Sunburn and Natural Sunscreen Protection

A Natural Sunscreen Alternative

We all know that the suns UV rays can be damaging causing sunburn and skin cancers.  Slip, Slap, Slop is a common catchphrase around the application of sunscreen and any visit to the beach or time spent in the outdoors. The reality is that many of us have decided that the sun is bad and to be avoided.

This is a mistake.

Yes, spending too much time in the sun is detrimental to the skin and overall health. But mounting research is showing that the benefits of time in the sun are vastly outweighing the negatives.

One of these benefits is natural sunscreen protection.

Pre-Conditioning The Skin

Barolet writes in the 2016 article Infrared and skin: Friend or foe that when you pre-condition the skin with a dose of near infrared light that you get “a SPF-15 like sun protection factor effect.”

natural sunlight skin protection

Some background information is needed here to fill in the gaps on how to reduce sunburn and get this natural sunscreen protection.

The field of photobiomodulation (PBM)  is where red and near infrared light are applied to the body to increase energy production, decrease inflammation and speed up healing in brief.  Infrared light is NOT ultraviolet light.  Near infrared light is invisible but is not ionising.  UV light is ionising, and this is what causes skin damage.

Barolet explains in his research paper that when you apply near infrared light to the skin BEFORE you are exposed to UV light that you get the sunscreen SBF-15 protective effect which they call photoprevention.

In other words, near infrared light (photobiomodulation) protects against UV damage and sunburn.

This is not surprising. Of course, nature has protection against sunburn naturally built in to the system.  We just aren’t using nature correctly and to our benefit.  We don’t pre-condition our skin we just run out in the middle of the day, burn, and then say the sun is bad!

Another piece of the puzzle to understand is that the ratio of UV light to near infrared light is lower when the sun is rising and setting as this figure from Barolet paper shows.  The most harmful time to be in the sun is mid-day. Conversely the most beneficial time is when our shadows are long.  The mornings and the evenings.

ratio of PBM to UV light

If we were more in tune with natures rhythms, we would be up at the crack of dawn and WITNESS the sunrise. We would be outside soaking up the beneficial photobiomodulation light and pre-conditioning our skin so that we would have natural sunscreen protection against sunburn.

Natural Sunscreen Protection

The sunrise is our natural sunscreen.

If you look at the image above you will also see that the sunset is where PBM repair occurs.  Should you damage yourself with too much UV light during the day the sunset is natures way of repairing this with photobiomodulation.

The sunset is our natural repair system to UV light damage.

I realise that not everyone will be able to witness the sunrise.  The good news is that there are other ways to get your photobiomodulation dose and your natural sunscreen alternative.

Sunscreen Alternative

You can use a near infrared sauna.  This will very closely mimic the sun in that you are getting the red light therapy and near infrared photobiomodulation with full spectrum light and some of the warmth of the sun.

using a near infrared sauna

Alternatively, you can use a LED panel which will provide single wavelengths in the red and near infrared spectrum.  Just be careful not to have the irradiance level too high.  You want to mimic the sun which is about 20 to 30mW/cm2

Ironically, the sun that you are so scared of is actually what you need to protect yourself.

To learn more about near infrared saunas and photobiomodulation you can visit

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions either.

Yours in Health,

Dr Todd Lizon (Chiropractor)
B.P.H.E., D.C.

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