Updated: Jun 12, 2019
You are my sunshine my only sunshine, you make me happy when sky's are gray... you are packed with "Vitamin D" dear, so please don't take my sunshine away...
Wow can we say its been the longest, rainiest and not to mention coldest Spring season on record. At least up here in the Northeast it has been, which brings me to the topic of #sunscreen. since we have been pretty much sunless for, oh, about six months, any day now the sun is bound to come out and and stay for a while. in all of this haze and precipitation we are desperate to feel the suns warm rays on our skin, quite possibly because we are deficient in Vitamin D and it just feels good.
Along with the knowledge that you need Vitamin D and the main source is from the sun to get the daily allowance of #vitamind all you need to do is sit in the sun without sunscreen for 20 minutes a day. To protect your skin from cancer, free radical damage and signs of aging we are now faced with a plethora of products that contain ingredients that are just as bad if not worse than over-exposure to the rays themselves. these chemicals can wreak havoc on your system as they are known to be hormone disruptors, skin irritants and even cause allergic reactions. a hormone disruptor is a chemical that has the ability to cross cell membranes and may interfere with your body's natural hormone production. Some disruptors such as titanium dioxide nano-particles are so tiny that it seeps into the skin and they are able to find it in the blood stream.
The #top5ingredients to be on the lookout for are as follows: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, Retinyl palmitate or retinol and Parabens.
We at Wellness Advocates put a lot of thought into which products to present to our clients and before we go down the road of which product is best; consider that there seems to be an underlying idea that sun exposure = skin cancer and that sunscreen = protection from skin cancer. But the research doesn’t back this up. In fact, it may suggest the opposite. Think about this: Skin cancer rates are rising despite more sunscreen use and reduced sun exposure in recent decades. Science backs up this approach. A 2016 review in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology concluded that while prevention of skin cancer is important, being afraid of the sun isn’t a good answer. From their findings:
"This review considers the studies that have shown a wide range health benefits from sun/UV exposure. These benefits include among others various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease/dementia, myopia and macular degeneration, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The message of sun avoidance must be changed to acceptance of non-burning sun exposure sufficient to achieve serum 25(OH)D concentration of 30 ng/mL or higher in the sunny season and the general benefits of UV exposure beyond those of vitamin D."
This is the reason I don’t avoid the sun, but rather make a point to get sun exposure every day. I also avoid sunscreen for the most part, and just get out of the sun or cover up when I have had enough sun exposure for the day.
How You Can Eat Your Sunscreen with Diet + Supplements
Just as a poor diet has a negative effect on skin and overall health, a real food diet may offer protection from various health problems, including sun-related ones. Fortunately, the diet and lifestyle factors that are good for the skin have great benefits for general health as well.
Note: This is in no way medical or dermatological advice. Please do your own research, know your own skin, and find what works best for you.
Here’s how you start preparing skin for safe sun exposure this summer:
1. Eat a Real Food Diet With Enough Good Fats
A large part of my natural sun protection is eating an anti-inflammatory diet. To make sure the body has the proper building blocks for healthy skin and to reduce inflammation, I consume enough healthy saturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fats while avoiding polyunsaturated fatty acids and high omega-6 vegetable oils.
I focus on making sure that my diet is high in micro-nutrients from vegetables, omega-3s, and fat-soluble vitamins from fish, and monounsaturated and saturated fats from plant and animal sources.
This type of diet will also be beneficial for many other health conditions, and if you’ve been a Wellness Mama reader for any length of time, you know the drill:
processed food vegetable oils (this is the most important for sun exposure)grains sugars
healthy sources of saturated fats and monounsaturated fats, foods rich in omega-3s (fish, etc.) lots of leafy greens 2+ tablespoons of tomato paste daily (add this in for the lycopene and skin protection)
2. Eat Antioxidants
Just by avoiding grains and omega-6 oils as well as focusing on proteins, fats, and vegetables instead, your diet will be higher in antioxidants than the standard American diet. Even real food “treats” like berries and dark chocolate are packed with antioxidants.
Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and free radicals. Research has shown a strong protective effect of antioxidants against inflammation and skin damage.
3. Up the Vitamin D
By optimizing two things, you will notice a tremendous difference: omega-3 consumption and vitamin D levels. Through blood testing, you can find your OH/D levels (one measure of vitamin D) any measure below 30ng/mL is is well below the recommendation for pregnant and nursing women and well below the 65 ng/mL recommended by some doctors for optimal health. To get levels above 30 ng/mL you need to get sun exposure and take supplemental vitamin D. Now, with levels in the 50-60 ng/mL range, thyroid function is optimal and you won't get sunburned any more!
Why it works: This is a logical if you think about it. Melanin, the dark pigment that we get when we tan, is produced to shield the skin from further UV exposure by providing a type of barrier. This is why those with darker skin need more sun that those with fairer skin to get the same amount of vitamin D.
When the body has enough vitamin D, it will start producing melanin to keep from getting too much. There is evidence that optimizing vitamin D levels through sun exposure and even through supplementation will help the body produce melanin faster and retain it longer. Of course, this is a genetic and very personalized issue that is best handled with testing and the help of a qualified practitioner.
4. Gradual Sun Exposure
Seems simple and logical, but moderate and safe sun exposure has the most benefits for vitamin D levels. Sunburn is never good! I always get less sun exposure than you think you need at first and work up really slowly to avoid burning.
5. Supplement Support
This time of year, I also start taking a specific regimen of supplements to help reduce inflammation and improve sun tolerance. I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the Internet, and I’m only sharing the supplements I personally take and why. Check with your doctor before making any health or supplement changes, especially if you have any medical conditions.
The supplements to take are:
Vitamin D3 Drops – I take about 2,000 IU/day with sun exposure to keep my levels up. Those drops are 1,000 IU per drop so a bottle lasts us a really long time. I also test my levels a few times a year and stop taking D3 if my levels are high enough.Vitamin C – I take about 2,000 mg/day. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and also has many other benefits to the body.Omega-3s and Krill oil. Astaxanthin – A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement.
6. Natural Sun Protection
With the recent research on the benefits of sun exposure and the potential harmful substances in many sunscreens. We have have created a sun-care protocol with the combination of these products for their all natural, mineral based, organic ingredients that don't have harmful hormone blocking ingredient or scents and that are also kind to coral reefs, water ways, marine plants/animals and the environment. Take advantage of this tremendous sale and stock up.
What we looked for in our product choice:
Mineral based zinc oxide 8% and up
Non-nano titanium dioxide