Nothing ruins a vacation faster than sunburn. Those of us with the tanning spectrum of a cooked lobster need to be extremely vigilant when protecting our skin.
Conventional wisdom says we should apply gobs of sunscreen, but there’s a growing amount of evidence that suggests otherwise.
According to a 2010 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), nearly half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products might be increasing the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer.
The Sunshine Paradox
Is the sun something that we should fear because it’s dangerous, or is it something that we should embrace because it’s healthy? We’ve all heard the token advice from dermatologists about remembering our sunscreen, but I’m open to the idea that sun exposure is necessary for optimal health.
Since our bodies thrive on natural sunlight (it’s essential for Vitamin-D production), one can argue that screening/blocking it is counterproductive. But that doesn’t change the fact that repeatedly burning pale mole-covered skin can be lethal.
Prevent Sunburn Internally
After watching Episode 16 of The Random Show with author Tim Ferriss, I decided to experiment with a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin. Despite being a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ work, I initially disregarded this advice, assuming it didn’t apply to people as fair-skinned as myself.
To give you an idea just how easily I burn, 10-minutes of driving with my sunroof open can absolutely scorch my forehead.
After spending several hours outdoors over a two day period with heavy sun exposure, I can tell you (with utter disbelief) that it worked remarkably well… My skin didn’t get so much as a tinge of redness.
A more accurate assessment for its long-term effectiveness will be determined as summer progresses, but for now, I’m committed to using it through the end of August. So if you’re interested in an alternative to sunscreen, consider astaxanthin.
- EWG’s list of the 158 best beach & sport sunscreens
- Article – How Does Sunscreen Work?
- Where to Buy Astaxanthin
- Research study #1
- Research study #2
March 2013 Usage Update
After loading up on astaxanthin for 60 days, I spent a week on the beach in Mexico and didn’t get sunburned. I’m of the opinion that, at lease anecdotally, it is a useful way to reduce sunburn. I’ll definitely keep using it for this reason.