Our friend Maeve Smith over at Natural Wisdom Skincare has put together this useful guide to sun protection for babies, children and adults too.
A number of studies in recent years show that the chemicals in big brand sunscreens have the ability to accumulate to toxic levels and possibly contribute to the increase in skin cancer cases and Vitamin D deficiencies. As a result, an increasing number of people all over the world are now looking for natural sun care products as an alternative to chemical sunscreens.
There are two ways we can protect our skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation: Sun protection and topical sunscreens.
Here are some of the best ways to provide sun protection:
1.) Gentle, gradual sun exposure of a few extra minutes a day on exposed skin is vital as it builds natural protection within the skin which can not be washed off. Sudden lengthy exposure can cause damage because the skin has not had time to build its natural protection. When the skin is exposed to UV gradually for just a few minutes longer each day in the spring, the skin develops a protection factor. This protection doubles and quadruples the time of sun exposure the skin can tolerate without burning.
2.) Healthy levels of Vitamin D from gentle skin exposure. Vitamin D3 levels offer vital protection from skin cancers, and a Vitamin D deficiency can significantly increase the risk of all cancers. The best place to get our Vitamin D is sensible exposure to UVB sunlight – on a clear June day in the UK the average adult needs 40 minutes of sun exposure to get the recommended amounts of Vitamin D, but avoid the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
3.) Antioxidants can provide us with enhanced natural sun protection and include a long list of foods and quite a few natural skincare ingredients. Studies show that the skin benefits more from the topical application of antioxidants and vitamins than via the digestion system alone. Examples include:
• Red raspberry seed oil – SPF between 30 and 50
• Carrot seed oil – SPF between 30 and 40
• Avocado Oil – SPF between 4 – 10 (can get as high as 15)
• Shea Butter – SPF between 6 –10
• Hemp Seed Oil – SPF between of 6 – 8
• Coconut Oil – SPF between 2 – 8
• Pomegranate seed oil is a chemopreventive oil shown to have the ability prevent and heal UV induced skin cancers.
• Vitamin C and it’s derivatives such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Shown to protect and heal UV damage.
4.) UV protective clothing such as UV protective swimwear, t-shirts and shorts, hats and sunglasses. These are essential for children as the protection they offer does not vary and continues after washing and while wet.
5.) Shade – getting out of the sun during the hottest part of the day is very important, especially on hot summer days.
Sunscreen, whilst providing some protection, also inhibits the absorption of Vitamin D, so should ideally be used as a last resort. In reality, though, they are a necessity, especially when on holiday and outside for long periods of time. They are designed to be applied generously and multiple times a day to prove effective – and for this reason they need to be safe.
Sunscreen comes in two forms: Mineral and chemical. Unfortunately, the chemicals in chemical sun protection products are significant hormone disruptors and when combined with preservatives such as parabens and other synthetic ingredients such as artificial fragrances the safety concerns are increased further.
By comparison, the active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide – where there is no evidence of hormone disruption. These two minerals are excellent at scattering and reflecting UV rays. When used properly, these mineral ingredients are the key to safe and effective sun protection when needed.
The best sunscreens for you and your kids:
- are creams (rather than sprays and powders which can be inhaled)
- contain the minerals zinc or titanium
- block both UVA and UVB radiation
- don’t contain potentially dangerous chemicals such as parabens and oxybezone
Examples of natural and organic mineral sunscreens with no nasty chemicals:
Lavera Natural Cosmetics
Badger Healthy Body Care Sunscreens
Green People Sunscreens
Natural Wisdom Antioxidant Sunscreen (launching Spring 2015)
For more go to Organic Authority for long lists of the safest mineral sunscreen products
For Additional Sun Protection
Sun Togs offer lots of choice for UV sun protection clothing for children and adults.
For Antioxidant Skincare
Natural Wisdom Skincare