It’s summer, and who hasn’t enjoyed a day or two at the beach, or out at an amusement park, laughing, playing and enjoying the sun? A day in the sun can leave one feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and give you a sun kissed glow. The sun is an important part of our physical and emotional well being. Exposure to the sun provides a very important vitamin to our bodies- vitamin D. Vitamin D keeps our bones and skin strong and although we can get some Vitamin D through our diet, vitamin D3 specifically comes from the sun. Still, as much as the sun is a powerful healer, too much sun can cause skin damage. Sun can burn our skin, cause premature aging and at worst result in skin cancer.
Ease into summer sun
We need roughly twenty minutes a day of sun exposure to stay healthy and keep our Vitamin D levels at an optimal level. In the summer months, this is usually easily accomplished. The problem is that for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, north of the Equator, as we do not get enough sun during the darker, winter months. During the winter it is best to supplement your diet with Vitamin D. In the summer go out and enjoy the sunshine! However, keep in mind that if your skin has not seen the light of day for five or six months it is best to take a gradual approach to the sun. Refrain from the idea of taking the day off work to hit the beach in your bikini or sit out at the nearest patio for a full day of sun and drinks. Instead, spend maybe fifteen or twenty minutes in the sun so your skin can gradually adjust to the stronger rays and give yourself a base tan. Tanned skin is less likely to burn than very pale skin. If your skin is darker by nature you will likely be able to take in more sun and also require more vitamin D than the more fair skinned around you. But either way if your skin is dark or fair keep in mind some of the following precautions when planning a full day in the sun:
Consider the timing
If you are planning a day in the sun whether it be a day at the beach, at a park or camping consider what time you will be out and for how long. The sun’s rays are strongest between 11: 00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. so try to find some shade or head inside for lunch for a few hours during this time.
Chose your protection wisely
Many of us rely on sunscreen to protect our skin from burning in the hot sun. Although sun screens offer some valuable protection realize that not all sunscreen is created equal. Recently many health care and skin care specialist have found that a lot of sunscreen on the market contains toxic and unhealthy substances. So when purchasing your sunscreen check the labels. If your sunscreen contains any of the following chemical’s; Para amino benzoin acid, Cinoxate, Avobenzone, or Menthyl anthranilate (to name a few) consider switching to a healthier more natural brand (See www.mercola.com for more information on this).
Healthier brands are available and may contain sun protective ingredients such as green tea extract, carrot root oil, coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil and sesame oil. These can often be found in health food stores.
Clothing is also an important protective barrier against U.V. rays of the sun. . One of the best items to wear is a wide brimmed hat. A wide brimmed had prevents sun stroke and also covers the parts of our bodies most exposed to the sun such as our ears, nose, eyes and cheeks. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a wide chapeau a baseball cap also provide some protection. U.V. protective sunglasses protect the retina in your eyes as well as the delicate skin around the eyes from the sun. Consider also taking a light weight, light coloured long sleeved shirt to protect your back and shoulders from sunburn. If you are going to the beach or park for the day a sarong or beach wrap also helps protect the lower part of the body from being over exposed to the sun.
Remember that too much sunscreen and protection prevents the Vitamin D from coming into your skin. So don’t just stay at home and away from the sun like a wall flower, but get out into the sun and become a sunflower. Just remember to keep some of these tips and suggestions in mind when planning your day in the sun.