There's so much hype out there about staying out of the sun, using gobs of sunscreen at all times of the day and basically that the sun is just bad for you. Well, honestly, I just don't know if that true.
Here's the thing, the sun, in the right amounts helps plants and trees grow. Now, they need water, soil and nutrients as well in order to be healthy. If they get too much sun without the rest of these factors, then they get dry, shrivel up and die. Wouldn't it make sense that our relationship with the sun should be similar. Yes, we are not plants, but we're living things that have needed the sun for thousands of years. Vitamin D anyone?
Yes, I agree that our atmosphere and ozone layer has changed in the last one hundred years with the huge expansion of industry and factories. However, my personal opinion is that I don't think the sun is the huge bad guy that the media and dermatologists make it out to be.
First let's talk wrinkles. I've read countless magazine articles and a couple of books by some very well known dermatologists that say you MUST wear sunscreen at all times to avoid wrinkles. They say as soon as you get into the sun, you're at risk for cancer, you're skin begins to break down with free radicals caused by the sun. Well, I've met women who almost never go into the sun because they have very fair skin and they still have wrinkles! So that says to me, that staying out of the sun all the time or wearing sunscreen at all times does not prevent you from getting wrinkles.
I've also met women who have had entirely too much sun and have a ton of wrinkles to prove it. Some of these women have been runners or athletes that are outside for long periods of time. So...yes, being in the sun for too long can also cause wrinkles.
So I believe there is a middle ground. And different people, just like plants, have different needs for the sun. If you look at it from that point of view, it makes a lot of sense. Some people are very fair skinned and can only handle a little bit of sun, but they still need it that tiny bit. Then there are the ones that just tan and rarely burn. Whichever you are, sun is an important aspect of our health and our lives.
Here has been my experience...my skin can get pretty pale in the colder months. I'm mainly Irish and Italian, but also have French, Russian, German and Iroquois Indian blood. I have the ability to tan in the sun though. However, remember when I told you guys that I used to eat terrible when I was in my teens? Well, I could never get tan back then. I would try and try. I would lay out at the beach (never did tanning beds) and you would think I would get tan from being a competitive swimmer...nope. I would just burn. In that case, being the in sun wasn't good for me. If I compared myself to a plant like I did earlier, you could say that I was getting too much sun and not getting enough of the nutrients, water and soil that I needed. In other words, I wasn't eating the right foods to allow me to handle the sun.
Now, I make sure I eat the right foods that give me the nutrients that I need. However, there is one thing that really makes a huge difference in regards to my ability to handle the sun and tan. It's omega 3 fatty acid. Have you heard of it? I'm sure you have...did you know that most people don't get enough of it? Yup, you probably have heard that too. If you eat mainly processed foods, chances are that you're getting way more Omega 6 fatty acid than you need and not enough Omega 3s. You can get the Omega 3 Fatty acid from fish oil and ground flax seeds or flax seed oil. It's essential for our health.
Anyway! Long story short, I did a little experiment. This summer, besides eating my usual pescatarian diet, I started taking a spoonful of flax seed oil every day to see if it helps my skin handle the sun. Usually I'm the type that burns first and then tans. Well, I'm happy to report that I have not gotten burned once this summer! In fact, I have only tanned and I've barely used any sunscreen except for on my face.
I heard about using the Omega 3s first from my dad, and then also from a nutritionist. Usually, when we think about the sun and tanning, we always think about what we put on our bodies, but it's actually what we put in our bodies that's more important. Sunscreen can help too, but honestly, I'm wary of most. Most have chemicals that do you more harm than good when you're baking in the sun. So for me, I use some sunscreen on my face when I know that I'm going to be in the sun for long periods of time. I don't use it every day all day. I try to get a little bit of sun here or there. If I'm laying out at the pool, I'll lay out for about an hour or so, not all day. If I'm at the beach all day, I wear a big straw hat and mix a little bit of sunscreen with coconut oil. Lately, I've just been using the coconut oil if I'm laying out for just an hour...but I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea, coconut oil is not sunscreen. I've just found that I haven't been getting burned when I use it for short periods of time.
I'm not saying this is going to work for everyone, especially if you have light skin you need to be careful. The good news is that if you usually just burn, make sure you get your Omega 3s and see if there is any difference. Obviously, I'm not a doctor so I don't know exactly how much you need, but a small spoonful of flax seed oil a day is what I take. This is just my theory and is an experiment that seems to be working.
I hope this post sparks some thought about how we view the sun these days and also how to protect ourselves naturally the way we are meant to from the sun. I don't know about you guys, but I'm so over applying gooey, gross, oily, thick white sunscreen filled with chemicals. Ugh!
Please let me know if you guys try this or what you think. I'm not making any promises here, it's just happened to work for me and I'm curious if it works for any of you. Again, I'm not a doctor so use common sense and check with your doctor or nutritionist to see who much Omega 3s you need a day before trying this.
K friends, enjoy your day :)