I don't at all. I believe you get skin cancer by already having a faulty immune system and then getting ionizing radiation on top of it that causes cellular oncogene transcription. Take a look at this very recent study out of Australia. It's in Neurology.2011:76;540-549. February 8 2011. Direct sun exposure and high levels of vitamin D REDUCE the risk of MS.....great news for us docs that use D and the sun to heal patients
I don't mess with the sun.
50 biopsies, 10 severely diplastic, no melanoma, yet, blond/blue w/ family history of skin cancer and a personal history of being "cocoa brown year 'round" for the first 24 years of my life means I take my skin care very seriously.
Looking at my dad's paper thin skin on his forearms doesn't help me think ANY more sun exposure will help me. He is 80 and had a normal Calif. lifestyle w/no sunscreen until he was in his 50s. He tears his skin daily, I'm not kidding. His arms are a mass of scar tissue and open wounds.
It is THIS TYPE of sun damage that worries me more than the risk of skin cancer or a nutritional issue. Cancers can be cut out, but oozing skin tears needing constant monitoring and too much time to heal is not fun.
Sun damages collagen, which gives our skin elasticity and strength.
I can supplement with Vit D, which I do, but I can't rebuild my skin's structure without a lot of $$$.
This is only anecdotal, but I have two friends (married couple) one of which is a serious iron man / triathlete (he's been competing in the over 50 international double-marathon circuit, to give you an idea). A few years back he had a relatively large patch of skin (about 6 square inches i believe) cut from his chest due to skin cancer, a triangle exactly the shape that was exposed by his workout clothes. It would be hard to believe that he would have a poor diet, poor health, or serious vitamin deficiencies given his level of fitness, meanwhile he had heavy sun exposure.
Not long after, his wife, who doesn't compete but is big into outdoor fitness activities, was diagnosed with a smaller patch of skin cancer that was very close to being malignant before it was caught.
This is only anecdotal, but thought I'd mention it as a counter-point to the other answers here.
I had not seen a derm for 10 years. Two years ago pre supplementation with Vit D, my PCP sent me to have some nitrogen work done on my 4 basal lesions. Have been back twice and no sign anywhere of any skin cancer. Doc was somewhat amazed that I had no re-occurance. Of course, I always get the lecture of use SPF 50 all the time...which I never use. But I do limit my body exposure to 20/day total half naked. In addition I do play senior softball in shorts and short sleeve jersey here in Az.
No. Have gone unprotected in the sun all my life & @ 52 have no problems. May regret this at 80+ yrs, but doubt it. I believe skin cancer is attributed to some other lifestyle reason. Lived in Arizona, Southern Calif, Texas, now the south east, most my life. Mostly T-Shirts & sleeveless shirts & shorts when weather permits. Will wear a ball cap, but ears & neck go unprotected. More recently I go w/o a shirt when I can get away with it.
What!? C'mon. Burning cannot be natural or okay. I won't skip the sun protection. As a redhead, first of all, my skin condition is so much better when I stay out of the sun. I'm changing my diet for the welcome reward of good skin but meanwhile subject it to drying and obvious damage from the sun?! No. Lastly, I've seen too many young, fit, really tan people diagnosed with melanoma.
I know I wouldn't mess around with possible skin cancer just b/c I changed my diet. I don't have much trust for mainstream medicine when it comes to managing many chronic diseases (i.e. - diabetes), but when it comes to trauma like a heart attack or compound fracture - and I would argue any form of cancer comes pretty close to trauma - I think mainstream medicine has something worth listening to.
The sun is natural! I need more of it! I completely believe it is ALL life giving and healing.
I do not believe sun screens and frankly, I am glad I wasn't a vigilante parent when my kids were younger, slathering them all the time w/ SPF products. My previous paradigm though was that I NEED to do put this on, and highest number possible. I did miss applying this all the time.
However, I have noticed that because we live in the NW it is very difficult taking a vacation in a sunny location down south. We pretty much do our best to get slow exposure, use hats and shade, (hard with kids swimming!). I feel like people would think I was a bad parent if I suggested the kids got a lil exposure via a tanning bed before a sunny vacation. What say you? They are 10, 13 & 14.
By the way, I have heard the the Northwest Washington State area is a cancer cluster. I think we have a high concentration of MS too.
Anyone who doesn't believe that the sun causes skin cancer is an absolute idiot and needs to get their heads checked. Any mother considering taking her children to a tanning bed at such a young age doesn't deserve to be a mother. Point blank.
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