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SUNWORSHIP: How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of the Sun Safely




It is Important to Protect your Skin from overexposure  to ultraviolet light. However, it is also necessary toget adequate sun exposure for your body to produce vitamin D.


The sun produces three types of ultraviolet light, two of which are relevant to your health–UVA and UVB.UVA rays are responsible for deep skin wrinkling and melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer).

UVB rays can cause burning, basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer), and eyecataracts. UVB rays are also helpful, because they react with cholesterol in the skin to produce vitamin D.


Vitamin D is a key nutrient for calcium regulation and healthy bones. Without adequate vitamin D, the bodyis susceptible to a variety of conditions, including osteoporosis, poor tooth development, thyroid disorders,cancer, depression, and infertility. Since vitamin D is produced from sun exposure, it is recommended thatyou expose your face and hands to the sun for 10 to 20 minutes each day. In this time, roughly 400 IUs ofvitamin D are produced in the body, equivalent to an adult’s daily requirement.





Commercial sunscreen and too much sun can both be damaging to your health.

Learn about safe sunscreens and healthy ways to enjoy the sun.






According to research conducted over the last ten years, the chemicals contained in most commercial sunscreens can be dangerous both for human and ecological health. These synthetic chemicals, known asendocrine disruptors, can mimic or block natural hormones by altering the synthesis, breakdown, andfunctioning of hormones and hormone receptors. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to various forms ofcancer, can inhibit human growth and reproductive health, and can persist in the body and in the environment.


Until more research is done on the long-term effects  of these chemicals, watch out for these commonsunscreen ingredients:


  • benzophenone-3 (Bp-3)
  • homosalate (HMS)
  • 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC)
  • octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)
  • octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA)


Safe Sunscreen Choices 




Chemical-free and natural sunscreens use mineral blocks, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, to protect the skin from UV rays. These physical, barrier-type sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

The following products, which are non-toxic, low in skin irritants, and free of perfumes or petroleum-based polymers, are healthier for the skin and provide full spectrum protection: Ecolani, Aubrey Organics, Aveda, and Dr. Hauschka.  


For an updated list of the yearly best sunscreens…Check out the SUNSCREEN GUIDE on Environmental Working Group’s Site:


There are also Natural Oils which act as natural Sun Barriers and Have built in Sun Protection.  Argan Oil is one of the Best Natural Oils with Natural Sun protection.  


For Amazing Pure Argan Oil for Morocco, I recommend MOROCCAN ELIXIR.   The Original Pure Argan OIl is my favorite product for prepping the skin for a day in the Sun!  


Argan Oil Sunscreen Benefits 





Re-apply sunscreen frequently.

Sweating and swimming dilute any sunscreen’s effectiveness. Next to using too low of a sun protectionfactor (SPF) or a total lack of protection, the failure to reapply sunscreen consistently is the main cause ofburning. In intense sun, reapply at least every hour.


Don’t rub it in.

Rapid absorption of lotion leaves the outermost layers of skin with reduced SPF. Dab sunscreen onto sun-sensitive areas. Wait 60 seconds, then gently smooth the sunscreen evenly onto your skin.


Take frequent shade breaks.

Taking 15 minutes or more per hour is enough time to let your skin cool down and recover.


Keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.

Moist skin is far less likely to burn and will tan faster.  Moisturize and nourish your skin before and after longsun exposure.


Cool it.

If your skin overheats, it can react with a classic heat rash, which can quickly lead to burning. Takeoccasional shade breaks. Cool off in the water frequently and reapply sunscreen. Avoid waterproof, sportblock, sweat proof, and baby block sunscreens if spending extended periods in the sun. The petroleumbases in these products can cause the skin to overheat quickly.


Never expose burned skin to more sun.

Burned skin will not tan—it will only get worse. Keep burned skin cool and try to minimize sweating toreduce chances of blistering. Never put waterproof sunscreens on pink or burned skin.


Safe Sun Worship 



Whether it be the start of summer or a trip to a sunnier locale, allow your skin to slowly get accustomed toincreased levels of sun. Start with a short amount of time in the sun with frequent shade breaks. Graduallyprogress to longer sun exposure. Having an established base tan means that your skin is producing enough melanin to supplement the protection of the sunscreen you are using. As you develop a healthytan, you can use a lower SPF, letting your skin absorb healthy amounts of vitamin D-producing UVB rays.


Dr. Gabrielle Francis is a New York City based Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor and Acupuncturist.
Her practice is called The Herban Alchemist.   Want to Learn More?