Sun as an Ally for Skincare, Health and Beauty
The sun builds collagen, aids the skin in attaining phytonutrients. It is the provider of life on earth.
Why have we suddenly turned a scrutinizing eye towards the sun?
The answer is somewhat simple. Prior to 1938 people were outside working in the sun, loving the sun; and conducting rituals around the sun and lunar phases. They were using olive oil, zinc oxide and other plants that produce their own natural sunscreen.
The first commercial Sunscreen was made for soldiers in the pacific tropics in World War II. These men were exposed to the sun all day long in tropical temperatures. These poor men got to experience the trauma of war but also the obvious harm of sun overexposure.
Today, we don’t leave our office for 8 hours a day and are told to slather on sunscreen for the brief moments we are outside. Seems a little extreme I would say for our current lifestyles.
While I don’t condone baking your skin in the sun until you burn, I do condone being sun smart. This is a good Segway into my next topic, sunscreen.
The American medical association admitted that an increased use of sunscreen is correlated with an increased incidence of skin cancer!
There are other factors that contribute to increased skin cancer numbers. This list includes a toxic environment, depletion of the ozone layer, longer life expectancy. The use of commercial sunscreen that contains toxic chemicals that are known to be carcinogenic also adds to the uprising cancer statistics. Our bodies know how to process sunburn, they don’t know how to process the chemicals in toxic sunscreens.
Commercial Sunscreens block the skins ability to breathe and also decreases vitamin D synthesis. It blocks our bodies natural warning system of burning and creates an imbalance by separating UVA and UVB.
A few not so new studies have shown that melanoma occurs more often with people who work indoors and can decrease up to 40% with an increase of outdoor activity. Slow and steady.
What this study is actually saying is that we spend a lot of time working under fluorescent lighting. We subconsciously fill our instinctual need for more sunlight by booking our tropical vacations. Suddenly, we are outside 24/7, exposing our virgin skin to very high amounts of sun. Our bodies in turn burn and this is where the some of the damage occurs.
Our bodies require time to build melanin slowly. Starting to Amp up exposure to the sun in the spring and summer months builds up vitamin D reserves for the colder months.
The simple way of doing this is to go outside in the morning, exposing as much skin as possible for 5-20 minutes a day. I tested out this theory and not only did I have the best tan of my life, I didn’t burn once throughout the summer. I should note that I am a blonde, freckled Polish girl whose version of a tan is usually just more freckles.
The sun has the ability to repair organs, boost immunity and increase beauty. Our skin is actually designed for sun exposure.
Vitamin D is a hormone and assists the body in preventing all types of cancer. It aides in the in prevention of auto-immune disease, heals bones, helps diabetes, PMS, bronchitis, gum and tooth disease. We desperately need more sunlight. The sun has been used throughout history to heal the body using such techniques as Heliotherapy. Which can be defined as exposing as much skin as possible to the sun every day.
There are things we can do to help nurture our skin to receiving the suns beneficial rays. Diet plays a huge role in this. Eating whole foods and more leafy greens in the summer. Include antioxidant rich berries and microalgae (spirulina and blue green algae) Start cooking with safe oils that can withstand high heat such as coconut and camelina oil. These are simple things you can do to build up your body’s internal sunscreen. Stay hydrated with clean water.
How to be sun smart:
- Learn to listen to your own intuition.
- Expose as much skin as possible starting in spring from morning to solar noon. Start with 5 minutes per day and work your way up to 20.
- Only wear sunglasses when necessary, as the eyes need to absorb those rays so the body can capture as much vitamin D as possible.
- For extended hours in the sun put on a hat and some clothing. Cover up. When your body is feeling hot, you are burning.
- Use zinc oxide if needed as it reflects the sun's rays
The sun is not our enemy; in fact, it is one of our most beneficial allies. Respect its power and reap the benefits.
I have compiled a few simple tips and tricks to get your summertime glow on. These easy recipes will have your skin quenched and your body happy all summer long.