We don't use sunscreen. We stopped using it years ago. In this post, I'll tell you why we stopped using sunscreen, and I'll tell you my number one trick to prevent sunburn.
Note: I use affiliate links in my posts which means I earn a small commission if you order. However, I only recommend products I personally use and believe in.
3 Reasons Why We Don't Use Sunscreen… And My Number One Trick to Prevent Sunburn
Why We Don't Use Sunscreen Reason #1: Sunscreen is Toxic
I always wince when I see parents at the pool or beach, dowsing their kids in sunscreen from head to toe. Sunscreen is full of toxic chemicals including: parabens, dioxybenzone, octocrylene, para amino octyl salicyclate, benzoic acid, menthyl anthranilate, phenylbenzimidazole, cinoxate, homosalate, oxybenzone, and methoxycinnamate.
Yikes, right? I don't know what most of those things are and I don't want to know. What I do know is chemicals like parabens can cause cancer. Do we really want to be putting this stuff on our skin and absorbing it via our pores? I don't.
Now, not all sunscreens contain these chemicals. You can buy natural sunscreens that don't. I used to buy natural sunscreen but I have stopped buying sunscreen altogether. I haven't bought sunscreen in years. I will explain why below.
Why We Don't Use Sunscreen Reason #2: Sunscreen Doesn't Protect You From Skin Cancer
Do we really need sunscreen to protect us from skin cancer? I mean, does it even work?
Apparently not… or at least there is no evidence that it does. While over 60% of Americans say they protect themselves from the sun (and I always see people loading up on sunscreen), skin cancer is on the rise:
According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970s, from 7.9 per 100,000 people in 1975 to 24 per 100,000 in 2013. (NCI 2016). (Source)
What's causing the skin cancer if people are using all this sunscreen? Is it the toxic chemicals listed above? Perhaps. Either way, sunscreen doesn't seem to be working to prevent skin cancer.
Why We Don't Use Sunscreen Reason #3: Sunscreen Blocks Vitamin D
Skin cancer is on the rise, and so is vitamin D deficiency. According to Scientific American, 75% of children and teens are deficient in vitamin D.
And we know that vitamin D deficiency also causes cancer. Not only that, but vitamin D deficiency also causes cavities and bone loss. And because vitamin D is critical for immunity, when we don't get enough vitamin D, we are susceptible to more colds and flu and other illnesses.
The human body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to UV rays. Sunscreen blocks the rays that allow us to make vitamin D, which is another reason I don't like using it. We want more vitamin D, not less!
How We Prevent Sunburn: My Secret Trick
The main reason I stopped buying natural sunscreen is because we never burn anymore. We can stay in the sun all day long and not burn. And this is in Southern California, where we get a lot of sunshine.
My kids never burn. Like, ever. I don't think Ollie, age 2, has ever gotten a sunburn in his life. And he spends hours outdoors every single day.
What's our secret? Extra virgin cod liver oil, or EVCLO.
We used to get sunburned back in the days before cod liver oil. But we never do anymore. And I've heard from many of my readers to confirm that they have experienced the same thing. When they take cod liver oil regularly, they don't get sunburned. Even readers who have very fair coloring.
Why Omega-3s Help Prevent Sunburn
Are There Other Foods That Contain Omega-3s to Prevent Sunburn?
Seafood also contains high levels of omega 3 fatty acid. Grass-fed meats and dairy, do too, but to a lesser extent.
You could also take fish oil. However, I really recommend cod liver oil over fish oil for a number of reasons.
Read my article, The Top 5 Reasons to Take Cod Liver Oil which explains in detail why EVCLO is better than fish oil. Cod liver oil, particularly the EVCLO, has many other benefits above and beyond fish oil, most especially the natural food-derived forms of vitamins A and D.
Furthermore, many fish oils are highly processed and/or rancid. Read my post on The Best Cod Liver Oil: Which Cod Liver Oil Brand Should You Buy?
Can We Just Eat Seafood Instead of Taking Cod Liver Oil?
Absolutely. Seafood contains omega-3s so if you're eating a lot of it, you will get enough omega-3s to combat sunburn. I don't know how much seafood you will need to it to get the same results as cod liver oil… but I would say probably at least 3-4 times per week and possibly daily.
However, for our family, I like the insurance of cod liver oil. My husband and I love seafood and eat it often, but I can't always get my kids to eat it. My daughter will only eat salmon maybe once a week and I'm still having a tough time getting her to eat seafood. I love tunafish and eat it often, but she doesn't like it.
Plus, seafood doesn't have the high levels of vitamin A that cod liver oil does, particularly the extra virgin cod liver oil. EVCLO has more natural (not synthetic) vitamin A than any cod liver oil on the market to my knowledge… because it is one of the only brands that is not heated and refined.
Vitamin A is critical for many things, including eyesight and immunity. For examples, measles is only fatal in populations with vitamin A deficiency.
There is even a pediatrician, Dr. Mary Megson, who has made connections between vitamin A deficiency and the autistic spectrum. She had incredible results with autistic children and cod liver oil. I talk about her work in my article, The Top 5 Reasons to Take Cod Liver Oil.
What If We Can't Afford to Take Cod Liver Oil?
Many people don't want to spend the money on cod liver oil because it's expensive. I personally think you can't afford not to take it. Most especially for growing children who need omega 3 fatty acids for brain development, vitamin A for immunity and eyesight, and vitamin D for growing strong teeth and bones.
I also think we save a lot of money in the long run. Why? Because when we get more sunlight during the spring and summer months, we produce more vitamin D. When we produce more vitamin D, our bodies store it — and it provides immunity during the winter months, which helps to prevent illness during cold and flu season.
We spent a lot of time in the sun last year, thanks to our EVCLO, and as a result, none of us got sick this winter! Which saved us a lot of money in doctor's visits, prescriptions, and missed days of work.
I wrote a post a while back about what to do if you can't afford cod liver oil: Can't Afford Cod Liver Oil? What to Buy Instead if You're On A Budget.
You can read the post, but I found that you really don't save any money when you factor in all the liver and seafood you would have to eat to match the nutrition in cod liver oil. I don't eat a lot of liver and sardines, and I have a tough time getting my kids to eat these foods, so we stick with the cod liver oil.
I also think cod liver oil is one of the reasons I have such great skin. People are consistently amazed when I tell them my age — they always say I look 10 or 15 years younger than I am. (I have no proof of this, but since I know omega 3s protect our skin from sun damage, I really think there's something to the idea that omega 3s help slow the aging process.)
Where to Buy Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil (EVCLO)
My son, Oliver (2 years old), loves his EVCLO “fishies” (EVCLO capsules):
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