OK, I admit it.
I love lying (or even working) out in the sun and getting suntanned.
Now let me put in this disclaimer immediately. What would I know? I'm not a medical expert and who am I to argue with those who believe that unless you go out smothered from head to foot in SPF50+ and wearing a hat, scarf, long sleeved shirt and skirt, that you are inviting an early death from skin cancer?
The fact is that the average person now suffers from a vitamin D deficiency and there are many more cases of skin cancer than there were a generation (or two) ago.
Let me tell you about my Dad.
- My Dad is in his 70s and he's been suntanned six months of the year all his life. He looks great, he has great skin and has never had even a hint of skin cancer.
- Skin product manufacturers tell us that a suntan is a sign of damaged skin. Dad believes that a suntan is in fact nature's protection against the skin damage caused by sunburn and that we should actively cultivate one.
- He follows his own advice every year late Winter and Spring. He believes that evolution developed us to achieve a suntan without a burn by natural exposure to the sun while it was still angled in such a way as to tan without burning. So that by the summer arrived, our skin had developed its own natural protection. Of course, we've mucked that up by working in fluorescent lit offices 9 to 5.
I've seen a doctor friend laugh at Dad's theories. Dad just held out his arm with its beautiful golden tan against the pasty white doctor's and said "Here's the proof."
- Dad says that when he was a kid, every kid got deeply suntanned during the school holidays and at school as well for that matter. No one forced you to cover up or wear a hat and sunscreen was almost unknown. The wise advice was "tan slowly" and generally that's what people did. And skin cancer was unknown. Let me repeat that. There wasn't any skin cancer. This is not just a matter of them not being aware of it. Cancer existed. But of the stomach or liver or colon. Not skin cancer.
- I don't understand regression analysis. It's a mathematical, statistical thing. But Dad says it shows a strong correlation between the increase in skin cancer and the ever increasing rise in the use of ever increasingly strong chemical based sunscreens.
- Another piece of advice from my father is "Follow the money. Ask yourself who benefits?"
I did exactly that. And you know what I discovered?
According to IBISWorld, the sunscreen industry is worth a cool $1.3 billion. So do they have a vested interest in you slathering their expensive chemicals all over your body? Hmm... what do you think?
Unfortunately, I inherited my Mum's Celtic colouring rather than my Dad's olive skin, along with her reddish-gold (what do mean, orange? Reddish-gold, thank you very much) so I do have to be careful.
But I really, really hate putting chemical based sunscreens on my skin.
So I bought an eBook containing recipes for DIY sunscreens and bronzers that don't contain the harmful chemicals found in commercial products.
It came with sale (or giveaway) rights so I've made it available for you here: