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How to avoid sunburn...

Natural Sunburn Prevention
Most of us have been taught that too much sun exposure is dangerous. Light-skinned people tend to get sunburn if they stay in the sun too long, even within a couple hours. Advertising and the media reminds us to use sunscreen to reduce damage to the skin. Well... it didn't make sense to me, and finally I have made some sense of it. I no longer get the sunburn I used to, I don't use any skin creams or other products, and still spend a lot of time in the sun (exposing my skin to the sun), at least during the warm and sunny months.

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Posted 5/24/2008

When I was younger and stayed in the sun too long (without sunscreen, or even, sometimes, with sunscreen) I would get sunburn, on occasion severe! My skin would get quite red and painful. After a couple days or so, the redness would begin fading to a tan, the pain would subside, and my skin would peel off in sheets. I accepted that as normal at the time, as I was taught that was what every light-skinned person experienced under those conditions. In hindsight, it really doesn't make sense to me that sunburn would be natural for a human animal that is meant to be outside... and in the tropics, at that! Many years ago, perhaps in the year 2000 or 2001, I heard avoiding sunburn was actually a side-effect (one of many) of proper eating.

When I first transitioned to raw foods, I recall hearing someone mention, kind of matter-of-factly, that raw foodists don't get sunburn. I didn't think too much about it. But then, during a summer outing on a lake in Oregon, when I did not use sunscreen and I was in the sun all day, including in and on the water, I ended up not getting a sunburn! I may have gotten a little reddish or deep pink, but there was no real burn. That was nothing like would have happened years earlier. Ever since I have been on 100% raw vegan foods, I have not gotten burned like I did when I was younger and on a standard American diet (SAD). I have even been to Los Angeles a couple times a year and have been in the sun all day with no sunscreen and had shorts and a short-sleeve shirt on. I did have a cap on to keep my nose protected. The worst effect from the sun that I have experienced since being raw was at an all-day outdoor event in L. A. At the end of the day, there was a little discomfort on the back of my neck. A couple days later there was a little flaking of skin and that was it! I've been amazed at the effect of the raw food diet on my skin and it's ability to process the sun! I have recognized how much more efficiently my body seems to work while on a raw food diet, so I am not that surprised that the skin does not burn like it used to, but I am still fascinated by it!

I suspect that a cooked food diet, especially with animal products and artificial ingredients, etc., prevents our tissues from efficiently processing the sun's rays, so we end up with a sunburn! When our tissues are efficient we don't get the sunburn. There have been times when I have gone out into the sun as a raw foodist and it felt like my skin was drinking in the sun. It feels great! It feels like the sun is truly nourishing my body. I don't recall that happening before being raw, other than the sun simply feeling good on my skin. I have no doubt that the sun really is nourishing my body. It has also occured to me that the raw food diet is simply better able to remove toxins from the body and the diet itself is not adding to the toxicity. Perhaps it is the toxicity in the tissues that is contributing to the "burn".

Like most people who know something about nutrition, I am aware that our tissues, when exposed to the sun, will produce vitamin D, a necessary nutrient. I suspect there is a lot more going on to benefit our health when we are exposed to the sun than we realize, at least on a raw food diet. What if the cooked foods, animal products, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, etc., actually prevent our tissues from taking full advantage of the sun, and actually prevent us from getting nutrients we are meant to get... at least from our natural source??? Being on a raw food diet is like a science experiment. I keep learning things about the human body over the years. So much of what I learned as "truth", regarding diet and health, has had to be re-learned or is in that process.

Recently, I was in Los Angeles for Worldfest 2008. I hadn't gotten much sun since last year. I spent most of the day outside in full sunlight. My arms, neck, and legs were getting sun all day. I never had a problem. No sunburn, no red. There may have been some deeper "pink", but nothing more. At the end of the day, I did look a little more tan. I shared that with my friends that I was staying with. They knew I was in the sun all day. They were at the same event. They seemed a little baffled by it. They suggested I'd probably have the eating raw pretty soon (they have been vegan for many years)!

Now, after all those years of learning, it finally makes more sense! We aren't supposed to get sunburn. Sunburn is not natural for us! It seems to happen only when we are not following our natural diet (or at least much closer to our natural diet.) Our ancestors supposedly came from the tropics. They would have had much more sun exposure than those of us living in northern climates. Their skin may have been a little different, but at least now I feel like things make more sense. And since our skin absorbs the lotions we put on it, I'm happy to not be putting that stuff on my skin. Basically, if I wouldn't eat it, why would I put it on my skin and ingest it in a different way?

Please note: Use discretion when spending time in the sun. If you experience pain, discomfort, blistering, or red coloring of the skin, etc., consider retreating to shade. While the sun is wonderful and is responsible for sustaining life on the planet, it certainly deserves our respect. While I have been in the sun for entire days, on those occasions I have been in warmer climates, I normally had a t-shirt and cap on for at least part of the day.

