Extended outdoor exposure especially in the summer leads to high ultraviolet (UV) exposure, which is a huge hazard for skin. Since the sun’s UV rays trigger sunburns and premature aging of the skin, this is a first-rate recipe for creating a much higher risk of developing skin cancer. Here’s how to avoid skin damage:
Prevention is the key.
To keep skin healthy and radiant, make sure to prevent or minimize high-risk conditions such as excessive exposure to UV rays, not getting enough sleep, smoking, dehydration, poor nutrition, and ingesting caffeine and alcohol.
The best way to care for your skin is from the inside out, so be sure to eat foods high in antioxidants like CoQ10, resveratrol and astaxanthin, which are good sources to aid in skin repair. Also make sure to eat foods high in healthy oils, vitamin C and collagen, or you can take high-quality supplements. Make sure that your fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, K are up to par, and take in minerals such as zinc and selenium, which are also critical for skin repair. Some people report benefits from various specialty skin supplements including phytoceramides, but my approach is to always make sure that you have covered the basics first.
Hydration cannot be stressed enough for skin care and overall health, so adding trace minerals to your water can be extremely beneficial, especially if you have been sweating or drinking alcohol. We sell a variety of drops to add to your water, including one from Trace Minerals Research.
Next, make sure you’re protecting your skin on the outside as well. Here are my recommendations:
I like Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens for researching ingredients in commercial sunscreens. Make sure to look for something that contains zinc oxide, but make sure to avoid nano-particles.
Personally, my skin reacts to most types of commercial sunscreen, so I wear loose-fitting long sleeves and hats the majority of the time I am outside in the summer. I spend a lot of time on our family farm working outdoors, so covering up is especially critical out there.
Whichever methods you choose, just protect your skin! It has to last you for a whole lifetime.
Tips and remedies for stressed skin, sunburn, and after sun care.
Hydrate. Moisturize. Minimize use of drying soaps and long, hot showers. Load up on vitamin C and antioxidants. I tend to use single ingredient home remedies to help support skin because I am often looking for something quick to help. You can apply black tea topically for its astringent skin-tightening properties to help stressed skin, or try cucumbers for rehydrating tissues, especially the delicate tissues around the eyes. Vinegar or mustard can take the sting out of a sunburn. The key, again, is don’t overdo it and plan ahead!
What to do after overdoing sun exposure.
The best natural remedy for sunburn is aloe vera. Try to use a fresh leaf when possible or the most pure form you can purchase. I keep some sliced aloe leaves ready in the freezer to help with the occasional kitchen burn, but this is also great for sunburns. Miracle Mist is another personal favorite for topical use as it helps with burn repair by addressing the pH and microbial balance of the skin.
Fruit Anthocyanins by Mitchell Health is one of the most delicious ways to ingest good antioxidants to counter sun exposure. I add one spoonful to a Topo Chico with a squeeze of lime for a tasty after outdoor beverage.
Make sure to take care of your skin. Being outdoors is an essential part of wellness for most people, so make sure to be smart about the kind of exposure you choose. Come and visit any one of our Peoples Rx locations to learn more about ways that you can take care of your skin from the inside out and the outside in.
By Julia Strickler, ND*
Julia is a naturopathic doctor who works at the South, Central and Westlake Peoples locations.
*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.