Over the past year I have been looking a lot at the idea that we do need sunshine. I wrote a blog in July last year about sunscreen and there is a YouTube video I made to explain the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens to go along side it. Both blog posts were written after we had had a load of rain and cloud cover in the UK and people were not getting enough vitamin D into their bodies through the sun.
Today I saw a couple of very red people walk past my treatment room window - pink with dehydration, exhaustion and an over indulgence of harmful sun rays; they did not look happy at all. I saw them panting past, all hot and bothered, after a conversation that I had had with a client who was asking my views on the effect of chemical sunscreens in the water that we drink. I have also been looking at Carrot Oil and Coconut Oil as natural alternatives to sunscreens after a friend nudged me with a couple of questions.
So all in all, I thought today may be a good day to revisit the topic - age old as it is - of sun protection,
with a new twist on the environment.
I have done a very unscientific enquiry based on Google, a cup of tea and sandwich this lunch time and looked at these three articles and one paper.
|Bees Wax Pellets are great to work with as they melt easily.|
Swimmers Sunscreen Killing Off Coral - National Geographic
Sunscreen Wipes Out Coral - Nature
Sunscreen, whilst protecting skin, pollutes water - My Science Work
Sunscreen Products As Emerging Pollutants To Costal Waters - PLOS
What I liked about the four articles was that although a lot of work had been done on chemical damage on the corals, the last link looks at costal waters off Spain, which for a lot of European readers makes the issues seem quite close, rather than something on the Australians have to worry about.
Basically, it seems that around 5,000 metric tons of chemical rich sunscreen washes off swimmers each year and that goes into the sea and the chemicals react with the coral, bleaching and then killing it. It's not great and I certainly don't want to think about how that is effecting our drinking water as I am sure that it won't be great to ingest. But there is a lot to be said that we do need some form of protecting whilst we are in the sun and we need to start asking the question of balance:
How do we protect ourselves and our rich planet?
I started looking at natural sunscreens about a month ago, just after I came back from the States, as a friend of mine asked me if I had tried making my own. She followed this up with the question about my views on Carrot Seed Oil. After making a fool of myself by saying I had never heard of it, I did some research and found that Carrot Seed Oil is pretty cool stuff, especially for sunscreens. I was quite keen to try making one with Zinc Oxide, as I had always thought it was safe and it wouldn't irritate my skin, but an article from Missouri State University said that they felt that there was a chance that the sun would react to zinc oxide and cause free radicles, which are known to increase the incidents of cancer.
So, where do we start to look for a planet/skin friendly option? We look to the planet and our skin.
The creatures and plants of the earth offer us these beauties:
Carrot Seed Oil - SPF around 38 - 40 and rich in free radicle killers - antioxidants, and helps rejuvenate the skin
Coconut Oil - SPF around 4 - 8 and brilliant skin hydrator
Beeswax - Great waterproofer
We are also given essential oils, which are lovely to mix in with these three sun protecting ingredients. However, please do your background reading before adding any in to your sunscreen as some actually make your skin photosensitive, which means that you are more likely to become sensitive in the sun. For example, avoid Bergamot, Lemon, Orange and Lime are not great to mix into a sun protecting balm.
There are many recipes out there if you want to do a Google search, but the one that I like the best is this:
DIY Homemade Natural and Safe Sunscreen.
It's really easy to make and one that can be applied to children as well as adults and the beeswax offers a slight waterproofing effect (hardly a swim in the tropics, but a sprinkler fight in the back garden may be ok!).
It's also a good question to ask yourself, when is enough enough? Enjoying the sun, getting a protected
bit of colour onto the skin and staying safe is wonderful and I really enjoy it myself, but I don't personally think we need the very high amounts of sunscreen all the time. A factor 50 worn all day and reapplied three times a day, may be too much and instead of staying out in the sun all day, maybe there is a time to go the shade instead so the balance stays at a safe level? If it's time to get out of the sun, then it's enough. Find your own perfect balance without harming yourself or others.
Enjoy the summer with a big wide smile, celebrate the life giving force that the sun gives us and revel in it's warmth!
I would love to hear your views, recipes and ideas on this subject, so do check in to the Facebook Page and get in touch with us! Let us know what works, or doesn't, for you and share your experience with us!