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A short series about us and the sun – Part one, our place under the sun.

May 15, 2012

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the IAB Women in Science International Symposium on The Science of Health, Beauty and Ageing at Unisel, the University of Selangor.   With such a large and interesting topic to explore it took me a week or so to work out what I wanted to share but before long I have decided that it had to be something about the sun.  I find the the philosophical, psychological and biological impact of the sun deeply fascinating and can’t wait to share my presentation with you.  Terima Kasih x

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Now is the time to unite the soul and the world. Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows. Rumi.

The science behind sun protection is meaningless without an understanding and appreciation of our place and purpose under the sun.  We are living in challenging times; on the one hand the business world is looking for simplistic, global solutions to sunscreen development and testing whereas we, as individuals are finding ourselves yearning for a more intimate and natural reality.  Our desire for understanding, for a relationship with our natural environment and our biological needs could be met perfectly once it is understood that the secret to attaining union between the mind and the body is to realize that no divide exists.

That mind-body union is what we will explore in our place under the sun and the best place to start that journey is from within our own skin.  Our bodies recognize and respond to the sun and as such come equip both to harness and utilize this powerful energy and life-giving source and to protect its self from the perils of a life of excess.   Much has been written about sunscreens with relation to our vitamin D status, melanoma incidence, immunosuppression and general wellbeing and we explore all of these in detail, looking at the current scientific thinking before cross-referencing it against our Halal framework.  Finally we look at the application of sunscreens through the eyes of a testing facility, focusing on the detail of what can and can’t be controlled in the laboratory and how that translates to the product wearing public.

In my previous review of the scientific challenges facing the Halal market I looked at the specifics of ingredient design, manufacture and application questioning their suitability for a product that may enter the bloodstream of the wearer. This work and rationale still holds true for sunscreen development but in addition to that we have to consider the relevant long-term systemic health affects of sunscreens as therapeutic products.  Upon doing that we finish by producing a working definition outlining how a Halal sunscreen should look, feel and perform as we seek to safely and respectfully reclaim our place under the sun.

Tomorrow – Skin, the perfect sunscreen. 

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