With the weather getting warmer it feels good to soak up the sun, but it’s time to think about the effects it can have on our skin.
Sunscreens have come under fire because, too often, they are laced with chemicals that do more damage than good – to you and the environment. When it comes to protecting our skin there are basic common sense principles that we need to take into consideration. There are some simple, natural solutions for those moments when sunscreen is a must.
Food: It should come as no shock that diet can play a huge role in keeping our bodies healthy, including the largest organ: the skin. And there are foods we can be eating that will help protect the skin from within. Carrots and other foods rich in vitamins A and C, tomatoes and other foods rich in lycopene, and many other foods that provide the skin with all it needs to stay safe and cancer free. First and foremost, we need to maintain a good diet.
Clothing: Sensible clothing choices just make … well, sense. While bikinis are wonderfully fun in the sun, they can be used at select times, and the rest of the time we can use protective clothing. Light, long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sarongs all make for great skin protection.
Shade: Whether it is umbrellas on the beach, finding a patio roof somewhere, or stretching out beneath a tree, it seems fairly sensible to seek the shelter of some shade. Not only does it keep us from overheating in the sizzling summer sun, but it keeps our skin from roasting in it. Most beaches, parks, and picnic areas have plenty of shady spots available, so settle in those and take the sun in healthy increments.
Sunscreen: Sunscreens can be pretty nasty for the environment, as well as our bodies. When we get all lathered up and dive into oceans, lakes, and rivers, much of it washes off and straight into the eco-system, where it then poisons plant and animal life. Sunscreens often have chemicals that are damaging to our bodies as well, so it is important to go with all-natural (vegan) products or make your own it's fairly simple. Try using a natural butter such as cocoa or shea, add titanium dioxide powder and coconut oil then whip into a light cream. Or you can purchase these products from a local health store.
After-Sun Treatments: Of course, no method is infallible or completely unforgettable, so accidents do happen from time to time. In these moments, it’s important to help our skin get back up to snuff as quickly and painlessly as possible. Natural after-sun skin products are generally filled with vitamins and minerals enable the skin to heal itself, or there are easy-to-do versions that are equally all-natural and effective.
Timing: The sun is usually at its most intense and brutal in the middle of the day, between about 10:00 and 3:00, so it's best to exercise more caution during these hours. If your spending time in the sun, you may want to do it in moderation, and provide your body with the right nutrition for healthy skin, but by all means, get outside and get some vitamin D.