The sun is our friend. Except when it gives us wrinkles. And sun spots. And skin cancer. But of course we love the sun and every wrinkle and blemish it gave us while we kayaked/hiked/skied/biked under its rays. But anyone who has peeled their skin off in black, burnt chunks (welcome to my childhood) knows what a bad burn will do to you. Yep, it ain’t pretty.
So what to do when you want to get a safe, healthy glow? Glows are important to good health – after all, sunlight contains vitamin D. Vitamin D is not present in very many foods, but it is necessary for bone growth and immune function. Apparently, people who are deficient in the D-V have an increased risk of heart attacks.
In the winter, it is impossible to get enough vitamin D from the sun. A little trick from space makes it hard for the sun’s ultraviolet B rays to get through the earth’s atmosphere. So now that it’s summertime, (at least in the Northern Hemisphere,) it’s time to stock up on our glow – carefully.
Spend a Few Minutes in Midday Sun Sans Sunscreen
You may have heard that skin cancer is on the rise. So why the heck would we tell you to stand in the sun without SPF? It’s tanning beds that is to blame for the rise in melanoma. In fact, some experts would tell you, (if you are fair skinned) to spend ten minutes in the midday sun in a tank top and shorts without sunscreen. This will give you enough radiation to produce “about 10,000 international units of vitamin D.” Too worried about burning? Start off slowly – first three minutes, then four, and so on – until you work your way up to ten. If you are elderly or dark-skinned, spend less time. You’ll get a nice, healthy glow and your necessary dose of vitamin D – just be sure to put the hat or sunscreen on after ten minutes.
Mix Up a Homemade Sun Protectant
Not ready to step out in the sun totally free of skin care product? You do need titanium dioxide and/or zinc to protect your skin from too much UVA/UVB rays, and these minerals make up the basis of most sunscreens. But you can spend your few minutes wearing a natural, homemade skin protectant. This oil will not act as a sunscreen, but it will support your skin’s own production of melanin. And its melanin which naturally protects your skin from the sun. Combine one tablespoon sesame oil, one tablespoon kukui seed oil, two tablespoons organic vitamin E, two drops of beta-carotene, and two drops of vitamin D. Mix together and apply to skin.
Now Pick a Non-Toxic Sunscreen
Okay, so you’ve shared your sunscreen-free skin with the sun for a few minutes. Now it’s time to cover up. Naturally, you want to pick a sunscreen that contains as little chemicals as possible. Beware of greenwashing in the sun care industry – a truly organic sunscreen is difficult, as sunscreens need titanium dioxide and zinc to protect your skin. These minerals cannot be classed as USDA organic because they are not grown. So you’re going to want your products to contain as many other organic ingredients as possible. Check out our comprehensive guides to eco-friendly face and body sunscreens here.
Mix Up a Mask of Glow
You’ve spent some time the sun, so now it’s time to naturally reward your skin. Take three tablespoons of organic honey. Carefully pulling your hair back from your face, slather your face with the organic honey for ten minutes. Wash it off with cold water. You may want to consider adding organic egg whites to the mix. Honey and eggs will moisturize and help brighten-up your face.
Choose a Natural Bronzer
Had enough sun for the day? Tarte has a great new product for summer to keep your skin a-glow. Check out Tarte’s Matte Waterproof Mineral Powder Bronze. This product is free of phthalates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and synthetic dyes. It is also cruelty-free. How does it work? I powered it over my nose and cheeks and voila – instant glow. Hey, it beats bravely facing the sun with a timer in one hand and a hat in the other. (Which may or may not have been me, trying to get my ten minutes.)