In an exceptional time, I think many of us are probably feeling exceptionally grateful for the sun. It's spring and everything is starting to feel a bit brighter, and more hopeful. Have you seen the flowers? Yards in full bloom make us very happy - for that, we are very grateful! We hope that you've been enjoying some of springs bounty also.
As we begin the transition toward summer, it feels appropriate to talk about the sun. Even though we love a sunny day - culturally, we are taught to fear the sun for what it can do to the health of our skin. It's all so conflicting. On one hand we know that the sun helps boost D3 levels, increases serotonin production, boosts your immune system, and improves brain health (all of which most of us can immediately feel). On the other hand, the sun ages us, causes freckling, skin spots, damage, and skin cancer.
So is the sun good or bad?!
We'd like to suggest responsible sun exposure from the perspective that the sun is an absolute miracle to all of life and something we shouldn't be afraid of! The sun helps life flourish. Just a few minutes out in the sun for any of us is typically a boost in mood. It is our opinion that the sun is more than just a dose of Vitamin D or serotonin. The sun is a full spectrum life force whose benefits we have only just started to experience.
This does not mean that our bodies are equipped to handle excessive sun exposure. Baking unnaturally in midafternoon rays and covered in SPF and chemicals does not make for happy skin! This is where we believe the most damage can occur. On top of this, have you been feeding your skin's cells with nourishing and hydrating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals? For most of us, the answer is no. So not only are we applying suspect ingredients to our external bodies, we are filling our internal bodies with them too. This is far from helping our skin's natural resilience to sunlight.
This is why we believe that the subject of sun exposure should not be a one size fits all formula.
Here are our top 5 ways to benefit from the sun naturally...
1. Know your skin type. If you are someone who burns easily, use caution. Burning is not healthy. If you have fair skin and are going to spend the day at the beach, we recommend covering in sun protective clothing, a hat, or using an umbrella rather than slathering yourself in sunscreen and baking in the sun. Lighter complexion people do absorb the sun more easily (and perhaps its benefits) so enjoy the sun responsibly in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Don't get burned!
2. Start Slowly. Instead of spending all winter indoors and then frying yourself on your first day of summer vacation, try to get a little sun during spring. As mentioned, safer sunbathing hours are before noon or after 2. The morning sun is some of the most beneficial so if you work from home, take a few minutes in the earlier morning to charge your battery and get some sun! Not only will you feel better and have more energy, you'll enjoy a more productive workday.
3. Nourish your skin. Internal and external nourishment is key. Why we think that moisturizers full of petroleum derived ingredients help make us beautiful is mind boggling. In our opinion, the true way to nourish your skin is through plant-based oils and nutrient dense foods. These ingredients naturally contain a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals that boost our bodies adaptive abilities. Most of us walk around chronically dehydrated and depleted of vital minerals and nutrients. Think of the foods that flourish in the sun - citrus, melons, tropical fruits, herbs - all of which are full of antioxidants and deeply nourishing.
4. Hydrate. Staying hydrated is so good for your skin (not surprisingly). This means more than just drinking water. If you are eating a diet high in processed foods and salt - you will naturally be dehydrated, and the amount of water you have to combat this is more than you can drink in a day. The key to truly staying hydrated is eating foods that are also high in water content. Lots of raw foods, salads, greens, and fruits are all deeply hydrating - on a cellular level!
5. Don't rely on sunscreen. We've already mentioned this, and perhaps coming from us, you've probably already guessed that we're anti synthetic SPFs. Not only is it damaging to our bodies, it's also damaging to our coral reefs, aquatic life, water, environments, etc. All that said, there are some great zinc based sun creams out there that we like. Our friends at Manda Naturals make a great sun cream using thanaka. If you know that you're going to be exposed without coverage, be smart and healthy about what you use.
It's important to remember that it's all connected. The sun gives life to earth. It grows the food we eat, and it heals us in ways we don't fully understand. To think that we can or should "protect" ourselves from the sun is a bit of a misnomer. Rather we should have intelligent interactions with the sun. We believe that we should use the suns power responsibly to enhance our health, happiness and overall sense of well-being.
Spring is here in the northern hemisphere with summer now only a few weeks away. We know that everyone has been inside more than usual. We invite you to step outside (responsibly) and let the sunshine in!