Health Advice Dawn Krueger-Sherin

I read a news story on the Internet about a man who was burned after putting on sun block. He sprayed the sun block all over his chest and back and then a minute later went to the grill. He then caught on fire. Luckily he had only second-degree burns. In the article they discussed how their was a warning that the product may be flammable. I thought to myself, “Why is it so many of us are putting flammable chemicals on our skin?”

Living in Arizona does increase our chances of skin cancer. It is pretty common to hear about someone you know that has struggled with some type of skin cancer or questionable mole. Skin cancer can be a killer. So it is important for us to have some type of protection. Although, what if what we are currently using to protect ourselves may be causing more harm than good?

Spraying chemicals on our skin and allowing it to bake in the sun may be causing more harm than good. Some reports talk about this being a cause of cancer more so than the sun itself. The good news is that there are more natural options out there that can help protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.

I am of the belief that a little sun is actually good for us. It gives us Vitamin D. It can uplift our mood. It has infrared rays that are healing to the body. The sun in moderation can actually be good for you. Going out in the hours before noon will have less impact than going out after noon. Taking a walk or just sitting outside for about 10-15 minutes can give you those natural benefits.

No matter what skin type you are, you will need to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. Those with lighter skin and moles may have a greater risk than those with a more darker pigment in their skin. So what each person needs will be different when it comes to protection.

For a light amount of protection you can use all natural coconut oil. This has a natural sun block factor of 8. You can also take it internally for sun protection. For more protection you can use zinc oxide. Many life guards have used this product for years. Although you probably can’t coat your entire body with it. It is generally used for spot treatments on the face. I personally use Kiss My Face products for sun block. They have an entire line of sun blocks that are creams, sprays and spot treatments. You can find these products online and in natural food stores. Then there is mineral sun block. Aveeno makes mineral sun block. It is 100 percent all natural and you can buy it at your local drug store.

There are also some natural nutritional ways to protect yourself from the sun. Start by taking Vitamin D. More and more studies are showing Americans to be deficient in this vitamin. The cause could be the use of sun blocks in itself. Although we get it from the sun we should be taking a supplement.

It is also a good idea to get tested once a year to see where your Vitamin D levels are. A recent study confirms that taking Vitamin D will increases sun tolerance and protection against sun damage.

Eat some vegetables high in lycopene like tomatoes. A recent study showed that this nutrient can protect us against sun damage. A few more natural ways to protect you from sun damage is to take Omega 3 fatty acids, drink green tea and eat some blueberries, which contain proanthocyanidins that can help prevent Uv damage.

Consider some alternative ways to protect yourself against the harmful rays of the sun. Most importantly, have fun this summer and spend some time out in our beautiful Arizona sun.

• Dawn Krueger-Sherin is an oriental medical practitioner in Ahwatukee Foothills. For questions, reach her at

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