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Rethinking the sun block

I get a sunburn easily. At least that is what I thought.

When I was little, I would get pretty tanned in the summertime. Of course, I would be playing outside every day and my Mom took us to the pool lots. Did she put sunscreen on us? I think so. But I am sure that it was not the same as the SPF 70 I insist on using today.

What I wasn’t thinking about was the pattern: Playing outside every day built up a tan. I don’t really remember getting a truly bad sunburn. I got plenty of vitamin D.

Cut to today: My levels of vitamin D are low. I am indoors for most of the day. When I do go outside in the summer, I slather on the sunscreen and get a burn on the spots that I miss.

I am missing out on the gradual exposure part that I had when I was little. Being outside every day – no matter the season – built up my tolerance levels. I wasn’t shocking my body with intense summer exposure like I am now.

Is my thinking correct? Probably. I mean, my son plays outside every day, builds up a gradual tan throughout the late Spring and early Summer, and while he still needs sunscreen on the highest-UV days, he is generally sunburn free.

There is also this latest research saying that sunscreen might be solving one problem while causing several others.

I’m not saying we will be ditching the sunscreen, but I am saying that I am re-thinking the way we apply it.

Does your family spend enough time outside in the Spring to get ready for Summer? Tell me in the comments.

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