Holistic Sun Protection

Along with the beautiful summer months come hours of abundant daylight, week long trips to the beach, and, for some, irritating sunburns. Most generic sunscreens contain harmful additives and chemicals that penetrate deep beneath the skin, taxing our circulatory and immune systems. It is important to limit our exposure to these substances as too many chemicals can create an imbalance within the body. As a healthy alternative to these generic products, we should turn to Mother Nature to protect our skin from the sun’s rays.

There are several natural supplements that are wonderful to add to your diet during the months of summer or throughout the year. These supplements include fish oil, butter oil, vitamin D3, and lycopene.

Fish oil is rich in omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals that promote healthy, glowing skin and a strong dermal and epidermal layer. Be sure to purchase fish oil from sustainably harvested, wild caught fish for the maximum amount of nutrients. Butter oil, or high-vitamin butter oil, contains high amounts of omega fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E, CoQ enzymes, and other minerals. Be sure to purchase butter oil from organically raised, grass-fed cows for the maximum amount of nutrients. These products both serve to enhance the skin’s natural protective lipid barrier, boost the immune system, and enhance our bone health.

UVB rays are the portion of the sun’s rays that allow the body to produce vitamin D. However, many people have sensitivity to sun exposure or burn rapidly when exposed to UVB rays. As a result, vitamin D deficient individuals may have weak bone structure or can become even more susceptible to sun damage as the body may become over-sensitized to sunlight. As an alternative, try vitamin D3 capsules or drops. Vitamin D3 is known as “the sunshine vitamin”, and, when taken overtime, can build up the body’s natural defense against the sun. Try limiting sun exposure to 15 minutes a day, while taking vitamin D3, and then gradual increase the amount of time you spend outside under the sun.

Lycopene is a red carotene found in fruits and vegetables and is especially abundant in tomatoes, papaya, cherries, strawberries, red carrots, red bell peppers, and watermelon. Eating these foods during the summer can enhance the collagen levels that are present in the skin and significantly reduce damage to the skin caused by sunburn. Lycopene can also reduce damage done to the mitochondrial DNA of the skin, slowing the aging process.

As well as supplements, natural topical solutions can also be applied to the skin. Butters and oils such as shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and raspberry oil contain natural SPFs that range from 4-15. Most health food stores will also sell a variety of natural zinc oxide sunscreens that are suitable for a holistic sun care practice.

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