Internal Sunscreen is better for your child

Emergency Immune Boost - now!

While your child’s best source of Vitamin D comes from being exposed (without sunscreen) to the hot summer sun, they need strong protection from skin cancer.  You can balance both with just a little natural intervention, and a slight change in focus….

Why is exposure to sun so vital?

In his book Optimum Nutrition for your Child, (Ref 1), Patrick Holford says,

“in recent years, it’s been discovered that Vitamin D has many other roles within the immune system and is involved in mood, cardiovascular health and cancer protection. Deficiency in this vitamin may be widespread and, unlike the other vitamins, food is not our main source of it. ”

In fact, food sources and supplements for Vitamin D are a second-rate option to simple sun exposure.   Our skin makes the best form of this vitamin, in the doses our bodies need – and you stop producing Vitamin D when you have enough, so you can’t overdose.

Vitamin D is something no child in sunny South Africa should go short of, but a surprising number of our children are vitamin D deficient!  Applying sunscreen means your skin stops making vitamin D, and our kids are spending far less time out of doors than we did.

In order to make enough vitamin D in SA, a child with very fair skin needs exposure of the face, arms and legs to a UV index of 3 or more(**) for around 20 minutes, three or more times a week. (A child with black skin needs as much as 90 minutes each time).

(**) Strength of sunlight is measured as a UV Index, and in sunny SA, that’s midday sun in mid-winter, and sun before 11am and after 2 in mid-summer.


Your child needs sun protection from the inside out

The story of sun damage is half told.  Cell damage caused by free radicals (usually called Oxidative Stress in medical circles) is being linked to the development of more and more diseases.  Even photosynthesis in plants produces free radicals due to the UV rays, and humans do a very similar thing. (See our article on Free Radical Cell Damage )

The link between Free Radical Cell Damage and the development of skin lesions (including skin cancer) is too strong to ignore (Ref 2).  When you consider just how few children around us are eating the type of antioxidant-rich diet necessary to deal with damage to your cells caused by Free Radicals, this is especially concerning.


Take Action - our Recommendations

Carrot-SmallRamp up their internal Sun Protection.

Protect your child from the damaging effects of free radicals generated by sunshine (and other sources) from the inside out by combining safe, effective supplements that you can trust, with a healthy antioxidant-rich diet.

  • GNLD’s Vita Guard is a suitable supplement for sun protection.  Vita Guard supplies optimal doses of mixed carotenoids and flavonoids (for example, Lycopene, Beta Carotene and Astaxanthin) that are known to improve your natural sun protection factor and protect against cell damage by free radicals.  (Ref 3)
  • Compare your child’s diet with our Healthy Diet Profile to see how close their diet is to supplying enough Antioxidants.  Do you need to improve their diet?  We offer an 8 week Diet Change Program that will help you make that change – at a pace you can handle, and in a way that sticks for life, not just for the few months you place heavy focus on it.

Carrot-SmallBecome a conscious sunscreen chooser, not an automatic sunscreen user

Hold the sunscreen – except for times when your child will spend excessive time in the sun. This means that you stop applying sunscreen before every school day, and only apply it when your child will be heavily exposed to sun for more than 30 consecutive minutes over midday.


Our references

  1. (Ref 1) Vitamin D (cholecalciferol), Patrick Holford & Deborah Colson, Optimum nutrition for your child (book), page 63, 2010.
  2. (Ref 2) Oxidative stress in malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, Sander, Hamm et al. British Journal of Dermatology, May 2003, volume 148(5) pages 913-22. ( (opens new window)
  3. (Ref 3) Carotenoids and carotenoids plus vitamin E protect against ultraviolet light–induced erythema in humans, Stahl, Heinrich et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2000, volume 71 no. 3 pages 795-798. ( (opens new window)