Rx: Sunscreen and hat

4 thoughts on “Rx: Sunscreen and hat”

  1. I have followed this controversial topic for many years, so for whatever it’s worth, here’s my two cents on this.

    McElligott is a dramatic example of what happens with too much sun, but there is no corresponding picture of what happens with too little. If there were, it might be of a woman in a hospital bed with a fractured hip. The point is that it is almost impossible for a human being to get an adequate amount of vitamin D from diet. It comes from a process that depends on UV from sunlight, and if you use strong sunscreen all the time and avoid sunlight you are probably depriving yourself of a vital substance. Vitamin D is one of the most important factors there is in overall health, including that of the immune system. Drugs like Fosamax are not a substitute for natural vitamin D, by the way, and the latest data show they have serious side effects.

    The UV in sunlight varies dramatically with the angle of the sun in the atmosphere. There are charts you can find on the internet that show UV patterns based on time of year and latitude. In the winter it is actually hard to get enough UV anywhere in the USA. In the summer the amount of UV can be very damaging, but especially between the geological times of 10am and 2pm (remember to adjust for daylight savings time). I have been aware of this for a long time and accordingly I wear a hat and limit exposure during those times in the summer, but make sure I get some exposure outside those times. In winter I try to maximize exposure (except my forehead, which probably got overexposed in my youth.)

    I do not, thank goodness, look like McElligott. All things in moderation: get some sun every day. IMO.

    1. Wise words. No, I certainly wouldn’t advocate a sun-free lifestyle. Be sensible about it. You can protect your head, face, and neck and still get plenty of sun on the rest of your body. We have to be more careful here because of our more intense exposure at this altitude. Plus, we get a lot of exposure during the winter with snow sports. I find “All things in moderation” to be a great rule for just about everything. I also have a saying: “Never underestimate the restorative power of fresh air and sunshine.”

Now that I've had my say ...

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