Do you know that sunshine improves your health?
Our bodies need sun on our skin just like flowers need sunshine to blossom and plants need sunshine to grow.
Sun penetrating the skin initiates the production of vitamin D, a necessary vitamin for health and vitality.
Direct sunshine on the skin for ten to twenty minutes enables the body to produce 10,000 units of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is vitally important for sustainable and resilient energy, mood and hormone function.
How do we make sense of the health benefits of the sun in light of the reality that excessive exposure increases the risk of cancer?
During the past fourty years, sunshine on the skin has become synonymous with skin cancer.
Excessive exposure to sun without protection poses skin cancer risk but is that the only truth?
We have allowed fear to control our relationship with one of our most important gifts from nature: the SUN.
Lack of sun exposure impacts mood, circadian rhythm and energy reserves.
Consider the following health situations.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real diagnosis symptomatic of depressive mood, sleeping too much, lack of energy, anxiety and over eating during the times of the year when there is diminished exposure to sunlight and the outdoors.
- A study in Finland showed sunlight exposure improved psoriasis skin lesions and joint symptoms from arthritis. Using the psoriasis severity index (PSI) and the arthritis index (AI), skin lesions improved 75% was achieved in 84% of the patients. Joint pain decreased by fifty percent. Both psoriasis and arthritis conditions improved significantly with sun exposure.
- A longtitudinal multiethnic study of 382 people demonstrated a correlation between deficient 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and accelerated cognitive decline in ethnically diverse older adults.
- Research based evidence shows that sunlight is preventable in bladder, breast, cervical, colon, endometrial, esophageal, gastric, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, rectal, renal, and vulvar cancer; and Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Ultraviolet light on the skin also generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health.
Healthy longevity is dependent on proper amounts of vitD. Sun exposure is the best method for obtaining vitD because of the pathways in which the body absorbs and metabolizes it.
Do we really want to create a nuclear shield against the priceless healing force of the sun?
This is super cool.
The body was designed with a built-in sunscreen.
Melanin is the skin’s natural sunscreen. Over thousands of years the human body adapted to sunlight exposure by removing melanin from those who received less sunlight exposure. Melanin is a natural barrier to UVA rays. The skin of those living closer to the equator was darker which provided a natural protectant against excessive sun exposure.
However, the darker the skin, the higher probability of having a vitamin D deficiency because exposure to the sun through the skin provides the most efficient production of vitamin D. This is why skin cancer sky rocketed in light skinned people who migrated southward toward the equator. They lacked the natural barrier, melanin.
Modern day commercially available sunscreen was invented in 1938 by Austrian chemist, Franz Greiter. In 1962 he came up with the SPF Sun Protector Factor (SPF) rating system that we use today.
While raising our kids near the equator we slathered them in commercial sunscreens.
Unfortunately, most commercial sunscreens sold outside the European Union contain harmful endocrine (hormone) disrupting ingredients. Hormones regulate the body’s energy system, reproductive health, neurological health, metabolism, growth and development. Hormones are everything and we don’t want to work against them.
Early civilizations used a variety of plant extracts to help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. For example, ancient Greeks used olive oil for this purpose and ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine and lupine plants. Zinc oxide paste has also been popular for skin protection for thousands of years.
Burmese women use thanaka cream.
Several years ago I started using Defend, a facial moisturizer made with organic argan oil and essential oils by Elevate Aromatherapy. After a day in the sun and forgetting to apply what was my daily sunscreen at that time, I discovered Defend to be a powerful sun protectant.
Let me be clear, we need sun exposure but we don’t need to bake ourselves. The less melanin you have in your skin, the quicker your body will absorb vitamin D so you need less exposure.
Let’s talk about healthy and natural sunscreens.
If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. Ingredients are absorbed into the blood stream through the skin and research shows they remain in the blood stream for up to 24 hours.
As opposed to chemical barrier sunscreen protection, I prefer to use a physical barrier. Options include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or thanaka cream.
Inspired by Dr. Axe I started making sunscreen a few years ago and it’s freaking amazing. It’s nutrient dense and makes my skin glow like gold. See recipe below.
These oils have a natural SPF that varies depending upon quality and production.
- Rasberry seed oil (SPF 28-50) The only oil that protects against UVA and UVB.
- Carrot seed oil (SPF 38-40)
- Pomegranate oil (SPF 20)
- Wheat germ oil (SPF 20)
- Jojoba oil (SPF 6)
- Olive oil (SPF 2-8)
- Almond oil (SPF 5)
- Shea butter (SPF 3-6)
- Avocado oil (SPF 4-15)
- Coconut oil (SPF 2-8)
A word about ultraviolet rays present in sunlight referred to as UVA and UVB.
UVA rays are more prevalent than UVB, penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, cause premature aging and are also responsible for skin cancer.
UVB rays vary in intensity depending upon the season and are responsible for damage to the superficial layers of the skin. UVB rays are also responsible for skin cancer.
The commerical sunscreens I recommend are Badger products.
I’ll leave you with a few closing comments.
Embrace the gift of sunshine on your skin. Soak it in with appreciation.
The amount of time you should be exposed to sunlight varies person to person.
The lighter your skin, the less exposure you need before you apply sunscreen. The darker your skin, the more exposure you need to initiate the production of vitamin D because you have a natural sun barrier due to the concentration of melanin.
Remember, depending upon your skin color, ten to twenty minutes of exposure to sunlight is all you need to gain 10,0000 units of vitamin D.
WE ARE BUNDLES OF ENERGY AND SUNLIGHT IS OUR NATURAL AND POWERFUL SOURCE OF FUEL AND HEALING.
2 tbsp shea butter
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp pomegranate oil
1 tbsp carrot seed oil
10 drops lavender oil
2 tbsp zinc oxide
1 glass jar
Combine coconut oil and shea butter in a glass jar.
Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water on stove over medium/low heat.
Place jar in saucepan and stir contents until ingredients start to melt.
Once all ingredients are combined, remove from pot and add pomegranate, carrot seed and lavendar oils.
Finally, whisk in zinc oxide until combined. Store in a cool place. The mixture will be liquid with heat and solid with cooler temperatures. Shake well in liquid form.