There is still a month left of the summer season, which generally means the sun is here to stay for at least that long on the west coast… YAY! This is the time of year where enjoying the sunshine as much as possible becomes a major priority, because although we’re so lucky to live where we do, we may not see much more sunshine through fall & winter.
One of the most important things that the sun does for our bodies is allow our cells to produce Vitamin D which is vital for many bodily functions. We can get Vitamin D from some foods, and through supplements, but the sun is actually the most efficient method of getting enough! Sun exposure can actually be the safest way to get enough Vitamin D as well. Our bodies have a way of regulating how much sun produced Vitamin D to store so that we don’t end up with too much!
Another fantastic benefit that our bodies reap from sun exposure is a boost of serotonin production. Our bodies synthesize more of this “happy hormone” when we’re exposed to sunlight, which is amazing for increasing energy levels during the day. What’s more is that our bodies actually convert the mood elevating hormone, serotonin into a sleep enhancing hormone, melatonin when we’re winding down at the end of the day. So getting into the sun as much as possible can help fuel your energy stores in the daytime, and can help you get a restful sleep at night!
Over the years, the sun has earned a pretty bad reputation for skin damage… but, there are things we can do to help ourselves love the sun again, so we can enjoy its many benefits.
Here are some tips for protecting your skin and so you can happily be in the sun again:
Supplement with fish oil.
Fish oil is fantastic for helping your skin deal with sun exposure! The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are helpful for skin cell regeneration and inflammation reduction so your body can produce healthy cells that won’t be easily damaged by the sun. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant present in salmon oil, salmon roe, & krill oil – it’s what gives these sea creatures their vibrant red colour. This antioxidant is really great for dealing with inflammation as well as protecting the skin from sunburns!
Stack your diet and skin care products with healthy fats!
Our skin is essentially made of fat, and healthy fats are the building blocks of new skin cells. Ensuring that our body is receiving the “ingredients” that it requires to produce cells that are healthy and are not susceptible to mutations is extremely important. Both the food that we ingest and the products we apply topically contribute to the health of our skin.
Foods that are rich in good fats include fish, coconuts, avocado, olives, nuts, butter, grassfed meats, lard, dairy & pastured eggs. Skin care products that are rich in fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin E, D & A are great for supporting our skin as well.
Ensure you’re avoiding bad fats.
It is imperative to avoid consuming and using bad fats such as vegetable oils when it comes to food and skin care products. Vegetable oils contain harmful omega-6 fatty acids, which can actually contribute to skin cell mutation upon sun exposure. Our skin is made up of the building blocks we provide it, and if we are supplying too much of these harmful fats and not enough of the good ones, we risk the ability to produce healthy cells that can deal with the sun as they should!
If you must use a sunscreen, choose a natural one!
Many conventional sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that both block the sun out completely, and are harmful for our bodies. Many of the widely available sunscreens have high SPF’s which block all of the sun’s rays resulting in zero vitamin D production, which is extremely detrimental to our overall health. Often, these products are also full of chemicals that are absorbed through our skin and can interfere with bodily systems such as the endocrine system, throwing our hormones out of wack!
Avoiding the use of sunscreen is the only way to actually allow your body to produce vitamin D, but in times of excess sun exposure, natural sunscreens can be a great alternative to conventional options. Those that use non-nano titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide deflect the sun’s rays off of the skin without the risk of your body absorbing anything harmful, and they contain great ingredients that support the health of the skin.
We are huge advocates of sun exposure… it just feels so good. Do you have any natural tools or products you use to help your body deal with the sunshine? Let us know, we LOVE learning about new products!