Summer’s here and even though it seems like it never leaves San Diego, for the rest of the country summer means vacation, beach going and outdoor fitness such as surfing, hiking, or rock climbing. Everyone knows that sunscreen is important for skin care, but is it good for the environment?
Like protein coffee, not all sunscreens are made equally. Hawaii was one of the first to ban sunscreens brands like Banana Boat and Coppertone for their chemical destruction of ocean life. Sunscreen can wash off the skin of swimmers, surfers, and beach goers while in the ocean. The chemicals in sunscreen such as oxybenzone and octinoxate are toxic to ocean life. These chemicals are absorbed by coral reefs which are home to diverse sea life, and support the communities nearby. Oxybenzone and octinoxate increase stress in coral reefs which shows up in the form of coral reef bleaching. Those two chemicals also affect the reproductive systems in sea creatures and mammals, by increasing reproductive diseases and development deformities that can threaten the future sea life population.
Worried that sunscreen is not cutting it?
SPF, also known as Sun Protection Factor, is important but if you want to ensure extra protection, add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet to increase your sun protection level. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene which is a carotenoid pigment that can increase your sun tolerance. Almonds are a source of vitamin E, which is used in preventing cancer and can protect the skin against inflammation from sun radiation. And since sunburn can dehydrate your skin, you can follow up your morning protein coffee with a glass of water with a few slices of cucumber. Cucumbers also have vitamin E and contain 95% water, which will help reduce swelling and redness. Cucumbers can be crushed up and added into sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and be used as a face mask. For burns, take a cucumber slice and rub it directly onto the burn.
What can I do if I already have a sunburn?
If you do have a sunburn it is important to stay away from sun exposure. To relieve the burn, apply cold compresses and use plants such as Aloe Vera to heal the skin. Aloe Vera gel is best straight from the plant, but if you are searching for one in-store look for all natural, organic 100% Aloe Vera gel.
Don’t have Aloe Gel on hand?
You do not need to run to the store for aloe gel, some of the best remedies can be found in your pantry. One of the quickest and easiest ways to rid yourself of a sunburn is by pressing a washcloth wet with chilled milk directly on the areas of the burn. The nutrients from the milk build a layer of protecting in the skin while cooling the burn. Plain Greek yogurt can also be used, just apply like a mask to the burned places on your body and leave for 5-10 minutes or until the burn has subsided. Another option is to take a bath with a few cups of apple cider vinegar, black tea bags, or milk, instead of the soap suds which can dry out skin. After the bath you can apply coconut oil to hydrate the skin. The fats in the coconut oil will not only hydrate but penetrate the skin and prevent peeling and future skin wrinkles.