Is Using Sunscreen Paleo?

I always find it interesting when I come across Paleo in context of things other than eating, like running, or endurance training in general, or… like the topic of this post, things one puts on their body.

Let’s start with the obvious: I’m certainly not a dermatology expert, and I invite any of you readers who happen to be a Paleo dermatologist to please comment to this post!

Personally, I feel a bit torn on the subject.  While it’s obvious that we’re living in different ambient conditions, due to the depleted ozone layer, than cavemen experienced, I still don’t love the idea of smearing harsh chemicals all over my skin.  Nor do I want to fry in broad daylight and experience horribly burnt skin.

Many scientists studying cancer have come to the conclusion that the use of sunscreen chemicals may be increasing the incidence of cancer and that sunlight exposure may actually decrease human cancer rates and improve your health.

Chemical Sunscreens have been shown to generate free radicals (which, amongst other side effects, can actually age the skin prematurely…just like overdoing sun exposure), have strong estrogenic activity and, since they are foreign to the body, can be stored and saved in body fat.

There is also the option of a physical sunscreen, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, but some choose not to use them as they’re thicker and more difficult to apply.

What I do, and again, I’m not positioning this as ‘here is what you should do’, is to get some sun, which my dermatologist recommends, but not too much and I use a mixture of vitamin C powder mixed with water as a homemade ‘sunscreen’.  I have my skin checked annually by my dermatologist, as well.

The sun itself is not the enemy.  Because I do get some sun exposure each day, along with the fact that I follow the Paleo diet diligently, it comes as no surprise each year when I have my physical exam and my Vitamin D levels are at the top end of normal… including the three years that I lived in Seattle!