The sun is very important to our bodies, mostly for the absorption of Vitamin D when exposed to UV radiation through the process of photosynthesis. Vitamin D is used by every tissue in our body and is extremely important for mood, proper calcium metabolism, neuromuscular and immune system functioning. The amount you get depends on clothing, body fat composition, sunscreen, and the skin pigment melanin.
Supplementation is a safe way to get Vitamin D, especially in the less sunny months but sun exposure is the best way to absorb vitamin D. However, it is important to take precautions as the sun’s strength can have damaging effects.
Let’s look at 5 tips to stay healthy while in the sun.
5 Sun-Safety Tips:
1. Mineral-Based Sunscreen:
Sunscreen is very important to consider when you know you’ll be out in the sun for awhile. Not all sunscreen is safe, however. The chemicals in traditional sunscreen can actually cause more harm than good, increasing your toxic exposure. An important ingredient to avoid is oxobenzene.
- Natural Sunscreen Brands: Honest company, Goddess Garden, Babo Botanicals, Beauty Counter
2. Wear Clothes:
Wearing clothes reduces your risk of burn by 27%. Make sure to cover up the most sun-exposed areas such as face, arms, shoulders, chest and back.
3. Find Shade or make it:
Shade helps minimize sun exposure and keep you cool during the hot summer months. Picnic under a tree, bring an umbrella, and always remember to pack a hat to wear!
4. Plan Around the Sun:
Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky.
5. Wear Sunglasses:
Wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection is crucial to keeping your eyes safe from the sun. Protect your eyes you only get one pair!
Foods that boost your skin’s natural sun protection:
There are foods you can eat to reduce your risk of sunburn, sun damage and skin cancer by supporting your skins ability to remain healthy and defend itself against too much sun. Foods that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene all protect against the suns damaging rays. Also, foods rich in vitamin E, antioxidants and flavonoids are protective. These all fight against free radical damage produced by chemical reactions that happen when the sun hits your skin. Foods that are rich in color, especially red, orange and yellow are the best to consume in summer months.
- Citrus fruit: contains vitamin c and limonene – rich in antioxidants
- Carrots: beta-carotene helps protect the skin against free radical damage
- Strawberries and Pomegranates: powerful combination of vitamin c and antioxidants
- Strawberries contain tannins that can help reduce the sting of the sunburn -mash them up and rub on your skin
- Watermelon is extremely hydrating to the skin and contains significant levels of vitamin A, B6 and C, plenty of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. The potassium in there makes it a great source of electrolytes, as well.
- Almonds and sunflower seeds contain vitamin E which is a powerful way to fight free radical damage
So what if I get burned?
- Aloe helps soothe and moisturize
- Essential oils such as lavender and helichrysum can be applied in small amounts to skin, just make sure to dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil.
- A homemade sunburn spray: mix lavender and peppermint essential oils, along with aloe vera juice and coconut oil to a spray bottle.
- Black tea contains tannic acids that help reduce redness and quicken the recovery process. You can apply the tea to a washcloth or put in a spray bottle and apply directly to the burn.