4 Ways Staying Safe in the Sun Comes Naturally
by Tracey Pollack
During the summer, it’s only natural to want to enjoy everything under the sun. While a little sunshine is good for your body, too much can be bad for your skin. See, spending lots of time in the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer and premature aging, but a few minutes of sunshine each day offers a dose of vitamin D, which helps to keep your bones strong and may protect you from many health conditions like depression, heart disease and diabetes. So is it better to soak up the rays or stay in the shade all summer? It’s best to be smart about the sun. While sun protection is a must, you don’t have to smother your skin with those chemical-packed sunblocks you’ll find at your local drugstore. You can take a natural approach to sun safety. With these four skin-saving tips, sun protection is only natural.
- Dress Up Your Sun Protection
If you usually spend the summer in short-sleeves and shorter shorts, there’s a good chance that you’re doing long-term damage to your skin. But you can shield yourself from the dangers of the sun by wearing protective clothing. Stay calm, cool and covered by choosing long-sleeved shirts made from lightweight cotton, along with longer shorts and tight-weave pants made from breathable fabrics. And longer, looser skirts and flowy maxi dresses are the perfect fit for summer’s sunny days. Since your nose, forehead, neck and shoulders are often the first to burn, always wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades you from the sun. And don’t overlook your eyes! Pick a pair of sunglasses that filters both UVA and UVB rays to set your sights on a safer summer.
- Eat Away at Sun Damage
Chew on this… some foods can actually protect your skin from within. Many fruits and vegetables contain natural plant pigments known as carotenoids, which can help protect your skin and eyes from dangerous UV rays. You can spot this protective produce by its bright, vibrant colors. Reach for red tomatoes and watermelon, go green with asparagus and spinach, say yes to yellow with yellow peppers and egg yolks, or opt for orange by choosing sweet potatoes and carrots. These foods are full of antioxidants and nutrients that can help your skin sustain the sun. By piling up your plate with a rainbow of healthy foods, you can help prevent sun damage from the inside out.
- Make UV Protection Essential
Did you know that essential fatty acids like omega-3s can naturally protect your skin from UV rays, which can reduce your risk of skin cancer? It’s true! Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids play a central role in preventing and reducing the damaging effects of sun exposure. Since your body can’t produce these essential fatty acids on its own, you need to include them in your diet. You’ll find omega-3s swimming in cold water fish such as wild salmon, sardines and mackerel, as well as in vegetarian sources like walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds. Sun protection has never been more essential.
- Screen Out the Chemicals in Your Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an outstanding defense against the damaging rays of the sun, but not all sunscreens are created equal. Look at the ingredient labels of most conventional sunscreens and you’ll see a long list of chemicals and preservatives that can be irritating and toxic to both you and the environment. But you don’t have to throw in the towel on sun protection altogether! There are plenty of natural sunscreens that are chemical-free, non-toxic, eco-friendly, and work as well as—or possibly better than—most conventional sunblocks. You’ll find a wide variety of packaged natural sunblocks in the store, or you can make your own at home with natural oils that have SPF properties and natural mineral zinc oxide. For chemical-free, toxin-free and worry-free sun protection, feel free to choose a natural sunscreen.
With the sun shining brighter and longer in the summer, smart sun protection is the natural choice.