After applying sunscreen extensively (with 75% coverage of the body) to 24 young adults, they found significant measurable levels of the chemicals in the blood.   

The extent of danger or harm from this is unknown. But, I think it is axiomatic that we don’t want sunscreen in our blood.

What I have been doing for a long time is using a zinc-based sunscreen: zinc oxide. If any is absorbed into my blood, I figure it won’t hurt me to get a little more zinc.  And I only use it on my face and neck. For my body, I rely on coverage. Even when I’m swimming, if I expect to be in the water for a long time, I will keep a shirt on throughout. I’d rather do that than apply sunscreen.

And be aware that when you eat a lot of green and yellow vegetables, and fruits such as mango and papaya, you get a lot of carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, which builds up in your skin and acts like an internal sunscreen. Realize that the photo-protective effect of carotenoid pigments is the whole basis for having the yellow carotenoid lutein in your retina. It’s there to prevent ultra-violent damage to the macula.

I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and I admit that I look a little bit orange from it.  Not terribly so, but a little. And I can live with it.


But, try the zinc oxide sunscreen. There are several different brands of it. The one I am using currently is by Neurtrogena, called Sheer Zinc. It goes on white, which is the color of zinc, but it vanishes as soon as you rub it in. It’s not like the lifeguards with a white nose. It’s absolutely undetectable. Plus, it’s dry; it’s not greasy; not oily. It really is the way to go.

I’m pushing 70 now, and so far, I haven’t had any skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions, despite having spent a lot of time in the sun. And I admit that I love the sun. I would get depressed living somewhere that got little sun. I wouldn’t consider it. I know myself too well.

And realize also that as far as cancer goes, the sun is mostly protective, that except for skin cancer, the incidence of other cancers go down from sun exposure. For instance, there is much less colon cancer among those who have lived in the sun, for example, throughout the Equator, there is less colon cancer. Another correlation exists with multiple sclerosis. There is increasingly more M.S. as you move north or south from the Equator, with the highest levels in the far north and far south.   

So, the beneficent rays of the sun should not be shunned. But, it is necessary to control your exposure and always avoid burning. And I am very careful about that, although I will admit that during the filming of My Stretch of Texas Ground in Texas in July 2018, I did get sunburned. But, that’s the only time in decades.