Avoiding the Sun to Avoid Skin Cancer? Recent Studies Challenge That Advice.

December 20, 2011

My perfect day involves an 85-90 degree day at a beach (preferably with waves), my girlfriend, other friends, a lounge chair, a cooler full of sandwiches and beer.

Honestly…I could repeat that day 10,000 times on various beaches of the world an never get bored. The thing is, I’m a fair skinned German-Irish-Scandinavian mixed breed. I’ve always felt a bit of guilt for going out in the sun, because we’ve been trained that it is like playing Russian Roulette with skin cancer.

Fair skinned people like me are especially warned to avoid sun exposure. Is that sound advice?

the sun and skin cancer

[Why am I writing about sun tanning in December? Well…this blog has a large readership from Australia and New Zealand. I figured I would do a summer post that would match their seasons for once.]

Should You Be Worried If You Sport a Tan In the Summer?

Are you risking your long-term health if you spend time outdoors soaking up rays? I can’t answer that question for you. In fact, I am not giving any medical advice here. You have to make your own decisions. Enjoying life in the sun has a built in calculated risk, but so does driving a car to work, or flying in a plane.

That being said, there is some strong evidence against avoiding the sun. In fact the advice of avoiding the sun from 12-4pm, may do more harm than good—>At what time should one go out in the sun?

Outdoor Workers Get Skin Cancer Less Than Indoor Workers?

Here is a link, to a study which found that melanoma has been on the rise for indoor workers, but NOT outdoor workers. Some interesting findings for sure!

“Paradoxically, although outdoor workers get much higher outdoor solar UV doses than indoor workers get, only the indoor workers’ incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has been increasing at a steady exponential rate since before 1940 (Fig. 1, World Health Organization, WHO, and Connecticut cancer registry). Likewise, the calculated lifetime risk for getting CMM follows the same pattern. In fact, outdoor workers have a lower incidence of CMM compared to indoor workers.”

…Perhaps Indoor UV Exposure is to Blame?

“In the early 20th century, people went against evolution by going indoors during the day to work, which drastically decreased their daily amount of cutaneous vitamin D3 and, along with it, their blood levels. With the addition of larger buildings and sky scrappers, people created an unnatural UV barrier when windows were developed and used in abundance. The UV barrier created by window glass divided UVB from UVA, so that the vitamin D making UVB was excluded from our indoor working environment; only the vitamin D-breaking and DNA-mutating UVA was included. Because this unnatural UV environment existed for decades in buildings and cars, CMM began to steadily increase about 20–30 years later in the mid-1930s.”

[The glass in buildings are dividing UVA from UVB…and this is creating a problem.]

UVB “Makes” Vitamin D3 and UVA “Breaks Down” Vitamin D3

Unfortunately, the glass in buildings allows UVA in, but blocks UVB. Vitamin D3 kills melanoma cells and reduces tumor growth. So vitamin D3 helps prevent cancer. UVB is what helps produce Vitamin D3 in the skin. UVA is what breaks it down. The study puts it best…

“Thus, we propose that along with decreased levels of cutaneous vitamin D3, UVA exposures, which can promote tumor formation and incidence cause DNA mutations, and break down vitamin D3, can together significantly promote melanoma.

Explanation of Chart: Outdoor workers get a good balance of UVA and UVB rays and therefore have a steady level of Vitamin D3. As you can see indoor workers typically have a poor levels of vitamin D3, except for on the weekends and perhaps summer and vacations.

Sunscreens Block Out the Good Rays as Well!

There are studies that suggest that sunscreens do not help in preventing melanoma. In effect, the sunscreen is doing a similar thing to glass…blocking UVB and allowing in more UVA. So sunscreen isn’t helping much in this regard as well.

Europe Has UVA Blocking Sunscreen and the US Doesn’t!

I just found an amazing site dedicated to sunscreen. Here’s a post you will want to read if you use sunscreen: Sunscreens Exposed – 9 Surprising Truths. “Sunscreen chemicals approved in Europe but not by the FDA provide up to five times more UVA protection; U.S. companies have been waiting five years for FDA approval to use the same compounds”. I want some good European sunscreen! If you are after good sunscreen you can actually look up your brand in the sidebar and they will tell you the UVA protection level.

