Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunscreen every day, all the time? Yeah, I don't think so.

Recently I had to take my 11 year old daughter to the doctor for an immunization she needed. I haven't really had a family doctor in years, so we had to find a new one. I called my doctor for a recommendation. (She is an Internal Medicine Doctor, so she doesn't take young patients.) Her office is associated with another family practice office nearby, so that is where we decided to go. As a new patient, I had to fill out a book's worth of paperwork. That consisted of the normal information like insurance company, medical history, etc. The thing that I found interesting was in the medical history form. There was a section that dealt with habits and practices in every day life. For example, “Do you wear a seat belt?” and “Do you wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?” I can see how that would be information a doctor would want to know, so they can properly educate people about how important it is to use safety items such as that to protect themselves from potential injury. But there was another question on the form that irritated me. “Do you use sunscreen most of the time?” MOST OF THE TIME? Why would anyone NEED to use it MOST of the time? It blocks your skin from absorbing sunshine which is how the body produces Vitamin D. Sunscreen should be used when there is a risk of overexposure to the sun causing sunburn. It shouldn't be used more often than that. I very proudly checked the “NO” box next to the question. So when the extremely pale doctor came in to the examination room, I fully expected to be questioned on that answer. She did not bring it up, which I admit, I was disappointed about. I was all ready to strike down her claims about how the sun is evil. But it was not to be. It got me thinking though, about how that message of “wear sunscreen all the time, no matter what, even if you are not going to be in the sun at all” gets drilled into people. That message is wrong. First of all, you don't need sunblock for incidental exposure to the sun. Sunshine is natural, and an essential part of life; we need it. Secondly, WHAT are those chemicals we are slathering on our skin doing to us? Our skin absorbs that stuff and it blocks the one thing we NEED our skin to absorb. How can that be healthy? No wonder there is an epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency now. We are told over and over again to use this stuff all the time. Sunshine and Vitamin D don't have a chance against the ad campaigns of sunscreen products and healthcare professionals. So let's think about this. Would you take antibiotics, or give your child antibiotics every day no matter what? No, you would take that/ give that only when it is needed. The same rule should apply to sunscreen. Yet we are told DAILY that we should never leave the house without that chemical sunscreen “protecting” us. Sunscreen is a product that should be used when necessary. The breakdown here is that the industry that promotes sunscreen, says it is always necessary. That isn't true. It is only needed/ necessary when there is potential for sunburn. Don't believe the propaganda. Sunblock hurts just as much as sunburn, just in a different (and more difficult way to prove) way.

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