To follow up from last week’s post I wanted to discuss the most positive thing I noticed over Memorial Day weekend. Over the years I have heavily influenced my husband’s relationship with sunscreen. This is a man who grew up in Texas and can tolerate sun and heat unlike many other auburn haired, Irish descendants. Reason being is that his skin has been trained to tolerate heat because of where he grew up as well as having other heritage factors that make him more tolerant of heavy heat levels. So regardless of all these factors, James has unfortunately experienced some gnarly burns over the years and after enough wife nagging, he has shifted many of his old habits. During our camping trip he was the first person to apply sunscreen prior to heavy sun exposure and to reapply throughout the course of our time in the sun. He turned to me at one point and said “I think I just have to apply every 30 minutes in order to not burn”. I almost cried tears of joy in that very moment. YES! HE GETS IT! This type of attitude can infectiously spread because once you see someone caring for their skin it triggers the thought that maybe you should do the same. As soon as the sunscreen was out, others would start asking for a round of cover up. When I talk about sun care, I don’t necessarily only mean sunscreen. Sun care to me means how you are caring for your skin from the sun. Sunscreen is a huge and non-negotiable factor but I am talking about extra preventative steps such as the following:
Antioxidants are an essential part of your daily defense so if you’ve overstressed your skin it can be one of the most effective skin saving remedies. Having daily topical care of vitamins C and E can work synergistically to help your skin fight off any free radicals that stress the skin. Vitamin E (otherwise known as tocopherol) is an incredibly emollient antioxidant that acts as a peroxyl radical scavenger which stops free radicals’ damaging functions in our skin. When you add in the protection and collagen building benefits of the vitamin C antioxidant (also known as ascorbic acid) the two antioxidants only help trigger each other’s functions. My recommendation would be to add internal and external antioxidants to your daily defense. This includes my berry rich smoothie recipe:
Blueberries (so rich in antioxidants C and K)
Sun Potions Tocos rice soluble protein (rich in Vitamin E)
Coconut water (watch for excess sugars here!)
Spinach or Kale
Half an avocado or full banana (depending on your sensitivity to sugar)
Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Be sure to watch your sourcing of Vitamin E as well as some are sourced from soy or corn. Try to stick with products who guarantee non-gmo ingredients and are transparent of their sources.
Some of my favorite products are:
In addition to antioxidant protection it’s incredibly valuable to increase your hydration while you are out in the sun. Heat can trigger our skin to create inflammation and our hydration starts to suffer the more we sweat, so our skin is less able to fight off UV rays. Keeping your body hydrated with water rich foods, electrolytes and obviously water will only help your skin's ability to protect you. Unfortunately, as fun as it is, having alcohol while getting excess sun can lessen our ability to not burn. Make sure to stay protected, hydrated and start your day with a ton of antioxidants.
There comes a point that regardless of my efforts to continuously apply sunscreen on my skin starts to overheat. This is when a cover up can be the best option so it’s best to keep a hat, long sleeved shirt and extra blanket to help shield your skin. Clothing fibers can work really well to act as a block from the sun but it’s always best to apply sunscreen to your face and body as well.
All in all, our relationship with sun care has to change. It's obvious to me with even a small social experience such as camping with a group of people that most of us still don't get it. Do your best and don't rely on your genetics to fight against possible mutations in our cells. You deserve to live a long and healthy life and I would hate to see it cut short by one of the most diagnosed and preventable cancers out there. For a few more resources follow EWG's tips on proper sun care and their top SPF selections.
Thanks for reading! xo - Hayley