Kinesys Kids SPF 30 Spray

[Most spray sunscreens in the U.S. rank really bad for UVA protection, but I found one decent one, Kinesys Sport SPF 30 Kids. This is the one I will be using going forward. Important: The SPF 15 version made by this same company does NOT rank well for UVA protection.]

15-30 Minutes of Mid Day Sun Exposure Every Other Day?

It doesn’t take a heck of a lot of sun to get vitamin D to healthy levels. Studies have found as little as 5-10 minutes of sun exposure 3 times per week can boost your vitamin D levels to where they need to be.

My guess is that people with darker skin may need a bit more than that.

My Summer and Vacation Plan of Attack Going Forward

  • No sunscreen the first 15 minutes of my beach time.
  • Apply only the best UVA blocking spray I can find after 15 minutes of sun exposure (see picture above).
  • Walk outside mid day for at least 10-15 minutes during summer…“Run to the light, Carol Anne. Run as fast as you can! Mommy is in the light! Mommy is waiting for you in the light!”
  • Take daily vitamins that contain vitamin D.
  • Regular stops to happy hours with outdoor seating…order buffalo wings and hefeweizen (yes please)!
  • Avoid sunburns, cheap sunblock, and too much time in the office during summer.

A Strong Case for “Sensible Sun Exposure”

I want to give a shout out to Mark’s Daily Apple, which linked to this outstanding post, by a blog called “That Paleo Guy”: More Sun Science. This guys does an excellent job making the argument that sensible sun exposure helps prevent melanoma, not cause it.

Again, none of this is meant to be medical advice…you need to weight the evidence and decide for yourself whether you want to go out in the sun or not.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred Pret December 21, 2011 at 12:32 am

Awesome post!

Kris December 21, 2011 at 4:23 am

Great article, Rusty.

Living in Iceland, I almost never get any useful sun except for a few months in the summer, that’s why I take about 6.000IU of Vitamin D every day.

I didn’t know about the UVA rays actually breaking down Vitamin D in the skin until now, that’s pretty interesting.

Nathan December 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

This is a very interesting article. However, you should not fail to over emphasize this quote:
“We agree that intense, intermittent outdoor UV overexposures and sunburns initiate CMM…”

Richard December 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

Amen to that Rusty! Being a Southern Californian living in the Midwest is especially hard this time of year when everything turns grey. I have had great help during the winter months fighting off SAD with vitamin D supplements. Now, I am going to have to go through the sunscreens and toss out the useless ones as I made the wrong assumption I had good ones.

Jay December 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Hey Rusty I have a question:

kinda off topic- but what are your thoughts on creatine supplementation?
I was looking at older blog entries from your site cerca ~2007, and it seems that you’ve come around.

well I’ve been on phase I (skipping leg day) for a month: so far, so good, my upper body muscles are gorged, I’ve even lost a couple pounds of fat in the process. however, I am concerned that by the time I reach phase III, I’ll be even lighter from calorie deficit. Should I start taking creatine now or is it strictly for when you plateau during phase III?

here are my stats for reference: 68 inches, 148lbs. long, strong legs, skinny, short torso (almost like a soccer player).

Jason - Fitness Workouts December 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Interesting post Rusty. There is a study for everything. Hard to know what to believe.

Just the other day I read a study that said being overweight wasn’t unhealthy. This guy had all kinds of facts and research to back up us point.

Seems like there is a study for everything.

Mark Robinson December 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Great article, Rusty! And thanks for thinking of us Down Under. I grew up in outback Queensland and North Queensland, and spent nearly every yearly summer holiday at the surf. You learn a lot about skin protection just by growing up in Oz, as skin cancer is one of our major killers (even more than crocs, mate!), but your article had plenty that I didn’t know. We actually have medical clinics all over the country where you can get a free skin check for melanomas, and we are encouraged to get this done yearly.
Cheers, and have a blessed Christmas and New Year.

Wood December 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I don’t know what about melanoma, but without suncream, I get terrible sun burn….

