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Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?

Vitamin D, often referred to as "the sunshine vitamin," is different from other vitamins in that it influences your entire body.

And, while scientists refer to vitamin D as a vitamin, it is actually a steroid hormone obtained from sun exposure, food sources and supplementation. Vitamin D receptors have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones.

Unfortunately, dermatologists and the media do the public a great disservice by recommending avoiding the sun to decrease skin cancers.1,2

This is because these "experts" fail to realize that vitamin D deficiency not only raises your risk of skin cancer3 but many of the most common cancers as well, which claim far more lives than the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma.

Breast4 and prostate5,6 cancers are just two examples where low vitamin D renders you more vulnerable to more aggressive forms of the disease. Low vitamin D also raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.

The scientific evidence, now running in excess of 34,000 studies, details the many benefits of UV exposure, both for vitamin D production and other benefits that are completely unrelated to vitamin D.

The most important thing you can do to prevent skin cancer is to spend a sufficient amount of time in the sun as frequently as possible, ideally close to daily to maintain an optimal vitamin D level.

A primary risk factor for skin cancer is intermittent overexposure, not sensible exposure. Appropriate sun exposure means, first and foremost, avoiding sunburn. As long as you avoid sunburn you are getting the benefits of sun exposure.