Coffee And Vitamin Improve Skin Health, Prevent Burns
In recent decades there has been a scare campaign designed to keep you out of the natural sunlight. Sunscreen manufacturers profit as your expense. And studies have shown that doctors diagnose and “cure” thousands of non-cancerous “skin cancers” every year.
It turns out that not only is sunlight not bad. It’s actually necessary for health. The World Health Organization (WHO) did some research that revealed some startling figures. Although many people are scared of the sun because they’ve been convinced that it will give them skin cancer, the WHO studies showed that attitude is just plain wrong. Less than one tenth of one percent of all disease effects are due to too much sunlight exposure. But 3.3 billion disability-adjusted life years (the WHO measurement of the impact of disease) are caused by too little sunlight exposure every year.
In other words, getting too little sun is a way bigger problem than too much sun. This is why I have repeatedly told you about the importance of getting regular sunlight exposure.
The Benefits Of Sunlight
One of the most studied benefits of sunlight is vitamin D production. Vitamin D is found infrequently in food. That’s because our bodies can produce it naturally. But, in order to do so, they need sunlight exposure on the skin.
Low levels of vitamin D are linked with osteoporosis, depression, and lowered immunity. So getting regularly sunlight on your skin is important for your health. While it is true that you can use supplemental vitamin D, research actually shows that supplemental vitamin D may not have the same benefits as vitamin D from the sun. And, furthermore, supplemental vitamin D increases the risk of getting too much vitamin D, which can be just as bad as too little. Yet when you produce your own from sunlight, you won’t make too much. So sunlight is safer than supplemental vitamin D.
But vitamin D isn’t the only benefit of sunlight. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, sunlight also plays several other important roles. Some of them are well understood and some of them are not.
One that is well understood is the role of sunlight in sleep rythyms. As I’ve mentioned many times, getting adequate quality sleep is incredibly important for your health. Sunlight has been shown to improve sleep quality. That’s because natural sunlight helps to regulate the hormones that control sleeping and waking. Getting adequate morning sunlight (even on overcast days) is important for making nighttime sleep optimal.
And although the mechanisms aren’t well understood, it is well known that sunlight exposure reduces cancer risk for all types of cancer, including skin cancer. Furthermore, sunlight exposure dramatically reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, hypertension, obesity, and arthritis. In fact, it’s easy to wonder if there’s anything sunlight can’t help with.
The Dangers Of Burning
As important as adequate sunlight is, it is true that too much can be harmful. A sunburn is an indication of damage to the skin. Not only that, but it can actually lead to DNA damage. In the long term that can lead to skin cancer.
So like all things, getting the right amount of sunlight is key. You definitely don’t want to get too much sun too often.
Sunscreen manufacturers have promoted the idea that covering up with sunscreen offers protection against that risk. But research shows that’s not true. What sunscreen will do is block many of the beneficial effects of sunlight. But it won’t necessarily protect against the harm of too much exposure.
Using natural means to cover up skin using long sleeve clothing, wide brim hats, and staying indoors can protect against the harm of too much exposure. But it dramatically increases the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, depression, and so forth.
So the best solution is to get regular sunlight exposure on your skin without sunscreen and without burning. The more you become adapted to sunlight, the more time you will be able to spend in the sun without burning, though most research suggests that as little as 5 minutes of sunlight exposure on your upper body per day is plenty to get all the benefits.
To avoid burning, come out of the sun or cover your skin when you notice that your skin is turning slightly pink (if you have a pale complexion) or slightly red (if you have a dark complexion). Staying in the sun longer than that can result in a burn.
Natural Solutions To Prevent Sunburn
Research has shown that two natural nutrients can help to prevent sunburn. And they have also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing malignant skin cancer.
The niacinamide form of vitamin B3 (but not the niacin or nicotinic acid form) has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of both sunburn and skin cancer. Studies have shown that oral supplementation with 1000 mg of niacinamide per day on a regular basis can have this effect. Researchers think it works by repairing DNA damage and by improving immune health.
Some research has also shown that topical niacinamide may have benefits as well. Researchers have found that after excessive sun exposure, applying niacinamide (dissolved in coconut oil) to the skin resulted in less damage.
The other nutrient that has been shown to have beneficial effects is caffeine. When it comes to cancer, coffee intake is clearly shown to reduce the risk. When it comes to sunburn, the studies with oral caffeine intake (in the form of coffee) have shown mixed results. Some show that drinking coffee protects against sunburn while others have not shown any benefit. But all the research with topical caffeine has shown that it protects against sunburn.
So if you happen to get excessive sun exposure, along with niacinamide, you can dissolve some caffeine in coconut oil and apply it to the skin. This has been shown to reduce skin damage.
Natural sunlight has long been known for its healing benefits. Modern research confirms that adequate natural sunlight exposure is essential for health. Still, it is important to avoid sunburn. The best way to do that is to stay in the sun only long enough to notice a slight change in pigment.
Research also shows that the natural nutrients vitamin B3 (in the niacinamide form) and caffeine are beneficial for skin health, DNA protection, and reducing cancer risk. Oral supplementation with these nutrients may help, and topical application to the skin in the case of too much sunlight exposure can help protect the skin and prevent sunburn.