David @ The Natural Health Service December 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

Very interesting article. I always thought that only early morning or late evening sun was beneficial and tried to avoid afternoon sun at all costs. Guess I don’t need to worry so much about that after all. Did not know about windows only blocking the UVB rays either. Another case of what’s natural being better than what’s artificial eh?

Nathan December 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

@Wood, this is why you should always wear sunblock, however you should really invest in one that has UVA blocking properties too. People wear sunblock assuming that it is protecting them, because they don’t get burnt, (UVB rays are what cause most burns.) UVA rays dont manifest themselves on the surface as much, so you don’t see their damage. They are what penetrate deep into your skin and wreck havoc. So if you wear cheap sunblock you may not be getting burnt on the surface, but deep under your skin you are getting fried.

Nathan December 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

I am 23 years old, and last year I had a Basal Cell Carcinoma on the left side of the bridge of my nose cut off. It is not a pleasant experience:
First they cut a layer of the cancer off of your face, then they blow dry the wound to stop the bleeding. They then send the layer to the lab, where they chart its layout under a microscope, then project it onto a piece of graph paper. The results are sent back to the surgeon, who then cuts another layer off of your face, based on the distribution on the graph. This layer is then sent back to the lab where it is charted again… the process goes on and on until the lab sees that the layer has no more cancer in it.

Long story short: Protect your face and ears, and buy really good FULL spectrum sunscreen. Also if you see any suspicious spots, get them checked out ASAP.

sakkadai December 22, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi Rusty. Sorry to diverge off the topic but i’ve been following your advice and stopped eating 4-5 hours before my workout and 1 hour after it. The only problem is that i’ve developed a severe case of acidity due to this. Could you give me some advice on what foods i can consume during this period which would not spike up my insulin levels..thanks

Spartan Ren December 23, 2011 at 2:18 am

Yet Another Great Article Rusty, Thank you! I would like to get more sunlight but I was born and raised in the London were we mostly get cloudy weather. I’m continuing to follow your advice on ESE+a mix of Bova, HIIT, Skipping for cardio, lifting light with tension, adequate rest, controlling my calorie intake and enjoying life. And you know what?…. It’s working really really fast!

The only thing is… I’m at a sticking point where I can see the front 6 abs but have a stubborn pooch. I’ve been planking my A off and regular cardio. Water intake is good and not much salt levels. Do you suppose it could be an estrogen thing?

Crista December 23, 2011 at 3:14 am

Hey! Thanks for the post, I’m an American spending my first Christmas in Australia so it’s totally relevant for me! Also I just wrote a post on my blog about your site and the Visual Impact for Women program. I just purchased it and started… can’t wait to see the results! Happy Holidays!

Srdjan - Bloom to Fit December 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Great post Rusty. Just reading the first paragraph of this post put me in such a good mood. That sounds like the most perfect day. I’ve always been a slightly tanned person but I’ve always been very cautious with the sun. I’ll never go out without sunscreen.

Srdjan - Bloom to Fit December 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

@sakkadai – Hey what foods are you consuming throughout the day?

Mark December 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

Good stuff as always Rusty, and highly interesting&useful.

Thanks for all the great work,

Merry Christmas and a Awesome New Year! 🙂


Dental Implants December 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for your great advice Rusty.it is true that Outdoor workers get a good balance of UVA and UVB rays and therefore have a steady level of Vitamin D3.

Michael @ somebodylied.com December 27, 2011 at 3:22 am

Native people like the arabs in there own countries protect themselves simply by covering up in white instead of splashing on chemicals. Too many people fear the sun which in moderation like most things is actually good for you. Very great information about the window theory, only you could of gone down that route Rusty, very unique

Marc Feel Good Eating December 27, 2011 at 3:51 am

Hi Rusty,
Hope you and the family are doing GREAT. Best wishes for an amazing holiday season and a healthy, peaceful and very successful 2012.

I had a dermatologist take a look at my over “sunned” body and face. He would never publicly admit this…but he believes the sun is critical for our well being and he himself does NOT use sunscreen. He does limit his exposure. 2 things; skin cancer was pretty much non-existent before the 1920’s. before our excessive production of sugar based goods and sugar intake. (soda being a big one here). Sun damage to the skin IS real and if you live in a sunny climate, you must be on the look out. I have a tiny sun spot under my eye. Basically some rough skin. The sad thing is that most md’s will want to cut that out. According my friend there is just no need for it, but you do have to keep an eye on it.

