Though my wife and I have very different parenting styles, one of the things we agree on is this: Give the kids lots of sun exposure and never slather chemical sunscreen on them. Here are three reasons why:

  • Sunscreen blocks the production of melanin (the pigment causing a protective tan to form), resulting in a higher risk of skin cancer.
  • Sunscreen blocks the production of vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D weakens the immune system and increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. In children especially, vitamin D deficiency is also correlated with tooth decay and crooked teeth.
  • Many of the chemicals found in sunscreens are actually carcinogenic (cancer causing) and estrogenic. If you see any of the following ingredients, steer clear: benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone), PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA), cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate), salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate), Digalloyl trioleate, Menthyl anthranilate, and Avobenzone.

Contrary to what sunscreen manufacturers wish you to believe, sunshine is not a death ray. It is a healing ray. Here are four main benefits of sun exposure:

1. It boosts neuropeptides that elevate mood and regulate appetite.

2. It reduces the risk of the deadly skin cancer melanoma and 16 other types of cancer.

3. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis and increases bone density as a result of enhanced “mineralization.”

4. It increases sex drive. Not that I want my kids’ libido to be rockin’, but this is good info for the dad who needs to get his bedroom energy back.

Note that I am not suggesting that you or your kids should ever get sunburned. You can definitely get too much of a good thing. Cover up with clothing to block the sun and go indoors if your skin is getting pink. There are also several natural sunscreens on the market. The best one I have found is a brand called UV Naturals, which is made with green tea extract, bees wax, vitamin E, and grape seed oil. Not only does it protect your skin from excess sun exposure, it also helps your skin look and feel younger. I tested it on my kids recently in Florida. Worked perfectly.

[Ed. Note: Getting more sunshine is just one way you can improve your health. For 5 more ways to experience vibrant health without prescription drugs, follow this link.

You can get “People’s Chemist” Shane Ellison’s advice on how to live young naturally with ETR’s free health e-letter. Sign up here.]