We love the sun! The sun helps our bodies produce Vitamin D, regulates sleep cycles and increases feelings of well-being. But as much as we need the sun’s golden rays, we also need to be mindful of their downside. Over exposure to the sun can lead to wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer. Here are a few skincare tips that will keep your skin protected from the sun this summer (and beyond):
1. Slather on the Sunscreen. Sun damage is the #1 cause of premature aging and skin cancer. Protect your skin from harmful UV exposure with consistent daily use of sunscreen. When we say “daily” we mean every single day- rain or shine. Look for a light weight, chemical-free formula that contains zinc oxide. This is important during any season of the year, but it’s especially important in the summer since the sun is stronger and more of your skin is exposed to the elements.
2. No Nano Particles Please. For many years natural sunscreens have been formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, both of which offer sun protection, but not without leaving a white tint on the skin. In the last few years new sunscreens have been popping up that are formulated with nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which avoid leaving a chalky residue on the skin due to the microscopic size of the particles. While this is a very tempting feature, we recommend avoiding sunscreens formulated with nanoparticles. Preliminary research studies have shown that nanoparticles can be toxic to human tissues and cells resulting in greater oxidative stress, inflammation and DNA mutation. You can avoid the "chalk factor" of natural sunscreens by opting for a tinted version, which is specially formulated to blend in with your skin tone. We like Badger Balm's tinted sunscreen. Its quite thick, but mix it with a bit of moisturizer and it will slide on smoothly and evenly without leaving a chalky residue.
3. Reapply Often. If you are sweating, swimming or spending more than a few consistent hours in direct sunlight then you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen periodically. In the event that you are sweating or swimming, reapply every 40-60 minutes. For prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, reapply once every few hours.
4. Wear Your Shades. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation and the delicate skin around your eyes from getting wrinkles. Sunglasses with a wraparound style provide the best protection because they prevent sunlight from coming in from the sides as well as the front of the glasses.
5. Eat Your Antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful protectors against oxidative damage caused by the suns rays. You can protect your skin from the inside-out by eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, goji berries and acai berries.
6. Hydrate with Homemade Flavored Water. Keeping your body and skin hydrated is extra important in the summer when our bodies naturally lose hydration more quickly. If drinking more water is challenging for you, try “spicing up” your water with fresh fruit, veggie and herb combinations. Our favorite flavor combos include Cucumber-Honeydew, Raspeberry-Mint and Lemon-Ginger. Simply add sliced fruits and veggies and chopped herbs to a glass, add purified water and refridgerate for 2+ hours.
7. Avoid Peak Sun. The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10am-2pm. Although 20 minutes of exposure during these hours is beneficial for Vitamin D production, it’s best to avoid longer exposure during this time.
8. Stay in The Shade. Want to enjoy the great outdoors during peak sun hours? Grab an umbrella – or better yet, find yourself a tree that you can relax under.
9. Try an SPF oil. There are a slew of plants oils that have a natural sun protection factor (SPF). Plant oils have the ability to nourish and hydrate your skin while offering a barrier of protection from the sun. Not all oils are created equal, though. The best oils for sun protection include Red Raspberry Seed oil, Carrot Seed oil and Wheatgerm oil, all three of which provide an SPF of 20+.