Lastly…thought I’d share.

Talk about “experiences” 🙂

Take care Rusty!


sakkadai December 27, 2011 at 11:06 am

@srdjan — Hi srdjan. I’m from India so my diet is predominately rice based. I have my breakfast at 7 in the morning (a rice based dish) and the some whole wheat biscuits at 11. Then lunch at 1 and dinner at around 9. So i’m guessing that the 8 hour interval between 1 and 9 is the cause of my acidity. I’m not even sure if i can have fruits during this period as they are usually saturated with fructose. your thoughts on this??

debbie December 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Hey Rusty! A late Merry Christmas to you. I’m a teenager that wants to get fit by summer. But I wanna lose some annoying muscle in my shoulders, arms, and legs. Could i lift heavy with less reps/sets and lose bulky muscles at the same time? I dont know if you’ve heard of them, but Girls’ Generation would be my ideal look but sometimes i feel lost in all the fitness terms and info.

Hela January 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

Hey Rusty, I would like to commend you on your website and fitness regime, but I would like to know if there is any chance of getting more updates on your blog here, as well as facebook?

lane batot January 4, 2012 at 5:42 am

Good on ye Rusty!(although I’m not Australian….)–the anti-sunning witch hunt of modern times has always been a BIG pet peeve of mine. True, one must take one’s skin type into account, and other factors, and TOO MUCH of ANYTHING is bad for you, but virtually EVERY CRITTER ON THE PLANET(mammals, birds, reptiles, and even fish) spend time basking in the sun(take this from a TOTAL ANIMAL GEEK for over 50 years)–it is one of the most natural, healthy things you can do! What is the best protection from sunburn? Nature’s protection– A GOOD TAN! Developed gradually and sensibly! People who spend most of their life indoors, then expose their lilly-white skins suddenly for hours in intense heat on a vacation at the beach–well, duh, THAT’S certainly not good for you! I read an article years ago questionning the safety of all the chemicals in sunscreen–never heard any more about THAT–but sunscreen sales ARE a multi million dollar business, after all…..But just READ the labels on that stuff–WHAT-THE-HELL IS all that junk? And you’re BAKING it into every pore of your body? Hour-after-hour, day-after-day? Slathering chemicals all over your body? Wouldn’t it be some ironic and tragic thing if it was the rise in the use of sunscreens(combined with the more indoor lifestyles) that was the REAL cause of the rise in skin cancer cases! I’ve been gradually tanning every summer for over 50 years, in the American South, NEVER used sunscreen, and mostly(if not entirely) of European descent. I even spent a summer running around in mostly just shorts in Africa, and, knock-on-wood, not a trace of skin cancer yet……

Personal Trainers Maidenhead January 6, 2012 at 1:56 am

Hi Rusty – interesting take on sunlight / cancer / vitamin D – I suppose everything in balance! If only I could get 15-30 minutes of sun exposure here in Maidenhead, it’s almost permanently grey and wet at this time of year!!!

Cheoy Lee January 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

Wow, this is really interesting. Every time you think you know what’s what a new article or new info comes along to challenge that belief!

Dee - fasting for health benefits January 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm


Thanks for such a great article. I’ve been looking into this and being african american and living in Florida.. I’ve been taught to hate the sun but after realizing the sun helps us synthesize vitamin D I started spending the first few minutes on the beach without a beach umbrella. The sun here in Florida can get brutally hot but its worth it during the summer to get all that good vitamin D. On the flip side, I’ve always known that it is the chemicals in most of those pseudo sunscreens that ultimately cause cancer and not the sun. There are a number of organic natural sunscreens out there for my “fair skinned” friends you just have to look for them. The sun is our friend not the enemy as we have been taught. Thanks again for your post Rusty!

Jeff January 11, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Great article on skin care. It may be even more relevant in the winter when here in Canada we tend to stay inside more than the summer, and get less sunlight, and less Vitamin D. It is wise to get into the sun all year long to up your Vitamin D. I’ll be looking for quality sunscreen this summer for myself and my kids. Thanks for another great article. Cheers!

