I don’t know about where you live, but here in NC it is H-O-T. But I’m not complaining- I love our summer weather! Spending time outdoors is a necessity as an instant mood booster. It is also how I obtain an adequate amount of Vitamin D (which is not easily obtained from food).
While basking in the sun is fun, it is also important to stay safe from overexposure. Did you know that melanoma is #1 leading cancer among young adults 25-29? And it’s on the rise, especially for women. If that’s not enough of a warning, sun’s rays can burn and prematurely age your skin, leaving wrinkles and spots. I rely on these essential products to keep me free from sun damage during the warm summer months.
Traditional sunscreens use a lot of nasty chemicals that I would rather not put on my skin. That’s why I opt for natural alternatives which are safer and just as effective! Look for non-toxic mineral-based sunscreen containing zinc oxide, which is a stable mineral that provides both UVB (which burns skin) and UVA (which ages skin, ie causes wrinkles and spots). There are plenty of options on the market, whether online or in your local health food store.
If you are truly concerned about the purity of the chemicals and minerals in commercial sunscreen, you could make your own. Many oils (like Coconut, Sesame, Avocado, and Wheatgerm) naturally contain varying levels of SPF. Coconut oil, for instance, has been used by Pacific Islanders for centuries and is approximately SPF 10. Just massage some on and you’re good to go. Aloe Vera can also be used as sunscreen, but is probably better as a post-sun skin refresher.
2. A protective hat
You can really wear any hat of your choosing as long as it has a brim to cover your face (because that’s the whole point). I really like this hemp hat from Soul-Flower. It is vegan, affordable, and neutral enough to go with just about anything.
Guarding your eyes from the sun is just as important as guarding your skin. I don’t think I need to go into detail about the injury or even blindness that can occur from failing to do so. So get yourself some glasses to protect your pretty peepers. Proof Eyewear and Toms have some great frames that are both sustainable and vegan.
4. Chapstick with SPF
I have a scar on my lip, so it is important for me to fully protect it whenever I go outside. Your lips are just as susceptible so sun damage as the rest of your skin, but they often go overlooked. Using a quality lip balm containing SPF protection is a simple way to keep yourself developing sun damage around your mouth area. This balm from S.W. Basics or this one from Hurraw! are both free from beeswax and contain sun protection!
5. A produce-heavy diet
Did you know that you can protect your skin from the inside out? Fresh fruits and vegetables (specifically ones containing lycopene and carotenoids) are natural repellents of UV rays and free radicals. So get a healthy dose of your red, ruby, and orange vegetables! And good news for all you chocoholics out there! The flavanoids found in dark chocolate can also offer some sun protection.
Utilize these methods to keep yourself safe and protected, wherever you are!
Images: Harold Navarro via Flickr; Nature’s Gate, Soul-Flower, Toms, Proof, S.W. Basics, Quincy Malesovas