We are very lucky to live in the beautiful land of sunshine here in Australia! The sun can be extremely healing, yet also equally detrimental to our health. In Australia, we have one of the highest incidences of skin cancers in the world – 2 to 3 times higher than Canada, the US and the UK. Cancer Council Australia says that 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers are skin cancers, and 95-99% of them are caused by exposure to the sun. So how can we naturally prevent sun damage to our skin? Here are my top 3 tips to help you enjoy the sun to reap its benefits without causing skin damage.
1. It’s all about timing
Gradually increase the amount of time in the sun every day to allow your body's melanocyte cells to build up your skin’s natural sun protective properties. About 10-15 minutes in the middle of each day is sufficient for most people, but if you have very fair/sensitive skin then start with 5 minutes. It is important not to spend too long in the sun, and ensure that you don’t stay out longer than it takes for your skin to go just slightly pink. The darker your skin the longer you can stay out for without damage because darker skin has a higher melanin content. Time in the sun is important for our vitamin D levels. Studies have shown that optimal vitamin D levels helps protect from UV damage (Dixon et al. 2011), so getting a little sun protects you from further sun damage - isn’t nature amazing!
2. Green tea
The antioxidants in green tea have been shown to provide photoprotective properties – which means they will increase your skin’s natural sun protective mechanism. Drinking green tea each day can be helpful, and if your job relies on you being constantly exposed to the sun then I would recommend a high dose green tea supplement for the maximum benefits. Other dietary aspects that may increase your skin’s resistance to sun damage include the antioxidants resveratrol, lycopene & astaxanthin, as well as omega 3’s - all have shown promising results in studies.
3. Natural sunscreen
Many commercially available sunscreens can have some undesirable and potentially damaging chemicals in them. Choose a natural sunscreen, which includes zinc oxide. Apply this before going out in the sun for long periods of time to prevent your skin burning.
With these top tips, you can prepare your skin for optimum sun exposure so you can enjoy our warming sunshine and not worry about the long term damaging, drying and aging affects the sun can have on our skin!
Haley is a passionate Naturopath & nutrition expert, writer, and mum of 2 young children, with years of experience in the industry. She is a known as a real 'nutrition nerd' and follows the latest natural health research. As a Paleo and raw food enthusiast, she coaches people in healthy living, beauty and positive mindset. Haley has personally experienced the benefits of the SkinB5 natural acne treatment system and is happy to offer her guidance to help others regain clear skin. Follow her blog at www.aliveinwonderland.com & link with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/aliveinwonderlandhealth