photo courtesy of Yongkiet at

Sun exposure in the summer is not optional. It’s beneficial, supportive to proper body function and is often described as a way to recharge your body. Too much sun can cause a burn, however, with proper support, sun burns should be a thing of the past. 

Sunscreen proves to be one of the least effective methods of supporting the body. 

Proper nutrition is imperative to thwarting a sunburn, with an emphasis specific to vitamin A. Eating beta carotene is one of the best ways for addressing this support system from the inside, directly affecting the skin. When a person eats carotenoid foods, the beta carotene goes to the liver and converts to vitamin A. Foods high in bet carotene are generally orange, red or yellow including squash, carrots (especially with the skin on), grapefruit, oranges, pastured egg yolks, and apricots.

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Healthline says, “A healthy diet of vegetables rich in carotenoids can help you get that golden glow.”

The Journal of Nutrition reports a consensus, “Compared with other carotenoids, the primary role of β-carotene is its provitamin A activity.”

Dr. Stephanie Seneff says, “Sun exposure protects you from infection. It strengthens your immune system. I think of the skin as a solar panel taking in the sun’s energy, in the form of the sulfate molecules, storing the energy in the sun. If you break down the sulfate you will release energy which means that the sulfate is actually absorbing the energy from light.” Dr. Seneff is a senior scientist at MIT who has been conducting research there for nearly four decades. She is considered the leading expert on sulfur and how it functions in the body

Sulfur can be taken in through the sun. To read more, click here

Joschko Hammermann

The Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics says, “The major source of vitamin D for children and adults is exposure to natural sunlight.”

Most folks reach for sunscreen to prevent burning, however, Archives of Osteoporosis found sunscreen use significantly decreased vitamin D production from sunshine exposure.  This means you can spend all day in the sun, but if you’re wearing sunscreen, you’re not getting the vitamin D benefits from the sun and you’re absorbing the chemicals in the sunscreen into your bloodstream.

Absorption through the skin is becoming more and more popular for treating the body through medicines and essential oils due to the enormous effectiveness. The Journal of Pain Research says, “Topical preparations have a good safety profile.

Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology reported, “Dermal absorption of some chemicals and drugs can cause systemic toxicity.”

Proper vitamin D levels ensure proper function and absorption of magnesium and calcium levels, as well as phosphates. 

Environmental Health Perspectives says, “For most white people, a half-hour in the summer sun in a bathing suit can initiate the release of 50,000 IU (1.25 mg) vitamin D into the circulation within 24 hours of exposure; this same amount of exposure yields 20,000–30,000 IU in tanned individuals and 8,000–10,000 IU in dark-skinned people.”

Toxic sunscreens show concern for the humans wearing them. MedScape reported a study using sunscreens applied at the recommended level, 2 mg of sunscreen per 1 cm2 to 75% of body surface area 4 times per day for 4 days. On day one they found, “The Threshold of Toxicological Concern. Systemic levels above 0.5 ng/mL were reached quickly: within 6 hours after the first application of avobenzone, 2 hours after application of oxybenzone, and 6 hours after application of octocrylene. The concentration of the agents continued to increase over time, indicating drug accumulation.”

Additionally, toxic sunscreens have been showing more and more damage to our environment. Some tropical locations are banning sunscreen use, due to continual damage to coral reefs. 

Supporting the body properly to prevent burning can be done in many ways. 

Eat foods high in beta carotene, such as carrots, butternut squash, beets and pastured yolks. Including a vitamin B spray, methylcobalamin, like this one or this one, in high doses, also shows effective, as it’s specific beta carotene support. This takes time to build, especially if the person is pale and pasty, malnourished, diagnosed with Failure To Thrive or has Intestinal Permeability. Juicing carrots for three weeks prior to sun exposure is not the same as rebuilding the microbiome for years while juicing carrots through the winter, and taking 30 sprays of B12 every morning, preparing for spring sun exposure. 

Building your melanin levels is recommended by exposing yourself to the sun in smaller amounts daily, and increasing the sun exposure time each day, watching for burning. For some this means going out in the sun for ten minutes for three days, then fifteen minutes for the next three days, then twenty, etc. Once the acclimation has been made, sunburns are less likely. Of course, exposure in Miami, Florida is different than that in Ontario. 

Choose appropriate coverage. Wearing a wide brimmed hat, a cotton t-shirt and using the shade wisely is also recommended. Avoiding extra long exposure to the peak sun hours until the levels are tolerated is also recommended. Many sun protective shirts are 100% polyester, which is sourced from plastic bottles and not recommended. Cotton is preferred. 

Make sunscreen with healthful ingredients. Click here to learn the best ingredients regularly in your cabinets and their respective SPFs. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes prior to outside sun exposure. Too much will cause it to run into your eyes, as it is oil based. 

If commercial sunscreen must be used, choosing one with cleaner ingredients is best. Oxybenzone is used in 60% of commercial sunscreens and has been reported as a hormone disruptor. This sunscreen is a cleaner choice, as is this one. Personally this is one of my favorites, if it’s ever needed. That said, we haven’t worn sunscreen in many years. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.



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