When I was a child, I would spend hours upon hours outside.
Pretty much as soon as I would wake up, I’d have breakfast and head out to play in the nearby park, ride my bike, swim in the kiddie pool or play in the dirt.
And I didn’t come home until the streetlights came on.
I wasn’t worried about my skin or overheating as I naturally followed the queues from my body. If I became thirsty, I’d grab a drink from the hose, most likely. Mind you, this was prior to having fancy bottled water. If we became hot, as children, we were smart enough to find some shade or even hide out in someone’s house for a bit and then venture back outside.
This was in the 80’s and early 90’s. It was around this time that I began to hear about the need for sunscreen because our ozone layer was greatly depleted and could no longer protect our skin the way that is use to. So, if we did not want cancer, we must wear it.
And I did for a very long time. I was even told by a dermatologist that I needed to wear SPF 90 (!) because my skin is so fair.
I was doing good, or so I thought.
Fast forward a few years and I began to have issues being in the sun. I could not fare the heat of the outdoors any longer, the sun really hurt my eyes and gave me headaches although I was not staring directly into and was wearing sunglasses.
In short, because I was now doing everything possible to avoid the sun, I was losing necessary Vitamin D which is an absolute necessity to our health. Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphate which in turn keeps our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to osteoporosis and various cancers.
However, no one was talking about this. They were talking about avoiding the sun and venturing into tanning beds.
I’ll admit as I grew older, I didn’t go into the sun as much simply because I couldn’t be bothered with sun screen. I didn’t like the feel of it, nor the smell. When I did go on long outside outings, I’d hunker down and blob it all over my body.
And I’d be miserable the whole time as my eyes would hurt and I’d begin to feel lightheaded and nauseous even if I was not hot and well hydrated. Over time, I simply stayed indoors., further aggravating my Vitamin D deficiency.
It was not until I began my Paleo lifestyle journey that I learned sunscreen is actually counterproductive and quite toxic not only to my body by disrupting hormonal processes, but is also toxic to the rivers, ponds, lakes, ocean and the coral reefs.
I then stopped using sunscreen and began getting out into the sun.
It is extremely important to get at least 30 minutes of sun every day without sunscreen to help keep Vitamin D levels up. If you believe you are low, please have your levels tested so you know where you stand. Vitamin D3 supplements and UV lights may help, but natural sunlight is best.
If after 30 minutes you really feel you need sunscreen, apply it then. However, I do not and stay mindful of my direct exposure. Instead, I employ other means of keeping my skin safe.
Here are some tips to keep you and your skin safe:
- Sitting in the shade under a tree
- Wearing a sun visor or using a parasol
- Using an umbrella at the beach or park
- Going indoors after a few hours
- Avoiding being outside between 10 and 2 PM if there is no available shade or I cannot create my own with a parasol or visor
- Getting out of the pool or other outdoor swimming area often to sit in the shade every 30 minutes.
- Going inside if I notice any sign of a burn (which I have not noticed as long as I follow the tips above)
If you do experience a sunburn, you can quickly alleviate it by using white vinegar and dabbing your skin with cotton balls. This will remove the burning sensation, turn the red tone into a nice brown color and prevent the skin from peeling.
If you decide you want to use sunscreen, I have a natural recipe for you to use. I do not sell this since the FDA considers it a drug and the SPF cannot be confirmed therein. However, you can easily make your own that is nontoxic and safe for the environment.
Homemade Sunscreen (Note: This is not waterproof)
You will need:
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup almond oil
- 2 tbsp powdered zinc oxide (A natural UV blocker)
- ¼ cup pure aloe vera gel
- ½ tsp walnut extract (optional but boosts the SPF)
- 1 cup shea butter for easy application
- Essential oils (Optional for scent). Do not use citrus oils like lemon, orange or lime as they will increase sun sensitivity.
- Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Leave out the zinc oxide and aloe vera gel for now.
- Place a medium szed pot in the stove with water over medium heat
- Place the jar in the water and stir occasionally to mix the ingredients as they melt.
- Once the oils have melted, stir in the aloe vera gel and zinc oxide. (Do not breathe in the powder). Be sure to mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to jars or bottles you will use for application.
- Store in a cool dry place or the refrigerator.
In short, exposure to the sun is extremely important to our health and well-being. Avoiding the sun is counterproductive to good health. Be mindful of your environment and utilize shade, hats and parasols when the sun cannot be avoided.