Your Body Can Produce Its Own Sunscreen, Study Confirms

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According to a study published in April 2020 via the journal Nature Communications, genes present within the human body are capable of not only producing Vitamin D when the body is hit with sunlight, but the genes also have the potential to produce a natural sunscreen.

You read that right: the human body is to a certain extent capable of producing its own sunscreen, thanks to some of the same genes that assist with Vitamin D production.

But what about skin cancer?

This find is in stark contrast to the old harping voice of the sunscreen industry, which maintains that sunlight can cause skin cancer and things of that nature.  While it’s provable that the massive array of frequencies contained within sunlight contains ultra-high frequency radiation, things that are thought to cause skin cancer and the like.

However, is it possible that back in the last several decades of the 20th century, when so many people were getting skin cancer and having holes cut out of their backs to treat it, that sunlight wasn’t the primary agitating factor?

Nowadays, it certainly is less common to encounter young people with holes cut in their backs due to skin cancer. Personally, both my grandfathers had just that, holes cut in their backs due to skin cancer. However, one thing I know about their lives, is that they lived and breathed DDT and other carcinogenic chemicals which utterly drenched the common American household back in that day.

Some believe that environmental carcinogens in household products, pesticides, herbicides, and the like had more to do with skin cancer back then than sunlight.

Supplementation of Vitamin D is more difficult than some vitamins, with a proper balance to Vitamin A necessary, to really get its full benefits if consumed via a supplement. Cod liver oil is said to be a great Vitamin D supplement, because of its natural balance between Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

However, if you live in a sunny enough place, your Vitamin D levels might be better off if you sit in the sun for a while each day.

Here’s what that study says

In the study published April in the journal Nature Communications, the genotype (genetic composition of a person) was analyzed by researchers, in addition to other clinical information, of 417,580 people registered with the UK Biobank.

The UK Biobank is a study that is ongoing in the United Kingdom, with the stated goal of making advancements at preventing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of diseases and illnesses.

The researchers measured Vitamin D 250HD levels at two points in time, at one initial assessment visit between 2006 and 2010, and a second visit around 2012 and 2013.

Their conclusion was that about 143 gene locations were linked to the concentration of Vitamin D, constituting 137 more genes than they were even aware of prior to the several year-long study.

“Vitamin D is the sunshine hormone, and we need bright sunshine on the skin to make it, but variations in our genes also influence how efficient we are at doing that,” said the conjoint professor at the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia, John McGrath, M.D., Ph.D. in a press release.

“Our findings suggest that genetic variants in the HAL (histidine ammonia-lyase) gene can vary the concentration of a small molecule in the skin which acts like an internal Sun Protection Factor, or SPF.”

The researchers concluded that the molecule in the skin capable of acting like sunscreen absorbs UVB light, which triggers the production of Vitamin D as well.

McGrath noted that everybody possesses these genes, the UVB light/Vitamin D genes, and the varying concentrations of it in our skin control both the amount of sunlight protection an individual has and their potential to produce the vitamin.

The genes also create proteins in the skin, but variants of the genes exist, researchers said to Runner’s World. “Some people have variants that make less internal sunblock, so it is slightly easier for these people to make vitamin D,” McGrath continued.

The researcher continued to explain that they found variations in enzymes responsible for creating and breaking down Vitamin D, as well as carrier proteins tasked with the transportation of it.

They found a litany of variations in genes related to the skin and lipid production, with a multifaceted set of factors influencing vitamin D production.

This doesn’t mean you should never wear sunscreen.

He emphasized that this study doesn’t explicitly mean nobody needs sunscreen, but for a critical thinker it may make you wonder. What really causes skin cancer? How much of a factor are environmental carcinogens in the possibility of skin cancer, and how much of a factor are the rays of the Sun?

If you are going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, then you’ll want to protect yourself against sunburns.  Not only are they painful but they could be a precursor to skin cancer.  Don’t reach for the SPF 45 from the nearest drugstore.  These products can actually cause the cancer they purport to protect you from.

The Environmental Working Group released some shocking information when they performed a study that the FDA should have performed.

Some sunscreens absorb into the blood and raise safety concerns. Our review of the technical literature shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some are linked to toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and could disrupt hormone systems, several are strongly linked to allergic reactions, and still others may build up in the body or the environment. FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.

