Summer is well and truly here! This is the time of year when we want to soak in the sun. Although it is tempting to bathe in the warmth of our giant star, there are a few precautions to take to protect our precious skin. This is a topic that we are all aware of in Australia, but it definately bears repeating.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It reflects our health and age. Today, there’s much concern about sun bathing leading to an increase in skin damage and skin cancer. Excessive exposure to UV rays can increase the production of free radicals that can adversely affect the integrity of collagen in the skin. Over time, our skin becomes wrinkled, cracked, aged, and brittle. For smokers, the effects are multiplied. Research suggests that skin cancer is cumulative over a lifetime. It begins with over exposure and serious sunburns during childhood.
We can’t live without the sun. Our bodies require sunlight in order to manufacture Vitamin D needed for calcium absorption, amongst other things. So, we shouldn’t hide from our shining star. Here are a few helpful tips and precautions to take when you’re soaking in the summertime sun:
Use sunscreen - Choose a natural sunscreen with a high SPF number that protects against UVA and UVB rays, for greater protection. Don’t forget your nose, ears, and neck.
Time is key - Avoid sun exposure when the sun is at its highest peak in the sky, typically from about 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.
Gear up - Wear a hat with a wide brim, t-shirt, and genuine sunglasses that filter ultraviolet rays.
Stay hydrated - By keeping your body hydrated you can avoid dehydration and provide moisture for the skin to prevent dryness, cracking, and aging.
Consider supplements - Vitamins such as A, E, and some antioxidants help prevent skin damage. Cod Liver oil and Flax Seed oil have also been used to support skin health.
Brush it off - Before you take a shower, use a dry skin brush. This can open pores and slough off dead skin, allowing your skin to breathe easily and work more efficiently.
Keep healthy - Some medications we take may have adverse reactions and side effects when we’re exposed to sunlight. Acupuncture may be able to provide an alternative to these medications, keeping you healthy, safely and naturally.
If, despite your best efforts, you still get a sunburn, here is a simple recipe that you can use:
Recipe for sunburn/sun damage
You will need: 1 green tea bag; 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
Bring one cup of water to the boil and bour over the green tea bag in a glass bowl. Steep until cool and then discard the teabag. Add the aloe vera gel and mix thoroughly. Use cotton balls to apply mixture to affected areas.
Aloe vera is well renowned for being excellent for sunburn, but combined with the healing, cooling, antioxidant properties of green tea, this makes for an even more effective treatment.
So remember to practice good sun sense, and your skin will thank you for it. Enjoy our beautiful Australian summer!
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