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Can you train your skin to resist sun damage?

Colin Chambersbiology, cancer, cells, general health, injury, lifestyle, melanoma, recover, steps, tennis, training Leave a Comment

I Just had an urge to understand Melanoma the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Not sure why just seemed like a good idea. Partly because I’ve been wondering what new developments there are in our knowledge and what trends are associated with this kind of cancer.

I’m glad I checked it out. Turns out that it’s intermittent exposure to the sun that’s the worst problem. This is reflected in most cases occurring in men on their backs and women on their legs. This fits in with what I’ve picked up over the years.

Damage from the sun is something we’ve been exposed to for millenia so it’s only natural to assume that we have in built defences to it. The strength of this defence, in my opinion, is likely to be down to how much we train it through exposure. What I mean is that people who work outside every day will be well prepared for the summer heat by their exposure during the spring. I assume the damage is relevated to the amount of protection you already have and so exposure during the spring when the sun isn’t directly over head will build up some resistance and have a training effect on the skin. Every so often a day of prolonged sunshine will come along and many spend a long time in it. Those who already have some protection are just less likely to go over the threshold at which damage occurs. I believe it’s effectively as simple as that.

Much like training in sports protects us from the damaging effects of exercise. Repeated safe exposure to the sun protects us from the damage from intermittent intense exposure.

Otherwise you’d expect people with bald heads to have the highest rates of melanoma because no matter what direction you walk the top of your head is always exposed to the sun, assuming you don’t wear a hat. Since this isn’t the case it suggests, though it doesn’t prove , that a training effect may occur.

I just wanted to mention this idea of a training effect and state the reasons I think it may exist because I think it could be a very useful way to limit the danger from this kind of cancer and from the sun itself in a natural way. It also implies that regular activity outside, exposing the parts of your skin you would normally expose, for me it’s head, neck and forearms, is the best way to combat skin cancer yet it also help fight osteoporosis, diabetes and coronary heart disease all at the same time. So there’s a lot to gain if it’s got some truth in it.

The article also hints that indirect DNA damage is the major cause of Melanoma. It strikes me that the body is likely to have natural methods to protect us from this problem and that through repeated safe exposure these methods would become well developed in our skin and thus it would be well trained and equipped at preventing the damage

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Go ahead, soak up some sun the benefits of getting vitamin D from sun exposure can outweigh the risks of Skin cancer. Of the 30 leading causes of deaths in the United States in 2010, 19 were linked to low vitamin D status.

In 2023 I just took the kids camping in Swanage, England and on the final day we visited Kimmeridge bay. That day was one of the best for sun all summer and we were not prepared because we had seen mainly rain for weeks. so we had not been able to get out and develop the protection we would normally have at that time.

For years developing my skins resistance to the sun is something I work on each year and it has worked so well. I also have habits to seek out the shade during the heat of the day. These habits have served me really well but were not possible this day at Kimmeridge because there was no shade anywhere and we had not been there before so we did not know what to prepare for. Most importantly though the point is about the problem with relying on sun screen instead of developing your own protection.

At kimmeridge the small part of me that got burnt was the edge of my ankle that’s normally covered by socks so wasn’t prepared for the sun. Above that area no burns at all and on really exposed areas I got red but not burnt. Only this area. 

Previous research showed that getting burnt is linked to cancer and sun lotion builds on your existing skin protection ability.

So that shows the problem of relying on sunscreen because you can easily miss an area.  We never used to have sunscreen so we must use it as a tool to help develop natural protection and not rely on it as a tool of preotection.  

Can you train your skin to resist Melanoma first appeared on my original blog.

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