How I avoided a sunburn

After my Skin Patch test showed a reaction to fragrances I decided to try either going without sunscreen or making my own. Well summer came about 2 months early this year and I didn’t have time to prepare so I just went without. The past 3 days were in the 20s (70-80F) with bright sunshine. Although the season is still early, I do normally burn in under 1 hour. In the mid summer sun it would be closer to 30 minutes. I usually would slather on 15 or 30 SPF sunscreen and reapply every 4 hours. I was very good at not burning.

The first sunny day, after puttering around the backyard for a while, I went out for a bike ride that I thought would probably be around an hour, so I didn’t bother covering up. Before heading out I took some cod liver oil. I wore a helmet but my face was exposed and I wore a sleeveless shirt. We were out for 2 hours around noon time in direct sunlight for most of it. I got home and later that night looked a tiny bit pink so I slathered on some coconut oil. I ate a lot of butter and fatty meat for dinner. I ate more butter and some coconut oil before bed. By the time I woke up I had the faintest hint of a tan.

Day two in the sun was a bit more of a challenge. I had been out a little bit in the morning puttering around the garden again. I took some cod liver oil again before leaving the house. I had a lot of butter with my eggs and bacon for breakfast. We went to the beach for 4 hours starting at 2pm. I wore a hat for about 1 hour but got tired of it and didn’t wear it after that. I was just wearing a pair of shorts and tank, with my shoulders completely uncovered for the 4 hours. I came home and ate more butter and some coconut oil. Again I slathered on the coconut oil covering my shoulders and face. The next morning I woke up and had a nice tan.

Day three in the sun was just around my house and a bit more controlled. It was cooler out so I had long sleeves on, with just my face and legs exposed. I only sat out for about 1 hour. I didn’t bother with cod liver oil but ate plenty of butter. I didn’t even get a tan.

This has never happened to me. I always burn if I don’t use sunscreen. And if I use sunscreen but miss a spot, that spot would be red. I don’t tan easily, it takes days and weeks of sitting out for just the right amount of time to not burn but get a bit of colour. I normally work very hard to build up a tan slowly as the summer goes on. Three days in the sun and I’m just as tanned as I would be by mid July. No burn, no pain, no peeling, nothing.

I credit a few things to my new sun tolerance. One, being off the birth control pill. The pill is notorious for causing photo-sensitivity. Two, eating lots of saturated fats. I was eating butter off a spoon and bacon each morning. Three, keeping Omega 6 and 3 fats in balance. I have cut down on nuts lately and eat wild salmon more frequently. I don’t need to bother with regular fish oil anymore. And four, applying coconut oil on my skin right after. I waited until the morning to shower to give my skin time to heal.

I heard from other people on SCD and GAPS that this can happen, becoming more tolerant of the sun and burning less. I really didn’t think it would happen to me, but very glad it did. No more fussing with sunscreen.


I have been following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet since January 2008 to recover from Celiac disease. As part of the diet, I don't eat grains, sugar or potatoes and prepare all my meals from scratch.


  1. That's really interesting to read about! I've always avoided sunscreen with mine, but given them CLO and lots of fats. We didn't start anything real strict until this past fall, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. I'm also curious about mosquitoes, my daughter hasn't had sugar since 11/09 so I wonder if she'll get bit? Everyone else has cheated a bit.

  2. Does sugar affect getting bit by mosquitos? I haven't heard of any way to deal with that, I'd be curious to hear about it.

    I think this summer spending an entire day outside I would have to cover up my shoulders but I'm hopeful that I won't need sunscreen anymore.

  3. Denise, I burned easily my first 2 years on SCD. The biggest changes lately have been the fats I eat. I'm no longer eating nuts every day. In fact I'm probably eating nuts maybe once or twice a week at most. Too much Omega 6 from nuts might make one more prone to sunburn. And my saturated fat intake has gone way up. More butter, coconut oil and fatty beef/pork.

    I am very fair skinned, so I may never be able to be out all day without covering up. Nice to know that I'm not quite as sensitive though.

  4. We don't use sunscreen anymore either. My kids are outside everyday so as it gets warmer they get tanner and usually don't burn. I have had the same experience with coconut oil after too much sun. I will be bright pink but after using coconut oil I am just tan the next morning. Some of those cases would have been a burn with peeling skin too! I've even convinced my husband to try it. He burns very easily and doesn't eat carefully but the coconut oil still helps a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *