The Natural Skin Protection Guide
School is out, work still continues for most, and life routines maybe being shifted. The natural rhythm of summer is to slow down cerebrally and gear up physically, with some fun in the sun. This will be your short guide for sun protection suggestions, from a holistic perspective.
We are probably all aware that sun can burn the skin, and thus can be a contributing cause for carcinogenic (cancer) causing processes to occur in our body. Cancer is complex and is usually multi-factorial, not just from one cause. Sun burns can cause free radical damage, but if one has a high level of antioxidants to combat it, the damage done may not be so detrimental. One can even get tested to measure the level of skin caroteniods, one type of antioxidant, with a simple one minute scan of your palm.
The skin cancers that are mostly correlated to be partly caused by sun damage include basal cell carcinoma, the mildest form of cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma, both of which are treatable. The use of sunscreen is known to prevent the direct damage to the top layer of the skin. Interestingly, if the sunscreen penetrates into the skin, it can cause damage as well, on a deeper level, leading to malignant melanoma , the most deadly cancer, and one in which every hour someone dies from
Depending on your skin type and length of time of sun exposure a natural sunscreen may be smart. These will use minerals, such as zinc or titanium oxide, to block out the rays. Take a look at The Daily Green to find natural sunscreens that work and are affordable. These protect against aging via the UVA rays, and burn with the UVB rays. (A for aging, B for burn) When reading labels SPF (Sun Protective Factor) indicates only the time of protection against UVB rays, and contrary to belief of some a SPF 30 v.s. 50 does not offer more protection, just longer. The model is based on burn time of being 10 minutes and multiplying that by the SPF, which will prolong the time it takes one to burn. For example SPF 15 will give someone 150 minutes in the sun until burning is a possibility.
Caution on sunscreen ingredients, many commercial varieties contain carcinogenic or toxic ingredients. Here is a short list of what to avoid, refer to The Environmental Working Group for detailed lists.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
There are debates weather one should rely on the sun for Vitamin D, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) they don't recommend going into the sun without protection with a sun block or sun screen, and have a position statement stating the Vitamin D should be obtained from dietary sources; salmon, tuna, and mackerel being the best with egg yolks containing a small amount According to both AAD and National Institutes of Health, the dietary form and the kind made from the sun in your skin both have to be activated by the liver, therefore dietary sources of Vitamin D should not be viewed as inferior, but for those who live in places that lack the sun, I think we like to view this type as superior!
Remember your skin is the largest organ, skin conditions even can be a sign of what is going on inside. Our internal and external selves are interconnected, like the saying “as above, so below”. Being smart in the summer means that you use non-toxic/natural sunscreen when needed, wear protective gear (sunglasses & hat), as well as take breaks in the shade, and of course hydrate. Take care and love the skin your in!