Sunblock… Sunglasses… How Much Sun Protection Do You Really Need?

June 13th, 2011 by Tonya Zavasta
Tonya Zavasta is 53

Tonya Zavasta is 53 years young

The sun has quite a rap-sheet. Just about every degree of assault and battery you can name, from the mere annoyance of a little sunburn around the backyard pool to full-on skin cancer. Freckles, liver spots, red blotches, wrinkles, and dry skin—the sun “takes the heat” for them all. And the older we get, the more we blame old Sol.

Is it the Sun’s Fault?

Actually, I abhor the phrase “sun damage.” The sun per se does not create these problems. Toxins in the body are what do the damage, directly. Unless you’re on a sound raw foods diet, sunlight will have an ill effect on the skin. Sunbathing is downright dangerous for those on a standard high-fat American diet or who don’t get an abundance of raw fruits and vegetables. An average person must take steps to protect herself from the sun. The trouble is…you are then missing out on all the benefits that sunlight brings.

I promise…Get yourself firmly on a good raw foods regimen, and your relationship with the sun will change. You and old Sol will become buddies.

Sun Exposure is Crucial

In my experience, sun exposure is crucial for your success on raw foods. For healthy bones and muscles, it’s a must. Doing one thing wrong—like eating cooking food—forces you to do another—covering yourself with sunblock. Consider sunblock, the very act of putting it on: It’s the most absurd practice next to cooking your food. One way to think about it: The sun exposes your diet. Fry, grill and bake your food, and these burnt offerings will show up on your skin.

No Burns on Raw Foods

You won’t burn so easily when you eat fresh, raw plant foods. Twenty minutes in the sun will be no problem. A raw food diet gives your skin plenty of hydration and internal protection. Where once you may have avoided sunbathing, slathering on those chemical-laden blockers whenever you did go out, on a good raw foods program you’ll come to welcome every warming, life-giving ray of sun. Eventually, you may find sunlight so essential to your health and well being that you’ll regard it as the most important non-food factor in your raw foods lifestyle.

Toxins are the Real Culprit

We release toxins through the skin. Lots of toxins—especially for those still eating cooked food. But it’s a vital process. Sunlight greatly accelerates the process. Toxins get drawn to the surface, and if there are too many of them, they will be fried. That is what “cancer caused by the sun” actually is. If you don’t get cancer, then the result will still be what we call “premature aging.”

I do not use any commercial sun protection, though I spend twenty minutes or more sunbathing every sunny day. Even if I stay longer, I don’t get red or burned. Nor do I darken unduly. The difference: a raw foods lifestyle.

Warmer, yellower skin tones prove especially attractive to control subjects, research tells us. Recent work by Ian D. Stephen, et al., in the journal Evolution & Human Behavior links these perceptions to absorption of carotenoids. Now, here is more than anecdotal evidence. Science has it—solid evidence for a proposition I’ve been promoting for years: A solid diet built around such foods as kale, spinach, cantaloupe, tomatoes and peppers brings not only health, but a more attractive look as well.

Go for the Internal Sunscreen

On the raw food lifestyle, the body develops a light natural tan. This in turn gives you an “internal sunscreen.” Natural sunlight gives your body the materials it needs to produce its own Vitamin D—not technically a vitamin at all but a hormone needed for healthy teeth and bones and for maintaining a healthy immune system. On a well-managed raw foods lifestyle, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds (especially young coconuts and their water) helps your skin adjust to sun exposure.

No sunscreens at all for me. But I do advise, wear a hat. I always wear a hat or a cap when I go out on any sunny day. Squinting does create wrinkles.

Lose the Sunglasses

Regardless of how magnificently cool you look in a pair of Ray-Bans, I don’t recommend sunglasses either. More researchers are discovering that our eyes have not only a perceptual function, but an absorptive one. Not only do they see (obviously), but our eyes also absorb light and energy from our surroundings. When you wear a hat your eyes get some of this indirect sun exposure. It is very good for your eyes to keep them healthy.

Bottom line: If you’re about to slather on a pound of “SPF Five Billion” before you step outside, consider…Wouldn’t it be better to adopt a raw foods lifestyle and develop a skin care program that makes the sun your friend? One thing that’s for sure about old Sol: He’s better to have as your friend than your enemy!

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