Sue Kauffman January 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

It seems we as a society go in cycles. We spend years screwing up what nature intended and then follow up with years of trying to correct it. Seems like sun exposure is one of those things.

Vans schoenen online kopen January 17, 2012 at 2:20 am

The sun i my friend!
I always feel better after a good day in the sun, so even if it’s a little bit bad for your skin… would the fact that it brings you joy not be just as important. Because that fact makes it healthy as well.

Personal Trainer Tiago C. January 17, 2012 at 3:39 am

good day

Become a complete athlete.

Training and nutrition is essential.

Good nutrition is essential for weight loss.
There are bad habits ingrained in most people.
But with some basic rules of good nutrition easy.
And without going hungry.

Courage and fight!

I like your blog. I put a link to it on my: http://personal-trainer-saude.blogspot.com

big hug

Carlo January 20, 2012 at 3:25 am

Hi, I’m 13 years old (turning 14 in June). I’d like to achieve a good look for a teenager (smaller version of the “Hollywood” look). I personally have a medium frame and have little belly fat. I own the Visual Impact Muscle Building program and was wondering if I could use it or should I make a few tweaks in the program for my age. I have been doing some bodyweight for 2 months (I have some experience). PLS HELP! 🙂

yourwaytobetter.info January 22, 2012 at 1:40 am

Nice article! Unfortunatly many people can’t spend much time on the outdoors, maybe after they read this change their mind.

guy January 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm

hey rusty ive been following your blog for a while now and I honestly think its the best fitness blog on the web! keep up the great work!
My question is this: about two years ago I dropped pretty much all direct resistance training on my legs, but they still have too much muscle for my taste. Would marathon cardio help this or am I just doomed to have big legs because of my genes?

PS I no you kinda covered this in an earlier post but I thought I would get an answer faster if I posted on your most recent article…

Suzanne January 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I have sensitive skin so tanning is hard for me. But my family is going to Florida for spring break this spring. I’ll definitely check out the European sunscreen and see if I can get it online. Thanks for the heads up! Love this blog!

personal trainer weybridge January 31, 2012 at 2:33 am

Good stuff as always Rusty, and highly interesting&useful.
Thanks for all the great work

Wellness Nut February 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hey Rusty!

Thanks so much for sharing this info. I live in the lovely state of Washington, and our cloudy/rainy weather makes it really hard to get enough vitamin D in the winter. I’ve been taking supplements like crazy! When the sun does come out, I always try and find ways to soak it up (with sunscreen on too). Here’s a blog I wrote about vitamin D deficiency during the winter months. Hope you like it! http://betterhealthwashington.com/?p=498

Wellness Nut

Kitty from Australia February 4, 2012 at 2:42 am

Thanks for your post, from the Aussies!
Our government is currently running a campaign “there’s no such thing as a safe tan” and it’s really good to see some more balanced discussion for once.

kettlebell workouts February 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm

This is very interesting. I try to get outside the gym everyday for at least 30 minutes just to breathe a little slower and get out in the sun. It’s tough when the days are cold and gray…I occasionally mix in a little vit D supplement in the winter.

Lisa February 8, 2012 at 4:14 am

Thanks for this amazing post. It’s really appreciable work. Some facts are interesting such as UVA and UVB . You should blog more about it. I just love the content.

pjnoir February 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Just a personal observation for what it is worth. Since being on a paleo diet things have changed in my life- Not only weight loss but muscle gain occured and for the first time in my life- this former chubby doughboy could go outdoors in public without a shirt. Working without a shirt in my garden and doing some body weight exercises in the yard- usually at noon- I never got a sun burn (and I took in a lot of sun) and not even my drivers left arm got very dark. Does a high fat diet prevent burning? Has worked for me.

Big Vanilla Athletic Club February 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

It’s hard to find a balance between getting the right amount of vitamin D and not getting a sunburn. Your plan sounds smart!

Darren - Lertno's Training February 11, 2012 at 7:59 am

Great article Rusty. My strategy is to make sure I don’t do too much of anything. If you do anyting for too long it usually has a negative effect on you. Same thing goes for food and exercise. Variety is key.

