Sun Smart Skin Care Guide

NaturesFace.comWarmer days ahead will be shining light on our worries about how to enjoy outdoor activities without causing wrinkles and unwanted skin damage. The good news is that expanding knowledge of nutrition and natural skin care strategies has brought us a virtual inside-and-out tool kit for meeting the challenge of staying attractive and healthy through the summer season—and through the years ahead.

Eat colorful antioxidant-rich foods daily
Current research has proven the common sense of our garden-planting grandparents: summer’s most plentiful fruits and veggies, such as tomatoes, peppers, dark greens, lettuces, broccoli, berries, cantaloupe and watermelon, are filled with protective carotenoids which stop inflammation and help protect skin cells (and eyes) from UV damage.

Drink cell-protecting beverages and stay hydrated
Green tea, black, oolong and white teas are packed with antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. Surprisingly, white tea contains the most anthocyanins and the least caffeine. Just don’t overdo tea, coffee or sodas…too much caffeine can cause dehydration (and loss of skin-and-hair-nourishing B vitamins). Aim for a daily water intake of half your body weight in ounces to create moist, radiant skin.

Avoid potentially harmful sunscreen ingredients
Studies have shown several chemical ingredients in sunscreens to be suspected carcinogens or hormone disruptors. Some to avoid are: Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-3, OD-PABA, Homosalate and Octyl-methoyl-cinnamates (OMC). Find an on-line database rating product safety at: www.ewg.org/sunscreen.

Use mineral-based physical sunblocks
New non-chemical sunblocks contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, giving broad spectrum protection that begins immediately when applied to skin. Recommended for the whole family is zinc-based Badger SPF 30 Sunblock for face and body–#1 on Environmental Working Group’s Top 10 Sunscreen list. Great for adult faces is Desert Essence Organics SPF 30 Age Reversal Mineral Sunscreen. Tip: apply sunscreen to hands and arms before driving–and store the tube out of the heat.

▪ Give extra care to your face, neck and lips
Never use an exfoliating scrub immediately before sun exposure. Use a solar protective moisturizer under your sunscreen or makeup, plus a natural lip gloss with SPF 15 over lip color. Add more face, neck & decoletté protection with mineral foundation or bronzers (for ladies) and colorless brush-on minerals (for men or women). Choose tested quality products such as Mineralogie’s SPF 26 mineral foundation. ( www.mineralogie.biz ).

Plan your ‘sunshine strategy’ well
The body needs 10-15 minutes daily sun exposure to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D—the trick is to get your sunshine vitamin at ideal times. Avoid the burning rays between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must be in the sun for extended periods, consider sun-protective clothing with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) of 15 to 50+. Check medications and supplements for any sun precautions. The herb St. John’s Wort, for example, increases photosensitivity. And remember to carry botanical after-sun soothers like aloe gel and calendula lotion to cool and repair your skin!

Barbara Carr is a holistic Licensed Esthetician in Raleigh, NC. E-mail: barbara@naturesface.com or call: 919-845-4385.  Natures Face website: www.NaturesFace.com

From Nature’s Face Blog: naturesface.wordpress.com

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