I have always wondered about the current opinion about sun exposure. Although, I have not read the research, I have wondered: “Are they right?” I believe at some point in the not so distance future, we’ll read study after study demonstrating the negative impact of reduced sun exposure and sunscreen.

Although, I question whether or not to use sunscreen, I am not typically brave enough to go without when I am in tropical sun or will be out for longer periods of time. The times I have, well, let’s just say there is a piper who is paid. I’m smart enough to know that burning the skin can’t be good for me either.

In October 2015, I attended a workshop offered by Dr. Norm Shealy. It was an all day affair. Let’s just say I learned a lot. I filled a legal pad full of notes.

You guessed it. One of his topics: sun exposure.

Here’s something Dr. Shealy said in a newsletter: “Obviously sunburn is dangerous and painful. But the avoidance of sun and its natural health benefits is having disastrous effects on health, increasing as one matures. There are many benefits from sunlight, from regulating pineal/pituitary function, to improving mood, and most of all for enhancing production of Vitamin D.”

So, I was intuitively right about part of the issue.

Dr. Shealy said: “Please do not misunderstand: you must avoid sunburn! However, for over a decade I have enjoyed up to 8 hours a day outside.”

When he started talking about this during the workshop, I paid close attention.

Here’s what I wrote on my legal pad: “Take Astaxanthin to avoid sunburn. Take 20 mg a day. If you weigh under 130 pounds, take 10 mg a day. For those in the 200 pound range, the dose is 30 mg  day. Don’t use sunscreen. Add to this 200-300 milligrams of PABA a day. PABA is the short form for Para-AminoBenzoic Acid.  It is an antioxidant that is considered by some as a B complex vitamin, and sometimes called vitamin Bx. However it is not really a vitamin, but actually an amino acid that is part of folic acid.  It can be made in the body by friendly intestinal bacteria. It also helps turning grey hair back to original color.”

The turning grey hair back to its original color also caught my attention. Another plus, Astaxthine is good for the immune system and skin health overall.

But, for some reason I didn’t take action after hearing Dr. Shealy’s solution. Four months later, I traveled to Puerto Rico. It was a work trip. I found 1.5 hours of time to go sit on the beach. It was an impromptu visit, which meant I had zero sunscreen.

I think you know how this turned out. Yep, I sizzled and popped. I know. Stupid. Not good and certainly harmful to my aging skin.

I had shared this information with a close friend. She acted on Dr. Shealy’s advice before her trip to a tropical destination. During her three-week stay in Costa Rica (yep, that’s pretty tropic), she did not use sunscreen and she did not burn.

Dr. Shealy knows what he is talking about.

Spring has sprung and I have a Bahamas trip to prepare for. I will also use some of Dr. Shealy’s other words of advice: “In early spring I start conditioning my skin slowly…say an hour maximum. If you did not start in early spring, start with a maximum of 15 minutes and increase slowly. By July, when I have slowly increased up to 3 or 4 hours, I can work outside safely with not even a hint of irritation or sunburn. No hat, no shirt most of the time, just natural tan. If you are very fair, I recommend also taking Canthaxanthin (120 mg daily). This helps color the skin a bit more, and is useful to remain tanned looking in winter, without using tanning beds, which I would never recommend!”

I will let you know how this one turns out. I am excited! Just to be careful, I will take sunscreen, but I hope I can report that I didn’t need it. Or, if I did need it, that I needed less of it.

Allyn Evans