Summer is here and as much as we try and avoid getting burnt chances are it will happen at least once over the next few months when you least expect it on an overcast day or whilst down by the coast where the rays reflect off the water.
Traditional chemical based suntan lotions currently have no evidence showing they prevent skin cancers and since their first introduction the rate of skin cancers has risen. Traditional sunscreens use chemicals that disrupt our endocrine system and as we know we absorb 90% of what we put on our skin these chemicals are getting into our body, which is no good.
I have mentioned before the naturopathic lifestyle is holistic. Altering your diet is great but to make the big changes in how we feel we have to look at every aspect responsibly and natural skincare is an important part of this, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!
As well as this sunscreens block out the all-important Vitamin D that our bodies need for optimum wellbeing. Most people are deficient in Vitamin D and it can be an important vitamin in reducing the likelihood of depression, again another epidemic at the moment. A great vegetarian food source of vitamin D is shitake mushrooms.
Food oils like coconut oil and almond oil naturally have an element of SPF (sun protection factor) in them of 4-6 and make a great base for something like carrot seed oil, which has an SPF of 35-40. So these can be used to create natural barriers for the sun that are nourishing your skin at the same time.
Zinc oxide that tends to be used as the barrier in all natural sun creams on the market has an SPF of up to 20 and you can purchase this online and combine with your favourite natural moisturisers.
I suggest wearing a sunscreen on your face every day to avoid this more sensitive area getting burnt and speeding up the wrinkling process but allowing a lower spf on the rest of your body in order to maintain vitamin D production and spend the hottest hours of the day (Around midday) in the shade.
Great brands for natural sunscreen are:
Prevention is always better than cure and it does mean taking responsibility for ourselves in the sun which I know can be a bit of a bore sometimes and so I have included a list of some natural solutions to the well know discomfort of sunburn for all you last day of holiday blast bakers!
Great natural solutions for sunburn are:
Aloe Vera– An old favourite the aloe has been famous since biblical times for its healing qualities. You can purchase it in tubes but it usually comes with a preservative so I suggest nurturing your own plant. Keep it well watered and when you need its help just slice off a leaf and scoop out the jelly and apply to the burnt skin frequently throughout the day. It has a natural cooling effect and will prevent scarring.
Cold compresses– Using a damp flannel dotted with lavender oil and placed in the freezer can be great for reducing the initial heat of a bad burn. As the flannel warms up place it back in the freezer ad grab another. Lavender is very soothing for burns and will reduce your anxiety.
As a natural anti inflammatory and healer calendula which comes from the marigold plant can be very effective relief for sunburn and if you make a tea from the flowers and leave them to cool you can use it to soak your burns in.
Creams are also available that contain Calendula from places like A vogel and Neals Yard.
Tea is a useful sunburn remedy especially if you have nothing else at hand. Soak 5 tea bags in 5 cups of water for 15-20 minutes and allow to cool and place in fridge. Then use the teabags as a poultice or soak the limb in the tea water. Tea naturally contains tannins that are released when steeped and these tannins act as astringents that help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Apply a slice of raw potato immediately to the burn and lightly wrap it so it’s touching the skin. Change the potato every 30 minutes. The potato acts to pull out the heat from the burn.
Pure raw honey is a great healer and used on the skin for wounds or burns it is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Not so great in the summer months as you may attract the flies too!
The homeopathic remedy Sol (The Sun) in 6x or 6c potency is an effective remedy taken every 4 hours as soon as you realise you are burnt.
Homeopathy works on the laws of similars. The idea that you can initiate healing in the body by stimulating the vital force with a small amount of a substance that causes the same symptoms as those that you are experiencing. In this way the vital force knows to correct itself.
You could also use Cantharis that is useful for all kinds of burns including scalding. For mild sunburns use 6-12c potencies and more severe you may need to go up to 200c. If the sunburn has a prickly or itching sensation then go straight for the Urtica Urens (Common Nettle).
You can also use the tissue salt Kali Mur (6x) alongside the homeopathic remedy you choose to help relieve the discomfort. This remedy is better for keeping still and for cold applications and is associated with the second stage of inflammation.
Avocadoes and Cucumbers
Therapeutically Cucumbers and avocados are very cooling and placing them on any burn will offer relief and nourishment as well as reduce the tendency to wrinkles that might come after frequent sun exposure!
Enjoy the sunshine and have a great summer!