The sun is the source of life. Made up of about 1,500 different wavelengths, sunlight is comprised of infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, which filter through the atmosphere to reach us on earth. This is what we experience as crisp, warm daylight.
Apart from the obvious necessity of sunlight for visibility, warmth and also for photosynthesis of the plants we eat, studies have revealed numerous benefits of the sun for humans including:
- Vitamin D synthesizing: the UVB rays of the sun react with cholesterol derivatives in the skin to produce this important nutrient. Without sunlight, this conversion cannot occur and the body must rely on the available sources in foods or supplements.
- Increased awareness: studies show that natural light (over artificial light) enhances alertness, drive and focus.
- Natural pain killer: several studies have shown that sunlight can have an analgesic effect, easing pain.
- Mood enhancing: spending time in the sun increases serotonin, your feel-good hormone.
- Cortisol regulating: research has highlighted the effects of natural light/dark cycles on maintaining a diurnal flow of cortisol to modulate energy and stress.
- Energy creating: researchers are currently looking into the potential of the sun to use a pigment in the skin called melatin to create energy for the cells.
The problem with traditional sunscreen is the sheer chemical load that’s found in these products. Many contain fragrance chemicals, parabens, harsh alcohols, toxic chemical solvents and petroleum oils that are both unstable and harmful- especially when applied with frequency to porous skin.
So what can we do to naturally avoid burns while still catching a good amount of healing golden rays? Our greatest skincare lies in protection and prevention. Here are some of my favorite ways to protect your skin from the sun (that don’t involve sunscreen!):
-We all need vitamin D. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in the skin, converting it into vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D.
The problem is, too many people think that using sunscreen and other forms of sun protection leads to vitamin D deficiency, and that the best way to obtain enough of the vitamin is through unprotected sun exposure. But that can lead to a whole other set of serious problems.
Some people require more vitamin D than others, and some health groups recommend higher doses ranging from 800 to 2,000 IU.
Vitamin D supplements allow you to take in these higher amounts easily. The upper daily limit is generally considered to be 2,000 IU, though some experts recommend even higher levels. Elevated levels of vitamin D lead to a healthier immune system and less free radical damage, helping us process our sun exposure!
-Lotions that contain organic oils, vitamins and essential oils can help to protect your skin from the sun. Before I go outside, I always lather my skin with lotion. Lately I’ve been loving Lavender & Lilies Organic Vanilla Spice Whipped Body Butter. It smells heavenly – good enough to eat! I apply this all over my hands, arms, legs and feet as well as my lips before I go out in the sun. Intensly rich, it will sink into your skin for all day and night moisture.
Organic cocoa butter melts on contact with skin, delivering fast-acting fatty acids to hydrate. Saturated fats are especially beneficial for healing dry, cracked skin because they’re easily absorbed and remain on the skin for hours. This beauty ritual is luxurious. I love this oil because it feels like melting into a vanilla cupcake!
-Hats are a fun, fashionable way to care for yourself out in the sun without having to compromise going outside! I love this hat for sun protection and have been rocking this sun hat all month long. Cute sunglasses are also a must-have!
-Organic Tanning Oil can provide benefits both before and after sun exposure! Many seed and vegetable oils are rich in antioxidants, natural chemicals and vitamin E to protect, moisturize and heal skin exposed to ultraviolet light.
My favorite Organic Tanning Oil is made with rich fruit oils that not only help tan the skin but protect. It features the very unique Monoi de Tahiti, which is created by soaking Tiare (Gardenia) flowers from French Polynesia in coconut oil for a minimum of 10 days. This can also be applied after sun exposure for a healing and nourishing treatment to sun exposed skin or you can use coconut oil for a better tan.
Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4-5 and contains antioxidants that help protect the skin from harmful radiation from the sun. Natural sunscreen! Obviously that low amount of SPF isn’t sufficient for a long day in the sun, so Lavender and Lilies also add red raspberry seed oil and essential oils in this particular blend, which are natural SPF’s. That’s why I love it!
Created in loving partnership with Lavender and Lilies.