Sunlight and Health - tanning safely
Article supplied by Prue King
Make your own natural tanning lotion
We are creatures of the sun. We all know how good it feels to spend time outdoors with a little sun on our skin.
Some exposure to open-air, unfiltered sunlight each day is essential to good health and beneficial to our eyes, brain, skin & hormones. Ideally we should spend one hour /day outside without sunglasses to filter the light - some time with the sun directly on our skin, but not so we burn - and the rest in the shade.
Vitamin D is manufactured in our bodies from exposure to sunlight. Lack of sunlight or overuse of sunscreens can result in Vitamin D deficiency, osteoporosis and also rickets in growing children.
There is of course a danger in overexposure to the sun - if we burn repeatedly we can get skin cancer. It is important to know your own limits of exposure and keep below the level that you burn - starting off slowly you can gradually increase your daily exposure and build up a healthy & protecting tan.
The beneficial effects of sunlight were recognised by the ancient yogis who recommended around 20 minutes sunbathing each day (dependant on your skin type, location, time of day and not burning). Exposure to early morning light wakes up & energises the body, whilst being outside at sunset will calm the body, stimulating the production of melatonin & getting the body ready for sleep.
Many sunscreens contain chemicals that may in fact be harmful and can be carcinogenic when exposed to the UV rays in sunlight. PABA, found in many sunscreens inhibits the production of Vitamin D.
It is better to limit your exposure to the sun and cover up or move to the shade than apply these chemicals to your body routinely. “Natural” sunscreens can be used when longer exposure is unavoidable. A tan built up slowly without burning also has a protective effect.
Nutrition for Skin Protection and Repair
- Oils rich in essential fatty acids from nuts & seeds protect the skin and absorb UV rays – these should be included in your diet and can also be applied to the skin.
- Vitamins A, C and E and carotene, zinc, selenium & sulphur prevent damage from UV-generated free radicals and help in skin repair & regeneration.
- Aloe vera soothes and repairs sunburnt skin.
Wishing you a healthy & happy summer in the sun!
Make Your Own Natural Tanning Lotion
Use equal parts coconut, almond & flax oils, with extra Vitamin E (break open a couple of capsules) and aloe vera.
Even with this, it is important to build up your exposure time in the sun slowly to gauge your individual response and avoid the dreaded sunburn. If you should be unfortunate enough to burn – apply lashings of aloe vera.
Reference: 'Fats that Kill & Fats that Heal' by Udo Erasmus