Having read this, you certainly don't have to switch to a raw vegan diet (if you're on some other diet), but I feel passionate about helping people make more informed choices in their lives. I believe everyone has a right to this information. I believe everyone should know this information. Then they may continue what they are presently doing or choose to make changes. I feel it is not fair to keep the information from people when I recognize it could be life changing.

One more thing, as the human anatomy seems to be designed for consuming a plant-based diet, we would not naturally get vitamin D from our foods, except of course when we are infants, consuming mother's milk (human breast milk). Many people may be relying on bovine breast milk (cow mother's milk) for vitamin D, but that is not a natural human food, it is a natural food for infant cows. Regarding calcium, it seems to not even be a good source of that (see this calcium table: Calcium Sources)!

For more information on raw foods, see some of the links below.

Raw Food-Related
pages on this site:

Raw Food Articles
Raw Food Books
Raw Food Events
Raw Food Information
Raw Food Links
Raw Restaurants
Natural Weight Loss Diet
Jesus (Yashua) and Raw Foods
Raw Thanksgiving

"I used to be very white; when I would come to the beach people would point to me and say Look, she is white as snow. I burnt instantly, even from the morning sun. After staying on a raw food diet for several years, I can spend hours in open sun, even in regions close to the tropics, and I almost never burn. I burned slightly only once when I spent all day on the beach in Costa Rica."

Victoria Boutenko
Raw Family

"I have found that switching to a 100% raw food plant based diet that sunburns have become a thing of the past. I notice that when I am out in the sun for an extended period of time I tend to get a nice brown/orange color. My body seems to pick up the color faster, and maintains it longer as well. I was recently on the beach with a friend who had been on and off the raw food diet recently, and although we were out in the sun the same amount of time she was severely burned while I just enjoyed some new color, without any peeling or flaking. I found this phenomenon operates at its peak performance when I am juicing. Color would come to my skin effortlessly without barely sun bathing at all.

Now in the same breathe I will also say that I use common sense. If I notice it has been hours and my skin feels a little warm I will sit in the shade for a bit, but only for a short time, then out I go. I am so thankful for this yet another blessing and gift from the raw food lifestyle."

Philip @

"I read your article and agree that the effects of the sun seem to be way less on a raw food diet.
It has been my experience that I can stay out in the sun for extended periods of time and not burn. I do brown very well, but never burn.

I think it is also important to tell people it is not a panacea. Caution should be used by wearing hats and natural sunscreens if one is going to be out for extended periods of time. I advise using common sense when exposing oneself to the sun."

Elaina Love
Pure Joy Planet

"During my 6 years as a raw foodist, I've definitely noticed that my skin has become more tolerant of being out in the sun without burning. HOWEVER, that is not to say I haven't burnt at all in the last 6 years - I can definitely remember one occasion in the scorching Australian heat, out at sea, where my shoulders burnt. Compared to how my skin used to be though, my tolerance has definitely improved ;) I used to burn quite often when I was growing up.

I hear that eating plenty of berries is a GREAT way to prevent sunburn (all those antioxidants ;) There is a raw long distance runner in Australia called Grant who tells great stories of being out on huge long runs in the Aussie desert with no sun lotion on and while all the other competitors burn, he is absolutely fine ;) You can probably connect with him on the forum of if you like - I think his user-name is Raw Aussie Athlete, he's very nice.

The first few years of being raw, I would use a 'non-toxic' suntan lotion like the hemp seed oil based range from Yaoh in the UK. These days I don't use anything...I hear coconut oil can be helpful, applied to the skin...

Angela Stokes

"I am a So California girl so I have always loved the sun. I also have light olive skin. While being in Washington I noticed that I could stay out longer than in So Cal. While being raw I can stay out even longer with out getting burned or irritated.

I do not abuse this ability. I am considerate of my body and I choose to sunbathe during early and late afternoon. I do not use sun screen nor do I stay out over an hour. My skin looks fine and I do not have the deep wrinkles others seem to get on their faces because of sun abuse. When the sun is out I sunbathe as much as I can. I do not wear sunglasses and I like the sun on my face while I sunbathe.

The sun offers nutrients that the body needs and I love the feeling of warmth on my skin. Sun bathing is a time for healing, reflection, gratitude and for "adsorbing the energy of the cosmos".

One of the problems I originally had while living here was hay fever. I never had hay fever while living in California or Nevada. I could not stay outdoors on the most beautiful of days because I would pay for it that evening and the next day with awful symptoms of hay fever, itchy eyes, sneezing and especially an irritated throat that I would scratch raw with my tongue. Once sensitized I would then begin to react more easily to other allergens.

