There are worse things in life than getting a sun burn.

summer exercise

You know,  like stubbing your toe in the middle of the night when you are tending to a screaming baby.. Or those dang little hangnails that grip every little strand of string in your shirt, or when you put your hand in your pocket.

I mean, really how bad can a sun burn really be? Plenty bad! You see, the longer your skin is exposed to the sun, the deeper the UVA rays penetrate into skin and cause a ruckus. Not just a ruckus, a deep underlying frenzy of free radical damage that may eventually damage the very DNA that makes you the person you are today.

And this damage, from spending too much time in the sun, may very well put you up for weekly trips to the hospital so you can battle the most dreaded cancer of all – melanoma.

Now, not everyone will develop skin cancer from going outside in the sun – as long as your protected with the RIGHT sun protection. Plus, you should AVOID these popular sunscreens…

The Power of the Waves

Let’s start off simply: you need the sun.  In fact, everything in life – from the trees to the squirrels your dog is chasing, to YOU – need the sun. Without the sun, life would cease to exist. So with that in mind, there are some things you should know about the sun.

First off, the sun contains powerful rays that possess the power to improve your health – or destroy it, depending on what type you’re exposed to. You see, the sun contains UVA rays – which penetrate your skin and damage the inner layers by increasing free radical damage.

These are the type of rays that increase wrinkles and boost your risk for skin cancer. UVA rays should be avoided at all costs!  However, these rays shine all throughout the day, which means you need to be protected ALL DAY LONG. Now UVB rays, on the other hand, may be beneficial to your body.

You see, these rays penetrate your skin and may boost your body’s production of vitamin D. This is very important.  Most people are deficient in their vitamin D levels.  This could lead to you being overweight, having high blood pressure, an increased risk for diabetes, and may even increase your risk for developing certain cancers.

Some studies suggest that having adequate vitamin D levels may actually PREVENT certain cancers from occurring! But for those people concerned about the sun, they lather themselves up with sunscreen in order to block the harmful rays or reflect the rays off their bodies. And this is where the problem lies…

The 3 WORST Sunscreens

There are two main types of sunscreens you should concern yourself with… One type reflects the UV rays from striking your body using inert ingredients that may be non-toxic to your body. The second – and the worst kind – contains different chemicals that may pose a risk to your health.

Now, most people use sunscreen during the summer to prevent sunburns and reduce the risk for cancer.  But, if you’re using any of three, then you could be putting yourself at risk…

1. Chemical Sunscreen  These are your most common sunscreens on the market today.  Most of them contain different chemicals, all designed to absorb or reflect the harmful rays from the sun. One of the main ingredients – avobenzone – which is found in almost all chemically made sunscreens, absorb the harmful UVA rays.

But there is a problem: the chemical avobenzone breaks down in the sunlight, which means another chemical stabilizer needs to be added to prevent this from occurring. Result – even more exposure to nasty chemicals that may harm your health! Plus, sunscreens also block the UVB rays from the body, which could limit the amount of vitamin D that your body is able to produce.

2. Vitamin A Sunscreens  When you are exposed to the sun for long periods of time, there is a good chance you may develop a sun burn. And this sunburn may be a sign that deeper layers in your skin have been damaged by UVA rays, which could cause fine lines and wrinkles. And this is one reason why Vitamin A was introduced into sunscreens. Vitamin A may be used as a cosmetic ingredient due to its antioxidant power.

It could be used to improve the performance of the product against the aging effects of UV sunlight exposure on the skin. However, a recent study showed that sunscreens that contain Vitamin A may increase your risk for developing skin tumors and/or lesions. It may suit you best to think twice about using Vitamin A-rich sunscreens.

3. Spray On Sunscreens Ever use a spray-on sunscreen because it was easier to apply? Of course you probably have!  However, these may hold potential dangers to your health. You see, aerosol spray sunscreens may not dry quickly enough, which could mean there may be vapors left over and floating above your skin.

This may increase the chance for the sunscreen to ignite when exposed to an open flame. Although easy to apply and able to get those hard-to-reach places, avoiding aerosol based sunscreens may lead to a safer and more enjoyable experience – especially around the BBQ.

Tips for a Safe Summer

Spring and summer are a time when the temperatures start to climb and the sun is out for longer periods of time. However, in order to enjoy the sun – without burning and increasing your risk for skin cancer- we suggest you do the following:

1. AVOID spending long periods of time in the sun without proper protection from non-toxic sunscreens

2. Stay covered in the shade during the hours of 12 and 3 (the sun is at its highest with UVA and UVB rays at their strongest)

3. Wear lightweight clothing that reflects the sun 4. Always wear a hat 5. AVOID tanning beds.  Artificial light from tanning beds may increase your risk for developing skin cancer Stick with these tips and enjoy your time in the sun.

These tips may help you decrease your risk for developing skin cancer and may protect your health. Check out ProGrade Nutrition, the top nutrition site on the planet!   That’s why I am a ProGrade Nutrition Partner.

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES

Her Fitness Hut

Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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