For far too long, we’ve been told to fear the sun. But (lighting and heating the earth aside) we need the sun to be healthy! Exposure to sunlight produces vitamin D in our skin, helps regulate sleep / wake patterns, improves mood, and even serves as a natural pain killer.
Excessive exposure to direct sunlight increases the risks of skin cancers – some of which are very deadly. So, we’ve been told to slather on the sunscreen. But have you read the ingredients on the label? Between the perfumes, preservatives, organic solvents, and *known carcinogens* (like titanium dioxide and octyl methyoxycinnamate), you have to wonder which is worse for you – the sun or the sunscreen!
Instead, follow some common-sense guidelines in the sun. Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants. Sport a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, face, and ears. Opt for the shade or use an umbrella. And avoid direct sun during peak UV hours of 10 am to 3 pm.
What you eat year-round can also help protect your skin from sun damage, too.
Make sure your regular diet is full of fresh fruits and vegetables that are bright in color, especially reds and greens. Foods like carrots, strawberries, watermelon, and tomatoes are packed with antioxidants and other natural molecules that gobble up free radicals that can damage the DNA in your skin cells.
Green tea boasts an especially powerful anticancer molecule called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Multiple scientific studies have shown that the EGCG in green tea reduces your risk of multiple cancers – including skin cancer.
A supplement made from an algae called Astaxanthin can be taken daily to prevent and reverse sun damage. In research studies, oral Astaxathin supplements help fade sun spots, reduce the look of wrinkles and crow’s feet, and lower incidence of skin cancer. In fact, it has been shown to be so effective at blocking UV rays that it is currently being studied as a naturally sourced sunscreen!
If you want to put on lotion before going out in the sun, try making a homemade whipped coconut oil lotion. Coconut oil only blocks about 20% of the sun’s harmful rays, but it’s packed with powerful antioxidants that combat long-term sun damage.
If you happen to get too much sun, try a luke-warm bath with organic oatmeal. Grind a cup of dry oatmeal in your blender and sprinkle in the bath. Gently pour the mixture over your burned skin for several minutes, rinse with cool water, and pat dry.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It deserves your care and attention. Enjoy the sun! But be skin smart year round to keep your skin bright and healthy for the rest of your life.
Worried about sun spots and wrinkles on your face? Consult with one of our facial specialists today!