“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” -Buddha
As summer heats up I’ve been realizing the importance of respecting the season and doing the right things to care for my body with the oncoming of hot weather. What I mean is, different season, different concerns.
I, for one, love being outside and I don’t usually let weather stop me too much. However, there’s a lot to be said for keeping safe, and protecting the body from any potential harm that can come with too much heat exposure.
Some heat related conditions to watch out for are: overheating and heat exhaustion, headache, excessive sweating [causing mineral loss], dehydration, heat stroke, muscle cramps, fatigue, sunburn and skin damage.
The first rule of beating summer heat isn’t to just stay indoors though. It is a good idea to have a place to cool off and get some shade, however lets not let the heat dampen all the summer fun! For one thing, the sun is our friend. A daily dose of sunlight directly on the skin is recommended for a healthy life. Not only does the sun stimulate the production of vitamin D in our bodies, it also encourages blood circulation, and can promote an uplifted mood, just to name a few.
15-20 minutes of sunlight each day is wonderful, and should be encouraged, not the opposite. Of course, if you are very fair, or sensitive to sunlight, be mindful of the time.
Some of you , like me, may not be so bothered by heat so maybe you cream up with sunscreen (after the 20 min sunbathe) and go for it. My hesitation there is when it comes to those sunblock’s. You know how there are those ingredients we can hardly pronounce correctly? Well, did you know that many sun protection lotions are made with chemicals as the main source to provide the SPF? Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral or chemical filters. And then there are some that combine the two.
The chemical based sunscreen however ( and some of the mineral ones too) absorb into the skin and therefore into the bloodstream and our organs, and many of them are actually very toxic to us!
Each filter, uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters.
These products typically include a combination of 2 to 6 of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
Laboratory studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may actually mimic hormones, and appear to be endocrine disruptors! Physicians report sunscreen-related skin allergies, which raises questions about the potential human health consequences from frequent sunscreen application.
We must also take a close look at the so-called inactive ingredients in sunscreens. These typically make up 50 to 70 percent of a sunscreen product and while considered inactive they are still being absorbed into the body and in large amounts.
One particular ingredient has been highlighted by the Environmental Working Group, and they are ruling it as cause for concern. A preservative, methylisothiazolinone.
This year, EWG found methylisothiazolinone listed on the labels of 94 sunscreens; 6 of these are being marketed to children.
Reports showing cases of serious skin allergies, most notably in children exposed to methylisothiazolinone, from baby wipes, lotions, and other products meant to be left on the skin. It was said to be “allergen of the year” in 2013, According to The American Contact Dermatitis Society. The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety concluded that no concentration of MI could be considered safe in leave-on cosmetic products (EU SCCS 2014).
Mineral sunscreens are made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, usually in the form of nano or non-nanoparticles. If you want to understand more about the difference, Goddess Garden Organics has an informative article.
There is good evidence that little if any zinc or titanium particles penetrate the skin to reach living tissues. However, to be even more safe the use of non-nanoparticles is recommended.
I don’t have a perfect solution to the sunscreen dilemma but I have found the EWG website to be very helpful in becoming more clear on the ingredients in sunscreen, that may be toxic to me. From there, I can be more empowered to check labels and make more informed decisions.
So, with that, here’s some of my top summer time tips!
- Hydrate – Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is necessary even in cooler months so in the summer we should actually consume extra water due to the increase in sweating, and water evaporation that comes with warmer weather. Learn more about proper hydration here.
- Protect the skin – OK so we know there are tons of chemicals and aggressive ingredients in a lot of skin protection products.
With that in mind, it’s a bit concerning to smear just any old sunscreen onto the skin these days, so what do we do?! Best defense off the bat is to spend outdoor time in the morning , when the sun is lower in the sky.
Some other options include:
a. Layer up – Wearing layers allows for you to have options. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothes that are made of breathable material. Also, a wide brim hat is always a good idea when out in the sun.
b. Natural Oils – Some plant oils contain natural Sun Protection Factors (SPF) and although most levels are relatively low, these can be an aide for short sun exposure and to use in combination with other sun protection methods. This list is not complete of all oils with potential SPF but contains a few that have actually been researched and show decent result. A word of caution, before you run out and make your own sunscreen; I advise you to be well-informed about the quality of oils you use and take extreme caution with relying solely on plant oils as sunblock. I see oil as more of a minimal SPF filter while giving my skin nourishing moisture.
I do not advise long exposure sessions using only oil exclusively.
The oils of almond, avocado, coconut, cottonseed, olive, peanut, sesame and soybean, have been reported to have UV filters.
Many claim that raspberry seed and carrot seed oil also contain sun protection filters, but again, make sure you find adequate research before trusting oils alone.
c. Eat the rainbow. Those gorgeous colors in fruits and vegetables are not just pretty, they contain lots of antioxidants which are extremely important in protecting the body from free radicals, like those from the sun. These foods are rich in lycopene, polyphenols and carotenoids all of which could help protect against sun damage to the skin and even cancer. Flavanoids found in foods such as cacao and dark chocolate may improve the skin’s ability protect against some types of skin damage, including UV-induced issues like sun burns.
Plus, the flavonoids can help keep skin hydrated, increase oxygen and stimulate blood flow.
3. Monitor strenuous activity – Exercising, working, or even running around playing sports are all popular outdoor experiences. Keep in mind that heat builds up gradually and sweating causes mineral depletion. This can come on suddenly in the form of dizziness, muscle spasms, or even fainting. It’s always a good idea to take breaks often, stay hydrated and sit down so that your body can self asses and reset to a balanced state.
4. Replenish – As I mentioned, in the warmer climate, or season, it is a good idea to always give the body support with added electrolytes and boost important mineral levels that may become low. Lot’s of foods, like fresh raw vegetables, contain minerals, as well as coconut water and citrus fruits.
Today’s Effort – Fun In The Sun
Everyone should have a great summer season!
Today, before heading out, schedule 10-15 minutes of sunshine time.
Get that daily dose of vitamin D!
Then, choose one of the tips from above and set a reminder to implement it when outdoors, or feeling a bit over-heated. Whether that be drinking extra water, or making sure you replenish after your workout, or maybe eating some new veggies with lunch!
If you’re looking for cool treat, check out this frozen electrolyte slushie.
Happy Father’s day to all the Dad’s out there! Have a great Summer.
Be proud of yourself!
Join us every Sunday for the next edition of Starting Your Week Strong.
Learn about the role of electrolytes in last weeks’ blog Naturally Charged
Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals and fit wellness into your busy schedule? Contact me today for more information about Today’s Effort Health Coaching.
The Positive Choice Wellness Center Calls Out Sun Avoidance as “Misguided”
In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics
Goddess garden organics
The information shared on this site is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any form of illness or disease. The opinions are the author’s alone and are not to be used as a guide to follow for health, but rather a sharing of perspective.
Today’s Effort takes no responsibility for the choices of individuals and encourages you to work alongside a trusted physician and or doctor with any health related issues.