Should you be using sunscreen when out in the sun?

sun sunscreen vitamin d Mar 03, 2022

Summertime means that more people are spending time outside under the sun. And by now, most people are accustomed to wearing “sunblock” when they head outdoors.

The main reason people use sunscreen is to protect against skin cancer. There are 3 main types: squamous cell, basal cell, and melanoma.

Here’s the conundrum: you need UV exposure to produce vitamin D in the skin, which then in turn supports the immune system in clearing out cancer cells. Nature’s wisdom has provided built-in sunscreen: MELANIN!

Humans that lived closer to the equator expressed higher amounts of melanin in their skin to protect against the sun. This allowed them to remain out in direct sunlight for longer periods. As humans moved away from equatorial regions, their skins decreased melanin expression. The main reason being that less melanin meant that they would be able to produce more vitamin D with less sun exposure.

The key to it all is based on skin type, latitude, altitude, skin hydration levels, and length of exposure. I’m not an advocate for ALWAYS wearing sunblock.

Tips for being in the sun without damaging your skin

  • Must condition the skin to the sun. You should not go out for long exposures to where your skin gets burnt. For fair skin, this can mean as little as 5-10 min in an area with a high UV index (6+)
  • Start slowly and increase your exposure over time, always being mindful to not let your skin burn. When doing this make sure that you’re not wearing sunglasses or prescription glass/contacts. You need the UV hitting your retina to the be the same that’s hitting your skin.
  • If you have to be outdoors for longer periods of time, consider sunblock clothing, covering options before you consider sunblock - long sleeve, hats, sunglasses
  • If you are using sunscreen, my favorite is @rawelementusa


I can go on and on about this, so in an upcoming post, I’ll talk more about Vit D, sunscreens, and more things about the sun. Light is a nutrient that most people are deficient in.

If you found this post to be of benefit leave me your thoughts below, share this with your friends and family members and if you're new, please consider following along the journey! ⁠

Be Well & Aloha⁠

Dr. Mike 🤙🏽

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