Updated: Dec 29, 2022
With the weather turning (a little) warmer we need to be aware of sun protection. Skin damage can occur from a very early age and it has been studied that most UV damage occurs in the teenage years.
So what is your history? and if you have small children and teens, what are they using daily to protect their beautiful skin from future damage?
If you are relying on simply slapping on any old sunscreen then you may want to be aware that commercial sunscreens contain a cocktail of harmful ingredients that aren't regulated by any official authority. In fact, the whole skincare industry is not regulated. If skincare were to become regulated some of the biggest brands in the world would need to reformulate their entire product ranges, so, y'know,... it's not going to happen. What you can do to protect yourself and your children, is to get informed and educated about what you are putting on your skin. Repairing from sun damage is far easier and more successful than trying to repair from long term toxic chemical exposure. So DO consider carefully the products you choose to use this sunny season and enjoy a safe time outdoors.
What IS a safe level of sun exposure?
It's generally accepted that around 15 to 20 minutes per day of direct sun exposure is safe for human skin. Our body is designed to utilise UV radiation to protect itself, so, the converse reality is that UV exposure is beneficial and harmful. The exposure to UV light of the upper skin layers stimulates a series of reactions that double our endogenous (produced in the body) protection mechanisms. Then the slight swelling induced by this exposure doubles this again. As our skin synthesises UV radiation via the melanin layer by getting darker ('le tan') it increases your protection even more. So the concept of 'building a tan' for protection is scientifically correct...it's just that humans started to use weird chemical lotions and it all backfired badly. Add to that the studied fact that most people do not apply enough sun protection and/or apply it unevenly, and it's obvious why we will see a rise in sun damage. Instead of simply observing 'I'm becoming uncomfortable and hot, I'll seek shelter', there is instead this misconception that 'I've applied sunscreen so I can stay out here for [insert suggested hour exposure time from bottle sunscreen]'. Which is nuts, right?? You've been given senses for a reason. Listen to what they tell you and take action accordingly. And, it's not just feeling the burn that you should be concerned about...some UV rays don't burn but still cause damage.
Which rays do what?
UVB rays (short length) do the 'burn' and UVA rays to the 'aging' (long wave rays) that get through glass, even tinted glass...so sitting in the car or at the office window in direct sunlight is potentially as damaging as walking for an hour in direct sunlight outdoors. If you're out for hours on a cloudy day when the temperature is cool, you could potentially receive more skin damaging rays than on a short trip to the beach on a hot, sunny day. The answer is to cover up and make sure you are always taking notice of your reaction to the sun. If you're hot you're getting exposed to high irradiating UV rays (heat), so seek shade. If you're squinting, you're being exposed to high visible UV rays (glare) so be aware and cover up, protect your eyes, seek shelter.
Everyone can have Safe Sun Care
MEM's range of environmental protection lotions and balms use only safe mineral and botanical ingredients so that you never have to be concerned about the amount or frequency of applying them. Because it's not just skin damage that can occur from collagen breakdown due to UV overexposure. Ocular/vision damage is also part of UV damage. Managing your antioxidant intake via beautiful herbs like those found in fresh fruits and vegetables (and MEM's teas: The 3pm Glow, Epic Red Chai, Divine Green, Sapphire Blush) go a long way to helping us cope with everyday UV exposure. The human body is an incredible machine designed to repair itself, so give it what it needs to do the job well.
MEM has a range of gorgeous botanical helpers that are high in antioxidant goodness like Oh My Greeness Skin Conditioning Elixir, Skin Elixir, and protective products designed for everyday use like Shield Lotion, EnviroProtection Lotion and Everyday Solar Balm. In fact most of the botanicals used in the MEM range will help skin repair from everyday environmental exposure. Oh My Greeness (OMG) and EnviroProtection Lotion (EPL) are two of the very best products you can stash away for this season of sun to come! And if you're staying indoors, or repairing from too much sun, Shield Lotion is your go-to for blue-light protection and skin cooling.
The best protection is physical protection.
Yes, I sell sun protection products but I am here to tell you that your best protection is thick-weave clothing and a hat (boom!), and of course, common sense action. Don't go out for a three hour stint on the coast or a hike and not plan ahead. You'll need UV protective 'gear'...a wide brim hat, long sleeves, collared shirt...and a safe sun protection cream or balm. PLUS hydration for your body. Stress induced damage from dehydration is a massive part of skin damage, so always carry a bottle of pure water and some fruit so your body can refresh and fuel up all its systems.
Enjoy the sun. It's good for you :)