Robert February 13, 2012 at 5:50 am

I’ve been reading a lot of Mark Sisson’s stuff for the past couple of months, and like what’s suggested both by him and Rusty in the article, I’m going to try and get 15 minutes of sun a day once it starts warming up again. My pale chest could use some color.

GW Down February 13, 2012 at 6:55 am

You need to post more frequently. It is hard to maintain interest in your site.

franke February 15, 2012 at 4:44 am

Very great article. I always thought that only early morning or late evening sun was beneficial and tried to avoid afternoon sun at all costs. Guess I don’t need to worry so much about that after all.
just this,thanks.

monica-stayfitcentral.com February 15, 2012 at 11:11 am


Thank you for this article!! I love nothing more than working out in the sun yet have had no issue with skin cancer! Going to the indoor gym is like going to the dentist! So thanks for the positive message regarding sun exposure! Really!!

Jonathan Aluzas February 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Very in-depth and well thought-out, I appreciate that. My two immediate thoughts are this:
1. Nature isn’t stupid. If the sun was that devastating, we wouldn’t have evolved into an environment in which it was a factor. Obviously, if you off-load common sense and stay out in the hot, bright light of the sun until you are flaming red, you’re going to pay the price. But that rosy response is a warning in and of itself, much like the pain you feel when you smash your thumb with a hammer. It’s your body saying, “This is BAD.” Listen to your body, listen to common sense.
2. I don’t know if this is correct, but I seem to remember reading that you should apply sunscreen 30 minutes or so before you’re out in the sunlight. So, I don’t know if your plan to avoid sunscreen for the first 15 minutes will serve you properly. Might want to research that.


Ross Quintana February 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Good post Rusty, I think along with many things in life you have to have enough knowledge to know how much is enough and how much is too much. Sun exposure is the same way. I do feel this isn’t the same sun as when I was a kid.

Hrishikesh February 26, 2012 at 3:00 am

Now I am really worried to know that people working in a glass building are actually m missing out on UVB. This really is a thing to worry about as I spend most of my day inside.

registro de la propiedad February 26, 2012 at 3:47 am

Great post Rusty. Just reading the first paragraph of this post put me in such a good mood. That sounds like the most perfect day. I’ve always been a slightly tanned person but I’ve always been very cautious with the sun. I’ll never go out without sunscreen.

Omar February 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I wish you would blog more frequently Rusty. Your blog is one of my favourties.

Lyndon February 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Interesting stuff, I think it’s yet another case for moderation. Like so many other things in our lives, extremes in either direction are rarely healthy.

Rick Upshaw March 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I’m really glad I came here and saw this post. I have pretty fair skin myself, and constantly find myself in debates with my dark-skinned wife about whether or not being in the sun is harmful or helpful. Recently, I’ve heard things from various sources about how our skin gets helpful vitamin D from the sun. Now, armed with this information (and the further study you suggest), I can make better decisions about whether or not we should be out in the sun or not!

Great post! Keep up the good work!

apple wholesale March 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

This was a great post, very informative. I had no idea there were different types of sunscreen in Europe. I want some better sunscreen too, come on FDA!
apple wholesale

Jim March 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm

It’s true you definitely can’t live in a box your whole life and never see the sun but there comes a point when there is too much as well. You want to do what is best for your skin and your health.

Paul March 13, 2012 at 10:50 am

This is a great post and I really found it interesting. I personally love going to the beach but worry about getting skin cancer. I also have fair skin. I have known for awhile that vitamin D was important and one should be getting some sun exposure. I was not aware of the UVA rays and that the US does not have sunscreen that protects against that. I do my best to not be in the sun too much but I love the outdoors so it proves difficult. So interesting about the indoor workers too. I knew being inside all day was not a good thing but had no idea about what the window did.

P. Winter March 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

The dietary connexion

In the 1970s, when kidney transplantation was pioneered, doctors first encountered the problem of tissue rejection. To combat it, they gave their transplant patients linoleic acid. This suppressed their immune systems very effectively, preventing their transplanted kidneys being rejected. But it also caused a large increase in cancers and this treatment was stopped.

