With the height of the sun season upon us, health officials are telling everybody to pull out their sunscreen and slather it on. Unfortunately, this is a prescription for minimizing vitamin D levels and all its widely appreciated benefits. Also, new guidelines on claims and ingredients in sun lotions allowed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) came out last month. So, before you head out to the beach, read on to learn more about how to protect yourself against UV rays!
Tip #1: Your Initial Exposure: Safe sun exposure is essential for optimal health, but incorrect exposure can raise your risk of skin cancer while not providing any health benefits. Sunburn should be avoided at all cost. The first few days, you should limit your exposure to the sun to allow your body’s melanocyte cells to rev up the ability to produce protective pigmentation that not only gives you a tan, but also serves to help protect you against overexposure to the sun.
If you are a fairly light skinned individual that tends to burn, you will want to limit your initial exposure to a few minutes, especially if it is in the middle of summer. The more tanned your skin will get, and/or the more tanned you want to become, the longer you can stay in the sun. If it is early or late in the season and/or you are a dark skinned individual, you could likely safely have 30 minutes on your initial exposure. If you are deeply pigmented and your immediate ancestors are from Africa, India or the Middle East, it is possible you may not even have to worry about the timing of your exposure. Always err on the side of caution however, and let it be your primary goal in safe sun exposure to never get sun burned. In case you do develop a sun burn, immediately apply raw aloe vera. It’s one of the best natural remedies to help accelerate skin healing. Another one of my favorite natural remedies is the Lavender essential oil from doTERRA. Because of its therapeutic grade properties, it calms the burn quickly and promotes skin repair and healing.
Tip #2 – After Sun Exposure, Be Careful about Showering! Vitamin D3 is an oil soluble steroid hormone that forms when your skin is exposed to UVB radiation from the sun. When UVB strikes the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative into vitamin D3. It takes up to 48 hours for this vitamin D3 to be absorbed into your bloodstream to elevate your vitamin D levels. Therefore, avoid washing your legs & arms with soap after sun exposure (just focus on armpits & groin).
Tip #3 – Read the Label on Your Sunscreen – Contrary to popular belief, many sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain hazardous ingredients and harmful chemicals that have been banned for decades in the European Union, but are still tolerated in the USA. Check the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2017 Sunscreen Guide to see if your sunscreen is one of the 75% with potentially harmful ingredients in it. To make it onto EWG’s safe list, sunscreens must:
- Be free of parabens (methyl, prophyl, butyl, isobutyl, ethyl)
- Be free of oxybenzone
- Be free of DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)
- Be free of mineral oils: petroleum, jelly, paraffin wax, petrolatum
- Be free of propylene / butylene glycol (a petroleum derivative)
- Be free of BHT, BHA, 1.4-dioxane, talc,
- Be free of benzalkonium / benzethonium chloride
- Provide a maximum of SPF 50, and
- Protect against both UVA and UVB sunrays
I personally use BEAUTYCOUNTER skin care line for myself, my family and my clients, not only because it meets or exceeds all the safety standards referenced above, but also because the products perform very well and deliver on their promises. Contact me below if you are interested in getting some free samples.