Why We Need to Practice Safe Sun Care
We may be looking for some of the depression-lifting effects of time outdoors, seeking an infusion of Vitamin Sunshine, planning a beach day, taking our practice to a studio without walls, or needing to shift away from screen time. When going outside, it’s important to practice safe sun care. Consider the following four suggestions for keeping your skin healthy in and out of the sun. Here’s to sun salutations in the sunshine!
1. Optimize Vitamin D By Planning Safe Sun Exposure
You can count on lifting your mood, increasing bone strength, and heightening your immune system by increasing Vitamin D. But you may not realize the importance of planning your sunshine time when it comes to optimizing your body’s Vitamin D metabolism.
For safety, avoid midday sun exposure. Burning your skin will not optimize Vitamin D intake, plus it will cause harm! Consider getting about 20 minutes of mid-morning or late-afternoon sun light (without sunscreen) to optimize Vitamin D levels. For best results, practice this as close to daily as possible.
Science on Vitamin D and our Individual Nature
Every skin type absorbs Vitamin D at different levels due to varying amounts of melanin (which absorbs UV rays and reduces Vitamin D synthesis). As individuals, we also hydroxylate Vitamin D at different rate. Vitamin D travels through the liver and kidney before becoming active (1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D). Your overall health profile and organ function are key elements to how much Vitamin D you utilize after absorption.
In addition, most people need more Vitamin D than they get from being in the sun. Consider speaking with your naturopathic doctor, functional medicine provider, or member of your healthcare team about having your blood levels of Vitamin D tested. You might want to add Vitamin D supplement with the addition of a Vitamin K2 driver, since these two act synergistically with each other.
Suggestions for Vitamin D Supplementation
Common food sources for Vitamin D
Shiitake and white mushrooms, fatty fish, eggs, soy, cheese
2. Props to Support Safe Sun Exposure: Hats, Breathable long sleeves, and Sunglasses
If you have been indoors more than usual this past year-and-a-half (as many people have), chances are your skin may be very sensitive currently. While you may want to visit the beach with just a little sunscreen and play all day, consider adding more complete coverage.
Hats offer more protection than even the best sunscreens..and they can be fashionable!
In an effort to further protect your arms and legs consider long sleeve breathable cotton or linen fabrics that block UV rays but allow ocean breezes. You can also look for UPF-rated clothing.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from harsh rays. Your eyes may have had a lot of blue light exposure and felt strain from excess screen time lately. As your eyes heal and adjust to more outdoor time, prioritize keeping them safe and hydrated.
3. Read labels: Review Ingredients
When you do put something on your skin. Empower yourself to have more control of your skin health! Titles can be misleading. Just because a bottle has a flower on it or says “natural” does not mean it is clean or safe…or even that it includes mainly organic products.
Read labels and look for some of the following potentially harmful ingredients. Avoid these. They include EDTA, BPA, aluminum, parabens, artificial dyes, and fragrances.
Opt for products with shorter ingredient lists. This may include herbs, flowers, or vitamins you recognize. Always check the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website for the latest safety research, facts, and to see how product ingredients score in safety.
Avoid the following common animal-derived skincare ingredients: gelatin, tallow, lanolin, squalene, and collagen.
Read your Sunscreen Labels
For the ocean’s sake and yours’, consider only mineral-based sunscreens (such as those with zinc as a primary ingredient). Chemical sunscreens are banned in Hawaii as they cause reef deterioration. Look for reef-safe sunscreens. Also choose organic and fragrance-free options. Suggested brand: Earth Mama Organics
Products to Avoid
The Walgreens brand, Panama Jack, and Sun Bum spray (70). These are listed as the most harmful sunscreens on the market according to the EWG.
After Sun Practices
Take care of your skin and keep your safe sun practices going by rinsing off sweat, sand, and sunscreen after being outside. Rinsing reduces skin irritation and clears pores to allow for more skin breathability.
Nourishing creams and aloe gels post-sun are ideal for cooling and soothing. (The vegan line by Deep Living contains hemp, which is rich in omegas). Avoid oils if your skin is hot or burned.
4. Confident Skin From Within
Take care of your full-body health and wellness for beautiful skin. Suggestions for safe sun exposure can help reduce sun damage ranging from solar spots, dehydration, and fine lines from oxidation caused by excessive exposure to UV rays. However, for those struggling with skin concerns ranging from acne to eczema, consider seeing your integrative dermatologist or naturopathic doctor to determine the underlying cause of your concerns.
Our skin is our largest organ. When it acts up, it is trying to tell us what is going on in our bodies. Listen to these messages. Meditate on your skin health goals. Send yourself love and support, knowing you are perfect just as you are. Give your body the love and support to heal.
For more positive skin affirmations use this Amazing Skin Meditation.
Have fun outdoors and practice safe sun daily!
Dr. Natiya Guin is a family medicine doctor and safe skin leader who enjoys healing skin from within, increasing client self-confidence, and magnifying whole person health outcomes. Deep Living Skincare by Dr. Natiya
Her vegan, organic line by Deep Living is founded on the belief that skincare should not only be healing, it should be safe. Her products are designed for all ages and are designed to be shared with the whole family.
Photos in article and meditation by Dr. Natiya Guin
Testimony about the author:
Dr Natiya is an amazing naturopathic doctor, who will guide and nurture you in discovering health, expressing your creativity and support you in seeing your magnificence. -Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick