5 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage (Without Using a Chemical Sunscreen)
Protecting Your Skin From Sun Damage is Important
If you are going to be outside it is important to protect your skin from sun damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. All year round!
In the best case scenario, sun damage will just cause a few freckles and a little sunburn. Worst case scenario repeated and prolonged sun damage can cause skin cancer. And of course, sun damage can also cause wrinkles, discoloration of the skin, and skin sagginess.
Read more about sun damage here
But! It is also important to understand what you are putting on your skin to protect it.
2 Types of Store Bought Sunscreen
There are two types of active ingredients in sunscreens that are used to protect your skin from UV light. These two types are mineral filters and chemical filters.
Sunscreens that use mineral filters sit on top of your skin and block UV light. Two types of mineral filters are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Sunscreens that use chemical filters actually soak into your skin and into your bloodstream. Six of the common chemical filters that are used are avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. The problem with chemical filters is that many doctors report patients having skin reactions or allergies to these filters. Also, some chemical filters are considered to be endocrine disrupters.
What are endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can mimic natural hormones, and therefore interrupt your body’s normal endocrine (in other words hormone) systems if certain doses have been reached. When endocrine or hormone systems are disrupted it can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, problems with fertility, affect immune and nervous system functions, and developmental disorders.
At this point, in the scientific community, it is clear that chemicals do affect wildlife but very few chemicals have been tested in regards to their effects on humans.
“The relationship of human diseases of the endocrine system and exposure to environmental contaminants, however, is poorly understood and scientifically controversial (Kavlock et al., 1996, EPA, 1997).”
If you want to read more about endocrine disruptors check out what the EPA has to say about them.
You also might want to check out the Environmental Working Group’s 8 Little-Known Facts About Sunscreens.
How can you protect your skin from sun damage if you choose not to use a chemical sunscreen?
Check out the following five ways to protect your skin from sun damage without using a chemical sunscreen.
1. Limit your exposure to the sun.
If at all possible try to limit your exposure to the sun between 10 am and 4 pm when the suns rays are the strongest.
2. Wear light-weight long sleeves.
It is possible to be fashionable while covering up your skin with light-weight long sleeve shirts or cardigans.
One brand that offers some great protection is Coolibar
I particularly like tops like this –
3. Wear a hat.
There are so many amazing wide-brim hats to choose from. I have this one in black stripes and love it. The picture doesn’t do it justice. And it comes in tons of colors. Of course, it doesn’t keep the sun off your scalp but does protect your face.
And this one is super cute too!
3. Use a beach umbrella when relaxing outside.
Umbrellas are not just for rainy weather! Use your umbrella or get a large beach umbrella when you are spending a considerable amount of time outside. You can also get ones with anchors or order an anchor for an umbrella you already have if you are going to be in one spot and want to have your hands free.
Here is an example of a large and sturdy umbrella that can provide a lot of shade –
4. Use sheer mineral oils to put a protective layer on your skin.
An example of a mineral based sunscreen is Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Face Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50, Oil-Free, Non-Comedogenic & Non-Greasy Mineral Sunscreen.
5. Use essential oils and carrier oils to protect your skin.
Research suggests that sesame oil can reduce the sun’s ability to burn your skin by 30 percent. Research also suggests that coconut and olive oils can block the sun’s ability to burn by 20 percent. Aloe vera can protect skin from about 20 percent of the sun’s rays.
Studies are also suggesting that Pomegranate Oil and Raspberry Seed Oils help provide natural SPF protection.
If you are a nerd like me you might want to check out the following studies –
Two Essential Oils To Help Protect Skin Against Environmental Threats
There are also two essential oils that emerging research is suggesting that can help to keep the skin looking young and healthy. These two essential oils are Helichrysum and Arborvitae.
Applying Helichrysum to the face can also help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and to promote a glowing, youthful complexion. And Arborvitae promotes clear, healthy-looking skin.
Research also suggests that Helichrysum and Arborvitae essential oils can successfully block a portion of the sun’s harmful rays.