There are two underlying reasons for people being sensitive to the sun.
1) Insufficient antioxidants.
One of the best antioxidants for preventing sunburn is astaxanthin. This potent, fat soluble (cell membrane protecting) molecules is what gives flamingos and salmon their pink hue. Dosing this supplement on the level of ~10 mg per day can prevent over-oxidation from the sun’s radiation. Making an effort to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, being sure to use a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables can also protect you.
2) Tissue calcium deficiency.
Vitamin D is made in your body in response to solar radiation. One of the things that vitamin D does is increase blood calcium levels, and it does this by pulling calcium out of the tissues (bone, muscle, etc.) and increasing intestinal absorption of calcium. The way to balance this is by increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, flax, soy, walnuts, hemp, dark leafy greens, grass fed beef, eggs, and wild game. A good supplement regimen for someone who burns easily is 1 gram of Calcium and 1 gram of Fish Oil before going out into the sun, and every hour while in the sun.
Note: Vitamin D is an essential hormone in the body that plays a role in energy production, bone density, healthy mood, and can protect against Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Cancers. Being out in the sun without sunscreen on is the best way to get enough Vitamin D. You can use this Vitamin D calculator to see how much time in the sun you need to make adequate vitamin D. Try to spend this amount of time in the sun each day and if you plan on spending more time in the sun, put sunscreen on.
Enjoy your fun in the sun this summer!
Dr. Evan van Driel