When I was a boy, as I am overfond of saying, people were always told to “get outside… don’t mope around the house all day!” My childhood friends and I would spend hot days running in and out of sprinklers and small frame canvas splash pools. We occasionally suffered painful sunburn, but all in all we enjoyed ourselves.
In recent years, of course, getting sun exposure has become as great a moral sin as salt and tobacco. In the state of Victoria, Australia, where I live, the (euphamistically?) titled organisation called “The Anti Cancer Council” runs extensive advertising campaigns to ensure that humans are terrified of being exposed to the sun. http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/campaigns-and-events/slip-slop-slap-seek-slide.html
No doubt the readers of this blog will unsurprised to learn that the actual research demonstrates that such campaigns “need rethinking”. According to Lindqust et al in their paper “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort” published in the Journal of Internal Medicine (ª 2014 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine 1) and I quote
“Results. There were 2545 deaths amongst the 29 518 women who responded to the initial questionnaire.We found that all-cause mortality was inversely related to sun exposure habits. The mortality rate amongst avoiders of sun exposure was approximately twofold higher compared with the highest sun exposure group, resulting in excess mortality with a population attributable risk of 3%.
Conclusion. The results of this study provide observational evidence that avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality. Following sun exposure advice that is very restrictive in countries
with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful to women’s health.
While there seems little point in any further speculation over the why’s and wherefores of the normal public advice, it is clear that this advice to avoid sun exposure is simply wrong. The general pattern is that the more sunlght hours that a particular population enjoys, the lower is its overall cancer rates.
The paper quoted above also contains a thought provoking introduction. “Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is known to heighten the risk of developing malignant melanoma (MM) of the skin. This condition is primarily responsible for increased mortality due to UV radiation exposure. The risk of MM varies widely amongst people of different skin colour, depending on the type of melanin in their skin. MM is most common amongst Northern Europeans with pale skin and is rare amongst Africans with very dark skin . Individuals with red hair or a tendency to develop freckles are at increased risk of developing MM. The highest risk has been found amongst those of European ancestry living in Northern Australia . This has been the basis for considering UV radiation as the major cause of MM. Programmes for avoiding UV radiation are widely implemented in societies in which a large proportion of the population is descended from Europeans .
Nevertheless, exposure to sunlight remains the main source of vitamin D. Sunlight UVB radiation
with a wavelength between 290 and 315 nm penetrates the skin and converts 7-dehydro-cholesterol to 25-hydroxycholecalciferol vitamin D3 via previtamin D . Low vitamin D levels have been associated with an increase in both all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality, but results are inconsistent [4–8]. Low vitamin D concentrations have also been linked to thicker, more aggressive melanomas with shorter survival times . Thus, opposing mechanisms may act with regard to MM and sunlight exposure.”
It doesn’t take a medical degree to be able to comprehend that the key problem with fair skinned people is that their skin is prone to being burned. While occasional burning is not a cause for concern, regular burning and stress will naturally the cause the human autonomous system (HAS) to defend this stress organ by producing the fast growing cells which use the fermentation of glucose for energy. These are the cells that orthodox medicine calls “cancer”, while “New German Medicine” considers this as part of the healing process. https://www.newmedicine.ca and http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/09/08/a-new-view-of-cancer-german-new-medicine.aspx .
It also turns out that the 1903 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Neils Ryborg Finsen for his discovery that modified sunlight could cure lupus vulgaris, a form of tuburculosis http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1903/press.html . Furthermore, that Florence Nightingale made her reputation on the basis of the importance of “direct sunlight” in providing a healing environment to her patients http://todayinsci.com/N/Nightingale_Florence/NightingaleFlorence-Quotations.htm .
What I have found is that provided I keep my Lilly white skin from burning, I can enjoy as much sun as I wish without suntan lotion, even during the hottest parts of Australian summer days. The principle involved here is very simple. Water can be boiled in a paper cup because the paper cannot burn while there is water in the cup. The same applies to our skin. As long as we are swimming or while our skin is drying, then our skin will not be burned. If the skin is not burned, then the HAS will not deploy its protection mechanism of creating fast growing, glucose fermenting skin cells.
Of course I am not urging the reader to behave recklessly. If this idea resonates with you, why not try it in small doses until one feels comfortable that the model that I have proposed works for you.