The Beacon Bolt is a publication of the student body of Northwest Christian University.
“This summer’s gonna hurt like a…”
Last year Adam Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 could be heard harmonizing this chorus through speakers and radio waves all summer long. While I don’t have the perfect recipe for solving all of Adam’s romantic woes, I do know that a bad sunburn can hurt like a *blank* as well. Summer’s getting closer, the sun is getting hotter, and in a couple of weeks school will finally end for a while, giving us more time to bask in the heavenly rays as we hike, run, walk, sight see, camp, swim, ride with the windows down, attend local concerts, markets, carnivals, or whatever our summer pastimes of choice are.
Last week I wrote about some of the benefits of sun exposure, because while we all know that getting too much sun is bad for us, I think we sell the sun short on the benefits we get from being in its rays. I also mentioned that sunscreen has been found suspect when it comes to actually keeping us safe. While name brand sunscreens do block sunrays, that means all the health benefits that sunrays bring us are blocked as well. Also, sunscreens have been linked to skin cancer, many of their ingredients are toxic, cause dry skin, premature aging of the skin, and increase free radicals in the body. I’m not anti-sunscreen, but I was surprised to find we unknowingly make such a big tradeoff when we rub or spray that stuff on us. Could there possibly be a middle ground, a way to protect ourselves from excessive sun exposure while still retaining the sun’s benefits and not taking in a bunch of other substances that are unhealthy? Fortunately, there are some fascinating third options out there.
One proactive step you can take to protect your skin during the summer is making some dietary alterations. Processed foods, sugars, grains, and vegetable oils, otherwise known as “inflammatory foods”, make your body more prone to sunburn. On the other hand, foods high in antioxidants and healthy saturated fat promote strong, healthy skin.
Many people likely don’t want to reinvent their diet, and understandably so. Changing what you eat is usually more similar to a lifestyle change than merely a dietary one, and lifestyle changes can be difficult and are rarely convenient. What’s more, completely abandoning processed foods or grains may not be realistic. Like most things in life, moderation is usually a safe bet. However, alternative ways to stay safe in the sun doesn’t end with food, as there are a number of sunscreen substitutes that are remarkably effective, and not too difficult to acquire or use.
Many natural oils have sun protective elements. Coconut oil can be applied to skin much like sunscreen and be an effective replacement. Almond oil works too, as does shea butter. These three natural ingredients all have 4-6 SPF. Meanwhile other natural ingredients such as red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, and zinc-oxide can have SPF ratings as high as 50. There’s actually an easy sunscreen recipe that uses all six of these ingredients that can be found here. If you don’t feel like tracking down all the ingredients, simply mixing some zinc-oxide into your favorite lotion is an even easier way to make your own homemade, healthy sunscreen!
It should also be mentioned that there are a lot of natural, organic, healthy sunscreens out there that can be purchased too. It’s good to spend some time in the sun, but a sunburn is something we never look forward to having. Hopefully with the information above you will be better able to enjoy the summer weather, without worrying about negative health effects of the sun or sunscreen. Summer is a time when we should be able relax a little, no reason why summer weather should keep us from doing that!
Ancient-minerals.com “Natural Sunscreen Alternatives”
Wellnessmama.com “Natural Homemade