Healthy Fun in The Sun
When did the sun, the source of life itself, become a symbol of fear?
For me, it was the late 80s when I was faced with malignant melanoma and became a poster child for sunscreen. Little did I know that 20 years of slathering on chemical laden sunscreens, and depriving my body of vitamin D, was doing more harm than good. Current research shows that daily sun exposure on bare skin, at safe levels, is actually vital to our health. Sunlight is the best and easiest way for the body to create and absorb optimal levels of Vitamin D, which according to new research drastically decreases our risk for several forms of cancer and other chronic diseases.
So, what is a safe level of sun exposure?
Most people can safely tolerate between 15-60 minutes of sunlight a day. You should slowly increase exposure if you have not been out regularly. Darker complexions may handle longer exposure, and need more sun for optimal absorption. Never let your skin burn; when it begins to turn pink, that means your body has absorbed all the vitamin D it needs. Never visit a tanning salon; light from a tanning booth is NOT the same as the sun, and can be harmful to your health.
How do I protect my skin when I have to be outdoors all day?
Traditional sunscreens contain many harsh chemicals, that when absorbed, are more harmful than helpful. Our skin is our largest organ, so avoid putting anything on it that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.
There are times when we find ourselves outdoors all day, and need to protect against dangerous sunburns.
Here are some natural tips for Healthy Fun in The Sun
*Use common sense; find shade and wear protective hats and clothing when possible
*Use a chemical free sunscreen with micronized zinc oxide as a main ingredient. This is a safer and effective alternative to chemical lotions. (A favorite of mine is made by Pratima Skin Care)
*Many oils, such as sesame and neem, are natural sunscreens. Coconut and olive oil also nourish the skin and help to absorb ultraviolet light.
*Eat a healthy diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. These nutrients will help to protect you inside and out.
*Many prescription drugs, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners increase your vulnerability to overexposure. Take care if you ingest any of these substances regularly.
This summer, enjoy the great health and mood boosts that safe sun exposure can provide!
Information on safe sun exposure from Dr. Mercola