Sun Beauty Routine: Protecting Your Skin from the Sun Safely and Naturally
The long-awaited blog post about natural sun care and protecting your skin from our golden friend, the sun, as there is so much conflicting advice out there surrounding the topic of sun protection, suncreams and how to best protect your skin from the sun (naturally), so I thought now was the perfect time to share with you my top tips for protecting and nourishing your skin in the sun as today is such a sunny day in London. I've also recently returned from ten days in sunny Thailand, feeling utterly rejuvenated and recharged from the sun’s warm rays and excited to share with you my top tips for safe sun exposure and how to maintain beautiful skin in the sun.
First things first, with the increased awareness of the rise in skin cancer, it is normal to be a bit weary about sun exposure and the ensuing confusion as to what is truly safe or not. How much sun exposure is healthy and what makes it dangerous etc…? Indeed, the sun is essential to life on Earth and can provide some amazing health benefits if you respect its awesome power. A few minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day is actually good for you but you must not exceed this. A few minutes for fair-skinned people and perhaps up to 20 minutes or so for darker skin tones provides your body with much needed vitamin D. But any more sun exposure and you should be protecting yourself from potentially damaging UV rays with some organic suncream.
Some of you may not know that “normal” suncreams are some of the most toxic skin products around. Be on the look out for undesirable ingredients like oxybenzone and Vitamin A that actually cause a whole host of negative side effects including increased risk of skin cancer ironically. Though it sounds like Vitamin A would be a good thing to have in your sunscreen, it makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays. The EWG states that 20 percent of beach and sport sunscreens, as well as face sunscreens and SPF-enhanced makeup products contain vitamin A. While it is an antioxidant, it shouldn’t be on your body with sun exposure. It is thus very important to choose a sunscreen that is both kind to your skin and effective at blocking out those harmful rays. A good organic suncream should contain one of these two active ingredients: titanium oxide or zinc oxide. Thankfully there are an increasing number of conscious beauty brands that are developing and creating very effective natural and organic suncreams that are both kind to your skin and the planet as well as having wonderful textures and delicate natural scents. Another top tip it is best to use creams and lotions and not sprays because this way you won't inhale the particles that hit the air. After much research and product testing, I am happy to share with you my top pick for natural suncream: Green People’s SPF 15 Suncream with Sun Tan Accelerator (available on Ocado for a reasonable £18.95 for a tube of 200ml). If you’re in the US and can’t find this brand, another awesome organic suncream is Neem Pratima Organic Suncream.
Other essentials in my beach beauty kit are my carrot seed oil and coconut oil. It is claimed that organic extra virgin coconut oil naturally has an SPF of 8 and is effective at blocking out some rays in gentler climates but I do not recommend relying on this alone to go out in the sun. This is not enough for prolonged exposure in the sun or in very hot climates like in Thailand where you need more protection. Carrot seed oil is derived from the seeds of the wild carrot plant and is wonderfully effective in protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and bringing out a beautiful natural golden tan. Carrot seed oil is known for its properties to nourish, tighten and rejuvenate the skin. So how do you make your own carrot seed oil sunscreen? Dilute a few drops of carrot seed essential oil in some coconut oil and apply liberally to the body and face before sun exposure. As always, I recommend using Young Living essential oils as they are the purest, high-grade essential oils that I’ve come across. Again I do not recommend using this in isolation but perhaps for short periods of sun exposure in gentle sun or when the sun is less strong (either before 11am or after 3pm). This will also depend on the colour of your skin and how often you are exposed to sun. If you are very fair skinned and haven’t had any sun exposure in months, do not expose yourself in the sun wearing just the Carrot Seed Oil Sunscreen.
Also it is important to note that suncream only becomes effective 30 minutes after being applied to the skin so be sure that you are not overexposing your skin to the sun and remember to apply your suncream in the shade before going out in the sun. Remember to reapply every few hours and definitely after swimming, even if your cream says water-resistant or waterproof, you must reapply especially between 11am-3pm when the sun is hottest and most damaging.
Beach Beauty Foods & Supplements
Eating foods that are high in beta carotene like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squashes are all wonderful for bringing out that golden colour in your skin as you develop a tan, so stock up on ingredients to make this Sesame Carrot Salad or Raw Spiralised Sweet Potato Spaghetti with Pesto to get the glow. I also love Purearth's Hey Glow juice, all their juices are raw, cold-pressed and organic, and this one is made of carrots, sweet potatoes, apple, yellow pepper, lime, lemon, turmeric root and ginger, so YUM! It is also important to eat an abundance of omega 3 to support skin health so load up on sustainably-sourced oily fish and/or omega 3 supplements ( I recommend using Higher Nature’s Omega 3 Fish Oils). Another supplement to invest in to nurture this golden tan is astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that gives salmon and flamingo their pink hue and will also give you a golden glow; it also helps heal scars and remove age spots. Eating salmon alone will not give you the benefits of astaxanthin supplements, as you would have to eat massive amounts of salmon per day which is not recommended. I recommend using Higher Nature's astaxanthin.
After Sun Care
Finally, after sun care is equally important as protecting yourself from the sun. Almost everyone has heard of the unparalleled benefits of aloe vera for healing the skin, especially sun-exposed skin. But not all aloe vera products are created equally and some should be avoided. It is important to note here that with proper sun protection, you should never allow yourself to burn, as it does damage the skin and if you follow my beach beauty tips, you should never burn. But whether you are burned or not, I highly recommend following an aftersun routine and always moisturise and cool the skin with an aloe vera based aftersun cream, or even better fresh aloe vera straight from the plant if you have an aloe vera plant at home or nearby. Last summer whilst sailing in Croatia, we came across a few islands in the Adriatic that had aloe vera plants growing like wildfire (especially on the island of Hvar), so we were able to nourish our sun-kissed skins straight from the source, it was amazing and so effective for cooling those parts of the body that perhaps got a bit too sunned! For those of you wondering how you apply aloe vera straight from the plant, you simply break off a leaf and cut it open and apply the cooling sap directly onto the skin. You can refrigerate the leaves to keep them fresh for longer. If you don’t have access to an aloe vera plant, then there are a few fantastic organic aloe vera aftersun creams that I highly recommend, like this one. If you can’t find any organic aloe vera aftersun creams, then coconut oil or olive oil are fantastic oils to nourish and replenish the skin too.
Happy sunning and embrace your inner beach goddess (or god) with these natural beauty tips!
Warm and sunny kisses,