After 29 years of debate, the government has failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards. Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality. In lieu of setting final standards, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises people to stay out of the sun from 10 am to 4 pm. FDA now stands in direct violation a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreen to protect their health.

Commercial sunscreens contain hormone disruptors, nanoparticles, and petroleum products that absorb through your skin.

According to Dr. Mercola, if your sunscreen contains any of the following ingredients, it is toxic and potentially life-threatening:

  • Para amino benzoic acid…
  • Octyl salicyclate…
  • Avobenzone…
  • Oxybenzone…
  • Cinoxate…
  • Padimate O…
  • Dioxybenzone…
  • Phenylbenzimidazole…
  • Homosalate…
  • Sulisobenzone…
  • Menthyl anthranilate…
  • Trolamine salicyclate…
  • Octocrylene…

The link above also discusses a healthy natural sunscreen available through Dr. Mercola’s website.

You can protect yourself from sunburn naturally through several measures.

  • First, eat a diet high in foods that provide protection from the inside out: berries, spirulina, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries, chorella, dark chocolate, kiwi, almonds, and green tea. (Seasonal foods often provide you with just what you need at a specific time of year.)
  • Second, wear protective clothing – shirts that cover your back and shoulders, brimmed hats that shield your ears, neck, and face, and shoes that cover the tops of your feet.
  • Finally, make your own safer sunscreen.  Mix equal parts zinc oxide (baby butt cream or zinc oxide powder) with coconut oil and put this on vulnerable areas like your face and shoulders if you are going to be in the sun for the day.

What do you think?

What do you think about this? Do you use sunscreen? If so, what kind? Do you think that the sunscreen industry has been harmful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Cassius

Cassius K is a writer from North Highlands, California.

Cassius K

Cassius K

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  • Interesting, but I believe I’ll still wear sunscreen.
    Is it just me or are the pop ups getting worse on this site? I know sponsorship helps pay for this, but they’re frequently blocking content, and attempting to close them takes you to the ad site. It’s starting to be a right pain in the area to read the article, let alone comment.

      • Hi Daisy
        I noticed this too. There’s an ad popup that comes up at the bottom of the screen and obscures about 3-4 lines of text. Usually I can close it once and it stays gone, but today it just reappeared about every 5-10 seconds.

  • I actually feel strongly about this topic. I am a very fair blonde with light blue eyes with two children of the same complexion who are now grown. Growing up in Arizona and Vegas with a boating family I had a problem. My skin was sensitive to sunscreen. It feels like acid on my skin. Can’t wear it at all. Zinc oxide is all I can tolerate. Back in the day they didn’t tint the stuff and it was a greasy paste so only put it on lips and nose. I’m now a rancher and work outside most of the day. Needless to say I’ve had a lot of exposure. I’m 53 and went to a dermatologist to check out my 100s of moles and they were shocked by my youthful skin and couldn’t believe I never wore sunscreen. Never put it on my kids either. They played outside all day but I did make them come in between 10-2 most days. They never got a burn. We eat everything from scratch. I’m celiac so have had stomach issues that only resolved by eating paleo so that’s how our family ate. There is a very effective supplement to take during summer months that I believe is helpful astaxanthin. I take 12 mg daily during the summer. Raspberry oil added to moisturizer is another natural sunscreen.

  • This June 23, 2020 article by Dr Joseph Mercola discusses how optimum levels of Vitamin D can strengthen your immune system — which wards off a lot of problems, and even reduces your vulnerability to Covid-19 — which the FDA will see as a threat to its Big Pharma godfathers and sources of much of its employee salaries.

    “The advice to wear sunscreen while getting “incidental” sun exposure is medically irrational and incorrect, since sunscreen filters out the very ultraviolet rays that trigger vitamin D production in your skin.

    In order for sensible sun exposure to work, you need unprotected exposure. Just make sure you don’t get sunburned. All you need is to stay out until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink. After that, cover up with long sleeves and pants.”

    “Vitamin D optimization is particularly important for dark-skinned individuals, as the darker your skin, the more sun exposure you need to raise your vitamin D level. Increased skin pigmentation reduces the efficacy of UVB because melanin functions as a natural sunblock.

    If you’re very dark-skinned, you may need to spend about 1.5 hours a day in the sun to have any noticeable effect. For many working adults and school-age children, this simply isn’t feasible.”

