Last week while reading SexIs I found Summer Skin: How do you keep it Safe?, by Unfulfilled and I have to say it is one my favorite SexIs articles. It touches on the subject of how to take care of and protect the skin you're in. I loved this article because I learned something from it and it raises awareness. I wanted to write more about natural ways to protect your skin from the sun and mention some of the ways I like to keep my skin healthy. Firstly, I'd like to thank Unfulfilled for sharing such a interesting and entertaining article with me. The article inspired me to write this and to become more rigorous in my routine. Hopefully mine will do the same for you.
Here are a few golden rules when selecting and applying sunscreen to keep your skin healthy. You want to choose a sun screen that not only blocks out UVB, (Ultraviolet B or medium wave) but also UVA (Ultraviolet A or long wave ). These rays are responsible for more than just aging and sunspots; they cause cancers. When you apply it, make sure you are using enough. If you're not sure how much, try filling a shot glass. Most people find they haven't been using enough to get full protection. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours and if you're in the water, make sure you're using water resistant sun protection. Check to make sure that the sun screen hasn't expired. Sunscreen has a shelf life of two or three years. Always look at the production date on the bottle and not the date that you bought it and count the shelf life from there. I recommend mineral based sunscreens made with zinc oxide for best protection. Oxybenzone is a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens and many studies have proven that it is a safe and reliable sun block, but other studies say long term use could be a harmful. These studies show that oxybenzone, when soaked in the skin, can act as a hormone disruptor causing long term skin breakdown and problems in pregnancy. Nearly everywhere in Europe, any sunscreen using oxybenzone as an active ingredient must have it clearly labeled on the bottle. The use of oxybenzone in sunscreens is restricted in Japan. In Japan, part of the reason is to protect the shore lines. As chemical sunscreen washes off the body, it pollutes the water and isn't good for sea life, especially the reef. If you want to go one step further, you can buy a bulk bottle and a smaller bottle to refill, producing less less waste.
Clothing is your best defense! Looser clothing is better protection because it isn't stretched across the skin causing the weave to open up. Closely knitted fabrics like denim and wool are the best as they literally have smaller holes between the threads. Good fabrics for sun protections are synthetics and semi-synthetics such as polyester and rayon offer the best sun protection. At the other end of the spectrum are refined and bleached cottons or gauzy materials which offer the least amount of protection and are the most breathable fabrics. Satin reflects more of the UV rays than matte fabrics do, such as linen. Thickness matters as well. Thin materials such as bleached cottons let in more UV rays, but denser fabrics such as corduroy offer more protection. Believe it or not, color matters as well. Red and black will absorb more UV rays than lighter colors. Hats (at least 3 inches in brim) and sunglasses are essential. Almost ten percent of skin cancers arise in the eyelids. Skin cancers found on the face and neck are almost twice as deadly compared to anywhere else on the body. Sun glasses that filter out UV rays can help prevent cataracts!
Even in the winter, sun protection is important no matter how you choose to wear it. Growing up I was never taught to wear it in the winter and it still seems strange to me even now. I do it anyway. I am sure I will be thankful later. Shea butter lotions are a good option in the winter. Shea butter is a natural sun blocker with a SPF of 7! No one is prefect and sun burns happen. I've had a few sunburns and a few in the most interesting places. If you're rough and tumble like me, you're skin going to dry out anyway. I spend every moment I can in the summers rock climbing, digging in the garden and Gecocaching. I am a bit of a natural and organic nut and for the summer I recommend using oils on the skin over lotions (unless you have body acne). I love Good Clean Love, Dona Massage Oil and Ono Massage Candle for keeping my skin touchable during the summer. Don't be afraid of the sun but prepare for it. Don't forget your daily vitamin to make up for the loss of vitamin D.