Going raw has decreased the symptoms tremendously and I can enjoy being out on beautiful days like yesterday. I am not totally symptom free yet, but each year it has lessened, unlike the first 5 years I lived up here were the symptoms worsened each year until I sounded like I had a perpetual head cold and my sinus hurt so bad I wanted to have my teeth pulled. I hike and go outdoors now with minimal symptoms if any.

I love being able to enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine."

Renton, WA

"having grown up in southern california at the beaches, suntan lotion was always the rage as we were always looking to achieve the best tan while mitigate the burn. being fair skinned, it seemed that i had to spend countless hours collecting sunlight in safe intervals to get enough color accumulation without burning to a crisp. after being aware that chemicals, no matter how well intended, were not suitable for me or my family, we stopped using everything including sunblock/suntan lotion as i was aware that people worshipped the sun long before chemicals were invented to play in it :)

having gone RAW VEGAN with my husband and two young sons, i have been AMAZED at how we can spend countless hours in the sun and tan nicely...a deep rich tan that i never experienced using all the latest sun tanning solution products. my hawaiian tan from christmas holiday was barely but still noticeable 5 months later! this was unheard of on my sad diet days.

my sons also tan richly with no burn nor discomfort on their baby fair skin and my already dark skinned husband gets a deep rich tan that stays nicely.

now i have noticed that even while being RAW that going into the sun for the first few times should be in shorter intervals as if sunning too long the first time out (like all day in the swim suit!), we can tend to get reddish and there is some heat as if being burnt yet we do not revisit the old “o’ my goodness i’m on fire!” scenario. introduction back into the sun should be in shorter intervals to allow the skin to change pigment in a more easy and effortless manner producing a burn-less tan that is rich in color and stays nicely for quite some time.

sun in necessary for healthy living (vitamin D + lack of depression for most people as the sun seems to “light up our lives”) and i can say that i feel most alive when living in sunny environment. my food believes the same (it too is a sun worshipper)! so here’s to a healthy RAW VEGAN lifestyle and super radiant beings...from the inside and out!"

namaste ~ deedee

I have heard others talk about not getting sunburned eating raw. We eat
about 70-95% raw on any given week. So, if the benefits are limited to just
100% raw folks, our testimonies won't help.

I can tell you that our family browns up quickly. This last couple of weeks
we have had the pools set up in the back yard and we have all spent hours
outside in the sun. I can promise that as a kid, I would have had some
serious sunburns. We do still burn and peal but it is really rare and seems
much more difficult to accomplish that it once did.

As an example, I had shorts and sandals on one day last week for the whole
day. I rarely wear shorts so I don't have much color on my leg skin. I
remember years ago getting a burn on the top side of my calf but nothing
last week. I noticed the top side of my foot between the sandal straps
turned red but it didn't even hurt in the shower the next couple of days and
did not peal.

Anyway, I would agree there are some advantages there. I suppose I would
hypothosize that it is likely more do to the vegan lifestyle that raw. What
do we fry food in a pan with? Grease right. What do we fill our systems
with if we eat animal products freely? I have to image that some of that
gets into our skin and literally we may be baking our skin from the inside
out when the sun is applied in strong doses.

Jerrod Sessler
HomeTask Support Center

"Every life form in the Universe is made of of 7 elements.

The 5 basic ones are:


When any one of these elements is unbalanced, the ensuing disharmony leads to illness and theerfore obstruction of the life force and if left unresolved, eventually decay (what we call death).

Those who eat a mainly toxic acid based diet will find that the heat element begins to overpower the other 4 basic elements and when left unaddressed any amount of heat exposure (example the sun) will only exacerbate the situstion leading to sunburn and eventually skin cancer .

It is for this reason that those who undertake a balanced raw, live foods diet will often find that they are no longer subject to episodes of sunburn that were previously experienced before embarking on this lifestyle."

Committed to Raising Consciousness
Raw Lifestyle Film Festival Organizer
Author, Celebrating Our Raw Nature 1 & 2
Serenity Spaces

If you were my sister/brother, I'd encourage you to move towards a raw plant based diet!


Vegetarian Protein Sources / Vegetarian Calcium Sources / Vegetarian Iron Sources
Vegetarian Fiber Sources / Vegetarian Fat Sources / Health Facts / Vegan Recipes / Vegetarian Organizations
Celebrity Vegetarian Interviews / SoyStache Project / SoyStache Home / A Letter From the Cows / Raw Food Links
Famous Vegetarians: Famous Vegetarians and Vegans / Natural Weight Loss Diet
Nutrition Tables / Vegetarian Events / Extensive Vegetarian & Vegan Links / Jesus - vegetarian / "Not-So-Famous" Vegetarians
Raw Food info / Vegan Books / Raw Food Books / Vegan Poems / Animal Rights Events / Raw Food Events /
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