The sun scare message (so we are all on the right page) is the anti-sun message advocated by certain dermatological and skin care groups. This message characterizes sun rays as highly dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. It describes UV rays as highly carcinogenic and damaging to the skin, putting you at risk for skin cancer and premature aging whenever you come into contact with them.
These groups will advocate wearing long sleeves, pants, and a hat whenever you go out in the sun, and to lather on sunscreen during the course of the day.
Now, it is true that UV rays in excessive amounts are certainly carcinogenic, just like many other substances and energy sources found on this earth. However, to blow these risks out of proportion and tag UV rays as dangerous in all amounts, and to go against the idea that we are a species that has been living prosperously under the sun for thousands and thousands of years seems to be a bit excessive.
More and more researchers are finding that this excessive scare message is actually showing itself to be more damaging than we previously thought.
Overzealous avoidance of the sun has led to a new epidemic in our country: Vitamin D deficiency. We have talked about Vitamin D before. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to 16 different types of cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, athloclyrosis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, depression, and more.
There is one story where a teacher couldn’t get out of bed because she was paralyzed by body aches and depression. It was eventually found that she had a severe Vitamin D deficiency.
Another story is about a couple who were accused of abusing their child, as the child was found to have broken bones, but it was later found that the child had infantile rickets and was Vitamin D deficient.
Stories like these are emerging all over the country. What we are finding is that people are simply not getting enough sun. Vitamin D can be found in certain foods (especially fish) and supplements, but the main source of Vitamin D is sunshine.
The sun scare message has been implicated in this excessive avoidance of the sun, as well as our sedentary lifestyles and the majority of our time spent indoors.
Sunscreen prevents excessive UV damage and sunburn, but it also blocks UV absorption, depriving us of Vitamin D. All in all, we need some unprotected sunlight here and there, and could use a little indoor tanning to keep our Vitamin D levels up during the winter months.
We need to get our Vitamin D levels back to normal. Healthy Vitamin D levels translates to good health overall, so get out there and get your sun!