Sunscreen – Natural Alternatives…

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SunbathingHands up who remembers slathering on the suntan oil and literally baking yourself in the Summer sun…my hands are up!!  These days I wouldn’t dare – the harsh NZ and Australian sun turns you to a crisp in no time!  Thing is, I hate putting on sunscreen…all those nasty chemicals and they block very important vitamin D…but what’s the alternative? This is a great article by Charlie Pulsipher that gives us some answers…

We’ve been slathering sunscreen on ourselves since we were kids, trying to stay healthy and avoid getting cancer. Turns out many of the ingredients in sunscreen can actually encourage cancer growth and all that blocking out the sun isn’t completely healthy either.

The sun is still the best source of vitamin D we have found. It creates all of this vital vitamin we need with just about twenty minutes of exposure a day. So a little dose of sun is a good thing, especially if you’re getting the healthy fats the body needs to create that vitamin D.

Fun in the sun

But we still need to worry about burns and over-exposure. The skin turns bright red and hurts for a reason. It’s letting you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have. Take in the benefits of sunlight, but don’t over-do it. Here are a few natural ways to help.

Natural Sunscreen Alternatives

Wear Clothing – Clothes are the best sunblock. They absorb or reflect sunlight and keep your skin safe. After your initial twenty minutes or so, put some clothes on. Choose white clothing to reflect more light and keep you cooler.

Eat Well – Eating foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants helps protect your skin from damage, including UV damage. That means you should reach for dark, colorful fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids and other powerful antioxidants. Also eat nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and microalgae for the best omega fatty acids and even some healthy saturated fats. Carotenoids give your skin a healthy bronze glow even without sunlight while making sure you burn less often.

Astaxanthin – This antioxidant is also a carotenoid and gives salmon their reddish pink coloring. They get it from microalgae that produce astaxanthin to protect themselves from UV rays. Astaxanthin is more powerful than vitamin C, vitamin E, or CoQ10. It protects our skin from solar injuries and even helps prevent DNA from being damaged by ultra violet rays. It is literally a bit of sunscreen in a pill, but it also protects the heart, brain, joints, and eyes.

Red RaspberriesRed Raspberry Seed Oil – This is one of the best seed-oil sunscreens. It averages between 28-50 SPF and blocks the troublesome UVB rays.

Carrot Seed Oil – Carrot seed oil may be a little harder to find, but it boasts 38-40 SPF and has some good carotenoid antioxidant action going on too.

Wheat Germ Oil – Wheat germ oil is naturally moisturizing while touting an SPF of 20.

Sesame Oil – Sesame oil blocks 30% of sunlight, letting you stay in the sun longer without burning. Apply it every hour or two if you will be out much longer.

Coconut OilCoconut Oil – Coconut oil blocks about 20% of the sun’s rays. That means you can enjoy the sun 20% longer than normal without getting burned. You are more likely to tan and keep your tan with coconut oil. It  moisturizes skin, lessens inflammation, and smooths out blemishes while it limits solar damage. Coconut oil works even more if you take it internally too. It fights inflammation from the inside and contributes to the healthy production of vitamin D.

Aloe Vera – Aloe is often used after a sunburn to sooth hot, angry skin. It works beforehand too by blocking out about 20% of sunlight, like coconut oil.

Other Seed and Nut Oils – There are many out there that offer some resistance to the sun while still allowing natural vitamin D production. They may not work as well as those listed above, maybe SPF 2-8, but will work in a pinch for short amounts of time. Try peanut oil, hemp seed oil, alfalfa oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, olive oil, avocado oil, sea buckthorn oil, and macadamia oil.

Natural Sunscreens – Check the labels, but many companies are offering some healthier options when it comes to sun protection. You can also make your own if you feel up to buying the more adventurous ingredients, like beeswax and zinc oxide powder, and mixing them up in your kitchen.

And, if you still manage to get burned, check out our 10 Natural Sunburn Remedies.

About Charlie Pulsipher

Charlie PulsipherCharlie Pulsipher is a health and fitness enthusiast, writer, author, and neighborhood do-gooder. He shifted his education from Biochemistry to English Literature in an attempt to avoid math, but never stopped loving the natural world of the miniscule. He has published several fantasy and science fiction novels and helped others publish more down to earth books about natural foods. He can’t stop writing. He is probably happily tapping away on some keyboard even now.

Further information on sunscreens can be found here.

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