latest from the blog
Wow, summer is here! It feels like yesterday I was writing about winter skin care and now it’s time to think of the sun. It is interesting to me that in many warm weather cultures the more sun the more clothing people wear for protection. In our culture the more the sun the less clothing people wear and rely on chemical sunscreens for protection. With skin cancers on the rise we put chemical sunscreens on our skin, the largest organ on the body and bake those chemicals by applying hours of direct sun in an attempt to avoid skin cancer. Holistically speaking the best way to deal with sun exposure is to not over expose. A hat, cotton clothing and beach umbrellas go a long way. UV protective swim wear is a great way to enjoy the water and protect your skin.
There are circumstances where we may not be able to stay out of the sun and a sunscreen becomes necessary. The choice is between a chemical sunscreen or a mineral sunscreen. Many of the chemicals found in sun screens are themselves dangerous and some actually cause the skin to become more sun sensitive hence we use more sun screen. The chemicals we want to avoid are; oxybenzone (a potential estrogenic endocrine disruptor linked to reproductive and environmental concerns), octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate and retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A that may accelerate sun damage).
Mineral sunscreens contain mineral agents, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are naturally broad spectrum . These formulas sit on top of the skin, creating a physical shield that deflects the sun’s rays. Not only are they free of toxic ingredients, but because they aren’t absorbed into skin, these safer formulas tend to be less irritating. There are a quite a few mineral sunscreens on line including Amazon. I suggest using the chemicals I have listed above as a guide for finding a safe screen. Red raspberry seed oil and carrot oil have an SPF of 30 and are a great natural sunscreen.
The next issue with summer is heat, or in Chinese medicine Yang. Excessive heat in the body can cause difficulty sleeping, irritability, redness, skin eruptions such as acne, and headaches. If you have been out in the heat as soon as you get home a cool gel pack at the base of the neck, on C7 will help release heat from the body. Doing the same before bed is the perfect end to any hot day.
Last but not least is to stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Water flavored with fresh cucumber, lime, lemon and mint are a great way to avoid processed sodas. Unfortunately alcoholic beverages, coffee, black tea dehydrate the body and create heat in the body so it is best to keep them at a minimum or eliminate them from your from your diet.
Just a few simple things go a long way towards a happy, fun and healthy summer!