    For people whose schedule, latitude, skin color, and time of year in whatever combination all conspire to keep enough sunlight exposure from being sufficient, vitamin D supplements are readily available and cost effective.

    This naturopathic approach is certainly in the cross-hairs of Big Pharma’s century+ long addiction to patented and sky-high priced pharmaceuticals.

    Be advised that Dr Joseph Mercola’s writings are blacklisted by Big Tech, so using to access his materials is far more practical. Also, an occasional sampling of his articles appears on


  • I”d have to look up the book title–it was in part about the use of sunlight for TB treatment, etc., in the last century, and described how that sun exposure was accomplished to mimic natural exposure. Before people lived almost completely indoors (except for, say, week-ends and vacations), their sun exposure was gradual–as the season progressed, there was longer and more direct sun, of course, but also people gradually altered clothing so more skin was exposed as the weather warmed–gloves taken off, shirts opened, sleeves rolled up, trousers shortened or rolled up, etc. This gave time for the skin to produce its own protection–the gradual, natural tan. (In earlier times than this, of course those who wanted fair skin made sure they were well protected with long sleeves, parasols, wide hat brims, “dust veils,” and so on.)

    As for sunscreen–the book did not advocate doing without it entirely (parallel to this article) but noted that it would at least partially prevent the protective tan development. Not only that, but while sunscreen blocks the UV-B rays, which cause sunburn (a good thing), it does not really do much about the UV-A rays, which *can* cause cancer, and against which the natural tan helps protect! And, apparently sitting in the sun *inside* a window is still likely to expose you to the UV-A rays.

  • I try and use clothes and good sense more than sunscreen. I dunno if there were other factors to skin cancer that my kin had or not but there’s no sense in testing it.
    I don’t worry bout tans. I’m not bout to impress no one and I ain’t going to do that tv show Naked and Afraid. For me it’s more like afraid to be naked and what it does to folks minds LOL

    • ????????????????????????????????ahhh.
      @Matt in Oklahoma You are a hoot and I love reading your posts!! BTW my feeling exactly bout that crazy neekid show!! ????

  • I don’t use sunscreen. As a teenager, I “laid out” in the yard to Grandma’s horror when or if I had time from chores, using tanning “lotions”.
    Now I just wear a wide-brimmed hat and after about an hour I put on an old long sleeve white shirt. I don’t like how sunscreen feels on my skin and even makes my face break out.

    • Hahah, I did the same thing. I sat out with Johnson’s Baby Oil on me. That”s all they had back then. Amazing that we’re still alive. When someone says “Let’s go to the beach” I think PAIN….for days! Painful memories….lol.

  • Gosh I love this article!
    I just knew it.. always knew I couldn’t stand putting on sunscreen! Thanks Daisy love this article!

  • i’ve been using Banana Boat for kids, has medical ingredients homosalate 10%, octocrylene 6%, avobenzone 3 %, it has SPF of 60. I’m not impressed at all, guess a person can’t trust anything any more.

  • When my kids were small, we rarely used sunblock. I know that all creams can get into the body (e.g. nicotine patch, birth control patch). The only time we used sunblock was at the pool/beach. I’m old. I never go out in a tank top or shorts. Estee Lauder said “No woman over 40 should go sleeveless” I agree, unless you’re with family and close friends…even then…. Thin pants, loose thin top can be cooler that a tight sports bra and bike shorts. What did grandma do? (For vit-D I try to get 10 min of direct sunlight….especially in the winter.)

  • As a kid, I lived at our beach on the lake, swimming and playing all day with my best friends. Greatest memories. We were all Irish freckle faces and totally susceptible to bad sunburns. I always had zinc oxide on my nose and under my eyes, and a big t-shirt over my bathing suit. I had my sunscreen too, but I remember using those most vividly. Yes I looked like a dork but they certainly helped!! As an adult I forgot my sunscreen one day while kayaking… omg the pain!!! Ever again!

    I love the long-sleeved bathing suit tops they make for children today. I use Badger Balm sunscreen (mostly zinc oxide!) on my daughter and keep her covered with a wide brimmed hat, too. She’s a redhead with blue eyes and a total cream puff! Protective clothing helps my whole family the most, but we feel very safe and confident using Badger Balm. Made in USA in beautiful New Hampshire… life free or die.

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