We all know that it is important to spend time in the sun. It feels good and provides us with vitamin D that is so necessary for our health. The problem, however, is that too much sun exposure combined with not having enough protection can cause painful sunburns. When it comes to protection and sunscreens, there is a lot to be said about choosing the right sunscreen.
According to this report, issued by the Environment Working Group (EWG), over half of the sunscreens on the market today contain toxic ingredients. Not only could you be using a sunscreen that provides very little protection from harmful radiation, but you could also be making matters worse by slathering dangerous chemicals all over your skin!!
SPF stands fro Sun Protection Factor, which refers to how long you can wear a particular sunscreen and be protected from ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. It is not safe to assume that just because you are buying an SPF with a high number that you are getting a quality sun block. This term is often misleading because SPF only refers to protection from certain types of UV radiation. The sun generates two types of UV rays: ULTRAVIOLET A (UVA) rays and ULTRAVIOLET B (UVB) rays. UVA rays are the worst. The brand that you use should be labelled Broad Spectrum, which refers to coverage from both UVA and UVB rays.
Always remember to apply your sunscreen on all areas of exposed skin. People often forget to use protection on their lips, ears, and areas that they do not see ……especially back of the neck. Try to complement your sunscreen use with protective gear like sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Avoiding the sun at peak hours (between noon and 3:00) is highly recommended if possible. The rays are very strong at these times and the skin is more susceptible to getting burnt.
We do not want to avoid the sun completely as sunlight is the most effective way to absorb vitamin D, an essential vitamin that many people lack. The benefits of vitamin D are many including improved brain function, improved immunity, reduced risk of heart disease, improved hormone function, and reduced inflammation.
Signs of sunburn include redness of the skin, skin that is warm or hot to the touch, a feeling of discomfort when the skin is touched or rubbed by clothing, peeling or flaking. Usually these symptoms are only noticed about 24 hours after exposure.
To soothe sunburns, one of the best remedies is aloe vera. It is loaded with powerful glyconutrients that accelerate healing. You can usually buy aloe vera gel at your local health food store, but it is best to use the gel directly from a fresh plant. When you cut the leaf open, a think gel like juice will come out. Apply this to the affected area every few hours. Other home remedies include using a grated raw potato, honey, soaking the affected area in cider vinegar, or rubbing some white vinegar on the sunburn. Soaking green tea bags in cool water and using them as a cold compress on the burnt areas has also been known to help. Cucumbers have a cooling effect as well when applied to the skin. Whatever method you choose, remember to keep drinking quality water.
I suggest you read the link to the article above by the EWG. According to this group, the best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. This way you avoid all chemicals in sunscreens that may be absorbed by the skin. Other natural and safe protections for your skin include sunflower oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. As opposed to sunscreens, they will nourish your skin as well as protect!