Do you get enough sunlight? Do you get too much? How do you get sunlight, and how much does your body need?
The first way to get your daily sunlight is through your skin. But we all know sunburns are no good for your skin’s health.
There is buzz in the media lately about the potentially harmful effects of popular packaged sunblock ingredients on our bodies. I’ve seen online posts from people talking about whether or not to use sunblock at all anymore, and whether the perceived danger from sunblock is just hype. The discussion is centered around 2 main points:
1) Whether the chemical ingredients are carcinogenic. The Environmental working group identifies oxybenzone and retinyl palminate as the main ingredients to avoid.
2) Whether reduced sun exposure from wearing sunblock leads to potentially harmful vitamin D deficiency.
Interesting facts about our skin:
1) The Harvard School of Public Health (and other health/wellness orgs) recommends 15 minutes of unprotected (no sunblock) sunlight each day for the most vitamin D benefits, without the risks of negative effects, 2) Your skin is your biggest organ. It is an effective barrier to protect the body, but it absorbs any molecules which are small enough to move through the skin. Transdermal delivery of medicine through the skin is an example of this. Some ingredients in sunblock may be small enough to pass through the skin’s barrier.
Thus, it is clear we do need sunlight on our skin daily, but not very much of it. Also, it’s important to be aware that your skin can absorb chemicals just from touching them.
If you have a job or hobby outdoors that requires daily sunblock to avoid sunburn, the sunblock discussion can be frustrating. But don’t despair! Use the information to your benefit, and find the best course of action for yourself. There are a variety of sunblock ingredients available from different brands, so do your homework to find which is best for your lifestyle. To get your research started, an example of a natural sunblock you can make at home is at http://wellnessmama.com/4844/sunscreen-bars/ . Talk to your health practitioner or dermatologist about all the options.
Besides through your skin, there is one more very important way to get your daily dose of sunlight. Through your mouth! When you eat plant foods, especially raw ones, you are eating sunlight that has been processed by the plant to become edible. So much variety, so many leaves, so many colors.
So, load up your plate with plants, and make an informed decision about how much sun to get and what kind of sunblock is best for you. Enjoy the sun!
Written by Aja Uranga-Foster, Holistic Life Coach