Okay, so this post is kinda crazy. But here goes.
My whole life, except for one summer when I was very poor in 2006 or so, I’ve easily sunburned and so avoided the outdoors like crazy unless I was covered in sunscreen. At one point, I when I was a lawn-guy, I gave up entirely on sunscreen and just wore breathable slacks, long-sleeve shirts, and fishing hats to mow (this is smart by the way, I was in the sun for like 7-10 hours a day).
As recently as February 2018, I’ve been sunburned to the point of peeling by sitting on a picnic table for the last half of lunch break at work (we’re talking 15 minutes). So when I came across Tucker Goodrich‘s idea that reducing linoleic acid in your diet by removing seed oils reduces sun-induced skin damage, I was willing to try it.
Now, in February 2018, I had already cut such oils from my diet for about 30 days when I tried the carnivore diet for a 30 N=Many experiment. But I figured I’d keep seed oils like soy, canola, safflower, etc out of my diet for the foreseeable future. I mentioned earlier the sunburn I got sitting on a picnic table for no time at all, well as that year progressed, I experimented with more sun exposure during yard work, just to see what would happen. I tried 30 minutes while mowing. 45 minutes with my wife and daughter at the pool. No burns, but this could have been due to repeated bouts of brief exposure, that led to tolerance. Now, in my past, this is not what would have happened, so I was already suspicious of greater sun tolerance.
So, starting this Winter, 2019, I continued the experiment, doing yard work without sunscreen and without a hat. The yard was huge, and I know how it feels when I start to burn, so I just continued working (about 3.5 hours of work) waiting to get that sunburn feeling. Nothing happened. As the year has gone on, I have yet to wear sunscreen, I still look quite pale with my shirt off, and I have not burned once. Just today, I went swimming in a river that runs through a desert in direct sunlight for 45 minutes. In the past, I would have been toast. Instead, I just feel fine.
Rewind: In 2006, I went on a service project and forgot to take my sunscreen. I was digging in the sand and took my shirt off to avoid chaffing. We dug a giant hole after a few hours. And all I could think of was how horrible my sunburn would be. I went the rest of the week without getting burned and no sunscreen. How did this happen? Well, back then my diet was basically beans, tuna, oatmeal, eggs, peanut butter, and butter. Coincidence? Probably.
- Here’s a podcast in which Tucker Goodrich discusses HNE’s and their role in inflammatory diseases including skin disorders. OVer N-6 oil consumption also makes people hungrier for salty and sweet foods in a fashion comparable to marijuana.
- Here’s Susan Allport‘s experience intentionally increases Omega-6 fatty acids. Here’s a scary quote: “The change in resting metabolic rate wasn’t all. At the same time my RMR was falling, my arteries were becoming stiffer, or less able to expand and contract, as revealed by the follow-up ultrasound. In just 30 days, the amount of dilation my brachial artery was capable of had dropped by 22%, a change much larger than the day-to-day variation of this test. The direction of this change was also predicted by what is known about omega-6s, but the amplitude surprised everyone involved in this project. “
- Over consumption of Omega 6 fatty acids at the expense of Omega 3s can exacerbate inflammatory disorders. I would think that this includes skin damage from the sun.