Since then, linoleic acid and oils that contain it, have been shown time and again to increase the risk of several types of cancer, including skin cancers.

Linoleic acid is the major fatty acid in all polyunsaturated vegetable margarines and cooking oils:

Polyunsaturated margarines are around 40% linoleic acid
Sunflower, safflower, corn and soya oils are all more than 50% linoleic acid.

Drs B S and L E Mackie, working on Australia’s Sunshine Coast have a great deal of experience in skin cancers. They say: “In view of the work of Black and Erickson in mice and our own work in humans, we believe that human subjects who are at high risk of melanomas and other solar-induced forms of skin cancer should be advised to be moderate in their intake of dietary polyunsaturated fats.” (28)

Patricia Holborrow also points out that the increase in melanomas could be a result of dietary changes to PUFs.”Recently, I followed up four families that started in 1976 to use a diet with preferred oils as safflower and sunflower oil and low in salicylates and additives (that interfere with the metabolic pathway of these fats). There had been three cases of cancer resulting in two deaths in these families.” (29) “The issue is further complicated by dietary factors that are cofactors for the metabolic pathways for the fatty acids and which may in addition favour or have a negative effect on the anticancer or cancer enhancing properties of the various prostaglandins (eg the negative effects of vitamin E and the positive effects of vitamin C).” (30)

The Australians are as paranoid about heart disease as the Americans. I was in Australia in 1995 and noticed that it is even their custom to remove the cream from milk and replace it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil.

One of the recommendations for reducing the risk of skin and other cancers is to reduce intakes of fats and take vitamin supplements. But this approach doesn’t seem to work. The findings of a huge study by scientists at the Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; the Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands; the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York; and the Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, of 43,217 male participants of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, did not support the hypothesis that diets low in fat or high in specific vitamins lower risk of basal cell carcinoma. (31)

It’s usually saturated animal fats that get the blame for all diseases today. They are not the culprits — ‘healthy’ vegetable oils are (see Polyunsaturated Fats in The Cholesterol Myth)

exercise bike reviews March 21, 2012 at 2:17 am

too much sun is dangerous..
we need moderate sun..don’t we for producing enough vit D

Jamie March 22, 2012 at 12:47 am

Hi Rusty! I purchased Visual Impact a while back and I was wondering something. I have a fairly high BF percentage (25%). Should I be starting the program in Phase III, instead of Phase I? I’ve been dieting down and mainly working in Phase III… Just not sure if that’s optimal.

Thanks… Any other details about me that you need to know (training experience etc) just ask…

Megan Jones March 22, 2012 at 9:30 am

Great post. I really appreciated your tone in that there are so many things we are still unsure about regarding sun exposure. I think you have provided some really good advice and information for your readers to make some educated habit changes. I am quite fair skinned as well and I find that I burn less if I wait a bit before putting on sunscreen. Now I know why!

James51 March 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

AUSTRALIANS BEWARE. We have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world and Queensland, our most popular vacation centre, is the nation’s capital of skin cancer. This is why the Govt runs the skin cancer awareness programme.
I’m not aware of many (if any) countries that have as high a portion of white skinned (Anglo – Celtic) population living so close to the equator (within 20 deg of latitude).
The amount of sun exposure you are subjected to can depend a lot on where you live. In Australia in mid summer you can get a very definite colour change of your skin with as little as 3 – 5 minutes exposure (as a friend of mine demonstrated while were on vacation in Qld. on summer). If you don’t have some tanning to protect your skin, you can get sun burned within 20 minutes.
My doctor told me (Mediterranean decent) when checking out a mole on my skin, “you don’t have to worry too much about skin cancer. Its Celtic people like me with white skin (he also had red hair) that are most at risk.” He had had some skin spots removed from his arms by the time he was 50 y/o.
My understanding is that we do need some sun exposure to get a dose of Vit. D to aid bone development and help ward off osteoporosis in old age. But be responsible about how you get it – especially if you are of Anglo, Celtic origin.

Herman March 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I’ll quit my indoor job right away!

will o'dwyer March 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

What happened to you, Rusty? Did you have a heart attack?

Austin @ No Nonsense Fitness Tips March 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I have feeling the younger generation of today will have great problems with skin cancer when they’re older. Only sun exposure in moderation is healthy.

