain foods, or if conventional wisdom is right and I should be buying some SPF.


Edit: I am Caucasian. I have a bit of color on me now, more on my face than on my body. I definitely wouldn't describe myself as ghostly, nor would I as super tan. I've been outside a few days a week for the last few months, gradually getting more color, so it's not like I'm going from a winter indoors to the sunny beach. And I would like to get some (healthy!) color on this trip.

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5 Answers


on May 26, 2013
at 07:17 PM

I do not use it on a day-to-day basis, except on my face. I use Aveeno moisturizer, and it has sunscreen in it.

My daughter is very fair, and I don't use it on her, either. I am not a huge sun worshipper. If I go to the beach, I use an umbrella, sit under a tree, or go in the late afternoon/evening.I just don't like baking.

I will use it, though, if I'm going to be out in unavoidable sun, like a bike trip. Then I will buy some and use it. Overall, I think sun exposure is healthy, and we should just be reasonable.



on May 27, 2013
at 03:22 AM

I never use it. I'm a somewhat olive-complexioned caucasian who can burn if really careless but normally just tans darker and darker. I try to cover any more burnt parts with clothing for a day or two to let them recover, for example back flaps on a hat when the back of my neck is a bit burnt. I have no idea if it's a good idea or not, I just love the sun and hate lotions and creams.



on May 26, 2013
at 03:50 PM

NJ beach? Fellow New Jerseyan here! :-) Belmar beach is my favorite.

Honestly, if you've got nothing better to use, just use the conventional sunscreen for now. Unfortunately, some ingredients in conventional sunscreen can be cancerous...

If you've got time, you can make your own sunscreen. Certain oils (coconut and olive) have a certain SPF to them. Add zinc oxide to the mixture, and you've got a decent, natural sunblock.




on May 27, 2013
at 02:58 AM

I spend the first 15-25 minutes without Sunscreen (except for face, plus a hat), to maximize vitamin D. Then I either cover up or apply a 15 SPF. I'm pale so I don't need long unprotected for D, and will burn to a crisp with any extended exposure uncovered.



on May 26, 2013
at 07:49 PM

If you're going to be spending the whole day on the beach like that you will burn to a crisp without sunblock. Don't rely on umbrellas--the reflected sun from the sand and water can STILL burn your skin (ask me how I know!).

In general, it's better not to use the commercial stuff, but prolonged exposure when your skin is not used to it will cause far worse and more immediate damage. Gradually building up your sun exposure time while eating a healthy diet is preferable but not practical under the circumstances.

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