Spring has sprung, and summer is around the corner! As we all look forward to spending time in the sun, it’s important to prioritize skin health and prevent sun damage.
Before discussing skin safe sun protection and preventing sun damage, let us consider the fact that SUN is LIFE. Without The Sun, there will be no life on Planet Earth. It provides the warmth and light necessary for plants to grow and produce oxygen, essential for the survival of animals and humans. Think about this for a moment.
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Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin
One way for the body to receive Vitamin D is through sunlight. When sun rays hit the skin, processes inside the skin cells start making vitamin D. Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing limits the body’s ability to make Vitamin D, as they block or absorb the UVB rays crucial in Vitamin D synthesis.
Some studies have shown that darker skin types, which can produce more melanin as a protector from sun-burn, are less able to make Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been increasing as people spend way more time indoors compared to our ancestors. In addition, the fear of constantly protecting our skin from sun-burn, pigmentation, and skin cancer has made us double on sunscreen use and protective clothing. Considering a balancing approach to sun protection is recommended, as both are important, protecting our skin and Vitamin D absorption.
What is Sun Damage:
Sun damage refers to the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin. Overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause various skin problems, such as sun-burns, premature skin aging, skin discoloration, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sun damage can occur from direct exposure to the sun and indirect exposure through reflections from snow, water, sand, and other surfaces.
I will note here vital information: My years-long research has shown that the Sun does not cause cancer. However, frequent sun-burns create inflammation and long-term damage to the skin. This, along with inflammation in the body from foods, alcohol, excessive caffeine, and processed sugar, will increase the chance of skin cancer.
Fun facts, The Invention Of Sunscreen:
It wasn’t known that UV rays were responsible for sun-burns until 1801 when German chemist Johann Wilhelm Ritter discovered ultraviolet light. The first scientific sunscreen experiments were conducted by Austrian scientist Otto Veiel, who learned that tannin applied to the skin could absorb harmful rays. The first commercial sunscreen was introduced in 1935 by Eugene Schueller (who founded the L’Oreal cosmetics company).
Considering that the first sunscreen didn’t exist until 1935, we question how our ancestors protected their skin from the sun. Of course, they also spent much more time outdoors than we do in modern times. With spending more time outdoors, they slowly built up their skin to sun exposure. This is very important as nowadays, we often go straight from a cold winter to the beach in the tropics. This creates a shock to the whole body and skin, which might lead to inflammation and, as a result, a sunburn. Be mindful and build sun exposure slowly to prevent sunburns.
Few Old Ways of Protecting the skin from sun damage:
Various parts of the world used different plants and coverings. Ancient Greeks wore long, loose-fitting clothing and wide-brimmed hats for sun protection. They also rubbed their skin with olive oil. The Ancient Egyptians favorite sunscreen was a mixture of rice bran, jasmine, and lupine. Ancient Indians were the first people in documented history to use zinc as a sunblock, as far back as 500 B.C.E.
Boost your natural sun protection:
Apply oils rich in antioxidants and vitamins under your sunscreen. Certain oils nourish the skin and create resilience towards sun-burns and photo-damage. Our Sunrise Day Protective Serum contains Raspberry, Sea Buckthorn berry, and CoQ10, plus a few other vitamin and antioxidant-rich ingredients that create long-term resilience from sun damage. There are many scientific studies on these ingredients and sun protection. Here is one on Sea Buckthorn Oil. While these ingredients increase skin’s strength towards the sun, they will not block or absorb the sun rays, which is what actual sunscreen will do. Applying sunscreen over the serum is still recommended, especially at peak hours, 10 am-5 pm, and if your skin is fair or easily burns.
Certain marine algae have compounds that protect from sun rays when applied topically.
Consume an alkaline-based diet with plenty of fresh vitamin and antioxidant-rich foods. This will boost the body’s ability to fight inflammation and redness caused by heat and UV rays. On top of this list should be watery fruits such as melons, berries and citrus fruits, plus greens and vegetables.
In addition, seek shade during peak hours, wear protective clothing, and stay hydrated. By prioritizing skin health and choosing a healthy and safe sunscreen, you can enjoy the sun without compromising your well-being.
When Choosing a Safe Sunscreen:
With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting sunscreen:
- Look for broad-spectrum protection: This means that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause premature aging, while UVB rays are the primary cause of sun-burn.
- Check the SPF: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) measures how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- Choose mineral-based sunscreens: These contain active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that physically block the sun’s rays. They are generally considered safer for the environment and less likely to cause skin irritation.
- Avoid harmful ingredients: Look out for sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, and other harmful chemicals. These have been found to damage coral reefs and may disrupt hormones in the body.
Check out HERHEALTHYSTYLE List of Clean Natural Sunscreen. Her list contains an excellent selection of body and face sunscreen, plus additional healthy choices for safe sun protection.