Updated: Apr 29
The hot weather has come early in Spring this year, but that's nothing really unusual, it's just that the heatwave is at summertime temps, which is not what we're used to. It's easy to get caught out, finding that our sun protection is not as organised as it could be. That's where we can use several approaches to holistically build up sun protection for our skin naturally.
To begin; your body is a magnificent thing. Your skin is the largest organ and works for you to protect against toxic overload. If your natural detoxification systems inside the body; lymph, liver, kidneys and bowels, aren't working as well as they could, or should, then you'll see that manifest on your skin. But what you may not be aware of is that our natural detoxification processes rely upon regular and unfiltered exposure to sunlight. We can only produce Vitamin D, which is vital for the production of our hormonal and blood chemical regulation, from exposing our skin to sunlight. Without the sun's rays, we as humans can't obtain full and vigorous health.
We do need to avoid sunburn because repeatedly burning skin results in scar tissue and sometimes an irregular melanin layer. Melanin is our skin's layer of protection from the sun's UV rays, but even it relies on the outer layer of body oils to help keep it intact. Melanin is also the layer that provides our skin with pigment and changes in response to sun exposure. Building up sun exposure during early morning sunlight in the gentler seasons (before high Summer and early Autumn) will help to avoid sun damage and increase your skin's natural ability to dissipate the radiation from the sun.
Here are a few quick tips on natural, holistic, suncare:
Nourish your dermis! :) It's simple enough to say but we may not understand what that really means. Have a two or three fold approach by eating antioxidant-rich foods that take the load off your skin (remember, it's the largest organ of the body), that are red, or reddish-orange to yellow in pigment. The high Vitamin C content of these foods help your body's own sunblock to form and protect the skin from the inside. Think Goji Berries, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Bananas, Paw Paw (Papaya), Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Capsicum (Peppers), Chilli, ... you get the idea. Drink plenty of pure water. Regularly massage the skin with botanical oil and/or do body-brushing techniques to detox the skin. These are all approaches that will gift you strong, supple and nourished skin.
Avoid stripping the layer of body oils off your skin with harsh detergents and even 'gentle soap'. Use body oil or botanical powder wash to cleanse the skin. If you need re-hydration, use a mist like 'Radiance' Hydrating Essence Mist that contains Rosehip & Hibiscus extracts, Rose Geranium and Jojoba in purified water. Or for deeper hydration, a botanical body oil like Coconut, Macadamia, Avocado, Argan, Jojoba or Olive. I personally avoid creams because they usually contain a synthetic preservative - however, if you prefer a cream product try one of MEM's BodyVelvets. They are handmade and sans preservatives; just perfect.
Never rely upon an 'SPF' rating. This is given to synthetic chemicals used in mainstream sunscreens. And, as pointed out, we really don't want to 'screen out' the sun, we want to be able to protect against burning. A thick-weave material shirt and pants, a hat and perhaps even a light scarf, are the most effective forms of sun protection when you're out there in direct sunlight. The other thing to do is limit your exposure over the harshest times of the day. In Australia that starts at about 10am in the hotter months and lasts all the way through to around 4pm. So yes...seek shade often! ;) At other times you can just get out there for easy 15 to 20 minutes of sun worshipping and soak it up.
Botanical oils that serve as natural sun protection filters, absorbers and dissipaters (not to be confused with a 'sunscreen') are Coconut, Carrot Seed, Raspberry Seed, Seabuckthorn, Olive and Jojoba. These have a kind of 'absorb and scatter' effect for the skin when it comes to radiation. Some plant oils that help to detox and repair our skin are Rosehip, Calendula, Frankincense, Lavender, Rose Geranium, Palmarosa, Chamomile and Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum).
You'll find a selection of these in the 'Everyday Solar Balm' as well as non-nano Zinc Powder (the particles are too big to be absorbed by the skin and sit on top to reflect the UVA & UVB rays). This balm does not have an SPF rating because it is completely synthetic-free, and totally botanical except for the zinc powder. Zinc offers us the peace of mind that if we do have to be out in the sun for some time (beach days, working outdoors, sporting events) we can at least take care of those part of our bodies that will be exposed for a longer period of time eg: noses, cheeks, back of the neck, back of the hands etc. And a little Zinc is actually great for the skin in dilute applications, so for sensitive skin or problematic skin, it can be used as a daily treatment to balance the complexion.
One of my lovely clients recently wrote back to me after using the Solar Balm for a couple of weeks... "My skin has cleared up using this daily under my foundation! Peace of mind knowing I've got sun protection on my daily walk to the train.. It's a primer, moisturizer, and UV protector all in one.Thanks again MEM for a multi use product I adore."
For when you have had too much sun and your skin is touched or burned, first aid is a cool bath or shower. Then apply a thin and dilute oil blend like 'Calm' Hydrating Essence Mist which contains Lavender, Vanilla and Roman Chamomile too heal, cool and soothe, and for areas of particular 'ouch' use 'IceMylk' Aloe Gel blend to cool and provide a bit of pain relief. Wear light clothing and keep drinking cool water often. I'd also suggest taking Rescue Remedy to reduce the shock/trauma symptoms of sunburn and heatstroke.
The bottom line is, the more toxic your body is, the more toxic your skin is, and the quicker you'll burn. Protecting with antioxidants from the inside and outside prevents damage without inhibiting your natural early warning system - feeling sunburned. If you feel hot and feel your skin burning, do something about it, quickly.
Here's to lots of summer fun times and great health from sun-worshipping, safely.