So the other day I went to a pharmacy to buy some tissues and the lady at the counter grabbed a book and wanted to give it to me. When I told her that I wasn’t interested, she explained that it was not just advertising, but also contained a lot of important information, for instance about the dangers of the sun.
“I am very much against the use of sun blockers,” I told her, and she looked at me as if she couldn’t make up her mind about whether I had fallen down from another planet or had run away from a mental institution.
“I’ve just been to a lecture by a professor, “ she said and made a pause in her sentence to let me understand that his title really was important information. “Do you know that there is a rise in the number of people getting skin cancer these years?”
I decided that this was not my battle ground, shook my head and left, while she was finding someone else to talk to about the lecture and the professor and the sun.
A few days later I went to a party at my younger sister’s house, and during a conversation my older sister stopped talking, looked at me and asked how it could be that I had already got some color.
“It’s a bit like training a dog,” I told her. “If you get out in the sun this summer and get some color, your body will remember its reaction next summer and it will be easier for you to get a color then and so on. I’m in my late fifties now and have never been afraid of the sun, and the moment I step out into the sunshine, my color pigments know what to do, and I get a color.”
Then she gave me the detailed story about her sun allergy.
So you’re not getting any sun at all? I asked.
“No, of course not,” she answered. “Everybody should know by now, how dangerous the sun is.”
As I said, it was a party, and so I let it pass, but I’ve been thinking about those two conversations with my sister and with the lady at the pharmacy ever since.
You see, I really don’t believe that the sun is bad for us. How could it be? The sun has always been there or at least for as long as we humans have. We developed under the sun. There was nobody to put sunscreen on our ancestors and they were just fine.
The lady at the pharmacy pointed out that the number of cases of skin cancer is going up. To that I could ask: “How can it be? We have never been as little outdoors and have never used as much sun blocker as we do now!”
Today we know about the importance of vitamin D3 for our health. It, or rather the fact that we don’t get enough of it, plays a huge part in the development of serious illnesses like diabetes, MS, heart diseases, cancer, you name it. The sun is, not a source, but the source of vitamin D3, but all the sudden it’s dangerous to go out in the sun and get a tan?
In all my life I’ve only known one person who got skin cancer. She was our neighbor when I was a child, and back then the use of sun oil was new and very fashionable. She was the only one I knew, who used sun oil on a regular basis, and every summer she slathered herself in it before and while she was out in the sun for hours and hours to get a very dark brown tan. The rest of the year she was indoors and we barely ever saw her outside.
I’ve known many, many people, who worked outside summer and winter: construction workers, farmers, fishermen, and people who worked outside all summer, like coast guards, painters and gardeners, and I’ve never ever seen any of them use sun blockers. And from all I know none of them ever got skin cancer.
So what’s the truth about all of this? Has nature all the sudden decided to go against us and change one of the most important factors for our health into one of the biggest threats to our health? Do all the pharmacists and beauticians, PR people and yes, professors, know better what is good for us than nature does? Or is this maybe, just maybe, one big conspiracy build up around a misconception (or a lie) with the one and only goal to create a multibillion dollar industry?
I don’t say: go out in the sun and stay there all day long during your summer vacation. If you’re not used to the sun, you would probably get burned, which hurts and that would just be plain stupid. No, instead get used to the sun gradually. Stay in the sun for ten minutes at first and then for a few more minutes every day until you don’t get a sunburn any more. You can still be outside, but use a hat with a wide brim, long sleeves and long pants or a skirt to cover yourself up with. You can even use a sun blocker if needed, but make sure it’s one from the health store, one that contains a mechanical sun blocker as opposite to a chemical sun blocker. And then do yourself a favor and read the list of ingredients of the sun blocker you normally use and find out, what risks there are in connection with those ingredients. You’ll probably find that several of them are carcinogenic and especially when they are used in the sun.
Personally I think that the story about the dangers of the sun is a lie. The industry is using the problems people get from using chemical sunscreen to convince the consumers to buy more of their products. It’s a tragedy really and more than that, it’s a crime against humanity.