Summer’s almost here, which means it’s time for lots of sunshine! This season is perfect for tons of outdoor activities, sports, vacations, and just time spent by the water. While the sun is incredibly beneficial for us, too much of a good thing can cause some real damage. Do you know how to stay naturally protected from the sun?
Although we all need at least a little sunshine to feel happy and healthy, sunshine is ultimately composed of ultraviolet light, which is a form of naturally-occurring radiation. When we get sunburned, we’re actually receiving a radiation burn. The burns can range from mild irritation to severe second-degree burns that can result in illness and possible hospitalization. Every time we get a sunburn, we are damaging our skin. Repeated burns can ultimately result in cancer, as with other forms of radiation left unchecked.
This is why the idea of building up a “base tan” is often flawed. A tan is the result of skin producing melanin as a response to sun exposure, with the intent of building up the skin’s natural defenses. Unfortunately, acquiring that “base” may still require exposing your skin to damage in order to create the tanning response. Some people will tan naturally by spending time outdoors, but if you find that you burn before you tan, you should take precautions.
There are many options for natural sun care to protect your skin from damaging UV light. Look for natural and organic sunscreens that use elements like zinc, a natural mineral that is used to absorb UV rays. Other natural elements may include things like beeswax, natural oils, and Vitamin E to nourish and protect the skin. Always check the label!
Many companies are now offering sun-protective clothing, which is used by many athletes to protect their skin without relying on chemical-laden sunblocks. One of the best ways to balance out your sun exposure is to cover up with shirts, jackets, and hats made of light, breathable material. Long sleeves don't have to make you too hot!
If you’ve already overindulged in the sunshine and come away with a burn, all is not lost. Keep some aloe vera gel in your refrigerator to both soothe and cool the burn. You can also soak some washcloths in water and baking soda (or vinegar cut with water) and put them in the fridge to cool. Apply to skin for some sweet relief. If the burn is especially bad, you may want to consider taking a pain reliever that reduces inflammation. Don’t forget to drink lots of water to replace your lost moisture!
Summer only comes once a year, so make sure you enjoy it to the fullest! Just make sure you invest in some natural sun care for your skin, too.