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Spring: A Time for Natural Sunscreens — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 18, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Spring: A Time for Natural Sunscreens


It may still be spring, but we're seeing the sun more and more, and it's as important as ever to stay safe when we're under it. For a lot of sun worshipers, spring and summer, with their golden rays of warming sun, are simply too short. Once summer gets here most people can't think of anything other than getting out there and enjoying that great big ball of heat while they can. Unfortunately, that great big ball of heat brings more than warming rays. It also brings harming UVB and UVA rays that can burn and damage skin or, in extreme cases, even cause death. However, the sun is not the enemy and should not be treated as such. In fact, there is some evidence that sun exposure, that does not lead to sunburn, can actually help protect against skin cancer. While the verdict is still out on that one, it is okay to embrace the sun with all of its glorious warmth, but at the same time to remember that too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad.

Enjoy the Sun; Avoid the Danger

Learning how to enjoy the sun without burning to a crisp is not hard, but it does take practice. First of all, do enjoy the sun, but avoid its burning rays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is at its zenith. Allowing yourself a few minutes of sun without protection is a good way to get your daily dose of vitamin D, of course, but because time flies when we're in the sun, doing it that way usually ends up being a good way to get a sun burn. Once we get out of doors, we often forget to add the sunscreen, or don't add it until the damage has already been done. It takes about 15 minutes for sun block to penetrate enough to actually begin working, so just put the sun block on before you leave the house. That way you'll be able to get your dose of vitamin D during those first 15 minutes and not have to stop to add sunscreen until you need a second dose in a few hours. Sunburn can also be avoided from the inside out. Forget about that long list of processed foods at the market and direct your cart toward the raw veggies. Eat plenty of organic foods with antioxidant phytonutrients to help promote strong healthy skin.

Natural Sun Block

The sun's burning rays hail from ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light comes in two forms: UVA rays and UVB rays. The UVB rays produce vitamin D. The UVA rays cause free radicals, which in turn cause skin damage and cancer. The good news is that UVA rays are highest when the sun is highest in the sky, so avoiding the midday sun will help you avoid damaging rays. Natural sun block starts with wearing the correct clothing. If you plan on being outdoors for any length of time, especially in the garden or in an open area, wear a wide-rimmed hat, sunglasses and a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, and gloves. Another way to avoid damaging rays is to use a natural sun block or sunscreen (except on infants under the age of six months; babies should wear a hat and protective clothing and be kept in the shade). According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, safe sunlight exposure can actually protect you from about 16 different cancers including breast and colon cancer, which cause many cancer deaths in the United States today.

Dangerous Chemicals in Sunscreen

Certain chemicals should not be included in sunscreen, as they are hazardous to your health. These chemicals include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Avobenzone
  • Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate
  • Padimate O
  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Trolamine salicyclate

Check this list of natural sunscreens or look for natural sunscreens that include some of the following ingredients:

  • Coconut oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Glycerine
  • Green tea
  • Jojoba oil
  • Lecithin
  • Shea butter
  • Sunflower oil
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Vitamin E (avoid vitamin A as it may cause cancer in sunscreen)
  • Zinc Oxide

According to Dr. Michael Roizen, always wear sunscreen'even if you only plan to be outdoors for 15 minutes, and even when it's cloudy'and always rub approximately one ounce of sunscreen into the skin each time you go out.


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