In the past week, we’ve spent some time talking about how all sunscreens aren’t created equal and how many of them contain chemicals of which you might not have been aware. Yet you obviously know that too much sun damage can also harm you in the long run. So where’s the middle ground? Here are the top natural alternatives to sunscreen that will help minimize sun damage while not invading your body with harmful man made chemicals.
- Diet: As always, it’s important to start anything that concerns your body by focusing on your diet. Everything you put in your body controls in some way or another how your body looks and acts. Remember what we said in our last blog? Good skin comes from the inside out. This also means that you can help prepare your skin for the sun through what you eat. 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.
- Clothing: Clothing is the easiest and most obvious option for protection. It’s important to get some Vitamin D though, so cover up after about 20 minutes in the sun by wearing something white to reflect rays or even just a sunhat.
- Astaxanthin: This is what gives salmon their reddish pink coloring. They get it from microalgae that produce astaxanthin to protect themselves from UV rays. Literally a bit of sunscreen in a pill, astaxanthin is protects our skin from solar injuries and even helps prevent DNA from being damaged by ultra violet rays.
- Sesame Oil: Pure sesame oil can block out approximately 30 percent of the sun’s rays.
Apply sesame oil to the exposed skin once every one to two hours for maximum sun protection.
- Red Raspberry Seed Oil: This is one of the best seed-oil sunscreens. It averages between 28-50 SPF and blocks the troublesome UVB rays.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can block up to 20% of the sun’s rays. You should apply once an hour for maximum protection.
- Carrot Seed Oil: Carrot seed oil may be a little harder to find, but it boasts 38-40 SPF.
- Wheat Germ Oil: Wheat germ oil is naturally moisturizing while touting an SPF of 20.
- Aloe Vera: Normally we think of aloe vera for application after we’ve been in a sun as it can soothe a sunburn. However, it can also be used as a sunscreen as it, like coconut oil, can block up to 20% of the sun’s rays. Apply every one to two hours.
- Natural Sunscreens: There are still several sunscreens available on the market that don’t contain harmful ingredients. To find out what they are and which works best for you, check out the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) yearly list of sunscreens that make the cut.
- Make Your Own Sunscreen: You can even make your own sunscreen by mixing some of the above ingredients with other ingredients like shea butter and beeswax. You can find different recipes online like this one.
Summer shouldn’t be spent worrying about what toxins are getting into your body – summer should be about having fun, vacations, time at the beach and time with your family. Use our sunscreen alternatives and enjoy your summer!