– Austin

Kiya March 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Great blog Rusty! I’ve actually read through the whole thing over the last week or so, and I’ve picked up some wonderful tips and information from it.
I hope life is treating you well, and you haven’t posted because you’re spending plenty of time having fun in the rest of your life – but I look forward to you updating!


Katy April 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

Awesome article and good to know. There are so many contradicting facts and theories out there that it’s hard to know which ones are right. I guess moderation in everything is the key.

Kathy Stumm-Bogale Calgary Alberta April 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

Great article! Everything in moderation including the sun. We need sun for our bodies to produce Vitamin D and keep us healthy … on the other hand too much sun can be dangerous. There are still so many things we are unsure about sun exposure. So I no longer bake in the sun and I do protect myself and my family while we are enjoying the sun!

vans kopen April 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

Love this article! Good job ! Finally somebody came out with the article like this. Love sun, love to do some sport on sunny beach and this article really encouraged me to keep going! Always believed the sun is my friend and try to spend any minute to enjoy warm sunny day.

Personal trainer melbourne April 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I definitely agree that we’ve gone too far some children don’t get enough sunlight.

John Oxnard April 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Some sun is good for you because when you are outside vitamin D is absorbed. However, going to the beach for 6 hours without putting sun screen on because we just forgot is very bad for you. Make sure you put on sunscreen every hour.

casas de madera May 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thanks for this amazing post. It’s really appreciable work. Some facts are interesting such as UVA and UVB . You should blog more about it. I just love the content.

Ross Currie May 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I think what is important is to have some level of sunlight exposure every other day, and using that sunlight expose to exercise. What I would do is sneak in a little jog every few days in the sun so that I not only get some sun, I get some exercise too.

zep101 August 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

I have a lot of skin damage because I got way too much exposure as a kid. I have had to have 2 growths removed with surgery. I sure wish my parents would have kept me out of the sun when I was little. I’m sure I look much older than I am now in my mid fifty’s

Christa October 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

This is a great topic. I have recently been told about your blog by a patient and have liked what I’ve read so far. What I find interesting about this particular article is the fact that I was 23 when diagnosed with advanced melanoma. As a former ballet dancer, I spent most of my life in an artificially lit studio rather then in the sun, yet I battled the most deadly of skin cancers. My own research led me to other melanoma survivors with similar stories and resources that dispel traditional beliefs that the sun is dangerous. Try reading “The Healing Sun” by Richard Hobnay. It may be over a decade old, but research continues to back his theories.

Seth November 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

Mind: Blown.

Hahahaha! This totally makes sense, but has shifted my paradigm a bit [I did aquatics in High School, put on the sun screen religiously, etc] Awesome post.

Candice November 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Awesome article. I live in Olympia, WA so I know all about not getting enough sun. I spent a few years down in Arizona at college and I really enjoyed all the sunshine. I probably overdid it. I’m trying to be smarter now and find a balance though.

Mark November 28, 2012 at 1:56 am

Great article.

The evidence seems pretty solid against roasting yourself to a crisp each and every day. It never seems to stop those unnaturally tanned leather skinned folk which seem to frequent each and every beach.

I think the best option is to slap on the sunscreen and grab a panama hat – as missing out on the beach is not an option for me!

Dr. Charles L. Foster December 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

The pendulum is swinging. It never made sense that the sun was bad for us. It is necessary. Moderation and conditioning are they key. Some studies suggest the sunscreen lotions pose their own threat to health. Get more information. Check out this article from our site.


Dr. Charles Foster
Rutland, VT

Dave January 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

Great article, it all boils down to moderation. I try and get as much sun as possible if I can. During a hot and humid day, I managed to get a heat stroke, I learned from that one! I carry a water bottle with me at all times.

Kelly Williams March 26, 2013 at 7:18 am

Love the information you shared. I guess sun exposure can be good for your body but TOO MUCH EXPOSURE now that is not good.

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Trevor November 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Great article Rusty 🙂

There is a lot of controversy around this subject. I was watching one of ” The Random Show ” episodes where Tim was trying out a supplement that might act as sunscreen.

– Trevor

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