By Rosie Main
For years we have been told to avoid the sun due to the “damaging” effects of UV radiation to healthy skin. The newest research has shown that the sun’s rays do much more good than harm. The sun’s ability to charge our bodies with vitamin D makes it extremely powerful at minimizing free radical damage and maintaining moisture in the skin. Aging well is absolutely dependent upon healthy sun exposure.
Many experts believe that vitamin D is incorrectly named. Vitamins are substances that are crucial to normal everyday life function but cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by the body. However, your skin has the ability to manufacture as much as 10,000 IU of vitamin D after 20-30 minutes of summer sun exposure.
Vitamin D3 is a Pro-Hormone: Vitamin D more resembles a hormone than vitamin by function. Hormones are chemical messengers that interact with cell receptors to produce specific biological responses. Calcitriol, the active form of Vitamin D, is arguably the most powerful hormone in the body. It has the ability to activate over 1,000 genes (roughly 5% of the human genome).
Too much sun exposure causes free radical damage, leading to wrinkles and cancer cell growth. However, an appropriate amount of sun exposure every day is one of the healthiest things you can do for your skin.
What is on Your Skin Gets in Your Blood: Your skin is an extremely absorbent organ. What we apply on our skin enters directly into the bloodstream. The majority of sunscreens and sun lotions contain toxic chemicals that are harmful for the body. The most damaging ingredients include sodium lauryl sulfates, parabens, oxybenzones, and padimate O. Many of these are known xenoestrogens that interfere with healthy hormonal function. All are linked to higher rates of cancer.
Natural skin moisturizers include coconut oil and olive oil which harmonize the sun and allow for a natural tan development. It is also critical to get lots of antioxidants applied topically to enhance our skin’s health and ability to synthesize vitamin D. Great lotions include green-tea extract, aloe vera, and clove oil which provide antioxidant protection for the skin.
Tips For Healthy Sun Exposure:
- Skin color – Your skin color dictates your sun needs:
Light skin = 15-20 minutes daily
Medium skin = 25-30 minutes daily
Dark skin = 40-45 minutes daily
- Healthy moisturizers: Use coconut oil, aloe vera, clove oil, and/or green tea extract as a moisturizer before andafter sun exposure for added anti-oxidant protection. This is an important and often forgotten principle for healthy skin.
- Natural sunscreen: If you are going to have long exposure, wear layers or use a natural sunscreen with no man-made ingredients forhealthy skin. I like the Goddess Garden Organics brand.
All-Natural Sunscreen Ingredients:
1 c raw unrefined shea butter
2/3 c coconut oil
20 drops myrrh essential oil
30 drops carrot seed essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
Optional: 2 tbsp zinc oxide powder (a couple of tablespoons per cup of oil/moisturizer – be sure not to inhale)
Natural Sunscreen Directions:
Mix raw unrefined shea butter with coconut oil with a mixer on medium speed until it looks whipped and creamy. (Add in optional zinc oxide powder and mix well.) Add in essential oils. Blend together on low speed. Place sunscreen in a glass jar with a lid.