Summer sun and fun bring potential risks in the form of UV rays. July is national UV awareness month.  Here are some important things to keep in mind with increased sun exposure:


*Sun Protection/Sunscreens Wearing hats, lightweight long-sleeves and long trousers can give you the most protection from the sun’s UV rays -and keep you cooler – when working outdoors for extended periods.


The EWG recommends using sunscreen with 7% zinc oxide as the active ingredient. Avoid oxybenzenes, parabens, and lots of chemical additives.  For a more detailed list of ingredients to avoid, click here.


*Remedies for Sunburns Mild Sunburns: Old-fashioned aloe vera squeezed from the leaf or a tube can help soothe a burn. Learn the best way to harvest your aloe here. Applying vinegar to a burn can reduce stinging pain. Other topical aides to keep on hand include: Theraneem Neem Leaf and Aloe Lotion, Boiron Calendula lotion, Emu Oil, and Miracle Mist.

*Benefits of UV UV-B rays activate vitamin D in the skin. 15-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on the backs of your hands or knees can help to keep your vitamin D levels up. It can take up to 2 to 3 days to fully absorb this production, so avoid washing away the good oils and early vitamin D activity from your skin by only using soap on the necessary parts of the body: smelly parts (arm pits, private parts, hands and feet).

*Protect Your Eyes Sunglasses that protect from both UVA and UVB rays can help keep your eyes healthy as you age. Sun-damage to the eyes can contribute to early development of eye problems like cataracts, macular degeneration or other damaging eye growths.

*Monitor Your Moles Watch for changes in color, shape, elevation and borders. Make sure your physician is checking your moles at your annual visits and have your dermatologist look at anything you think is suspect or changing.

*Antioxidants Eat your fruits and veggies! Foods high in antioxidants can help offset some of the oxidative damage from the sun. Green food supplements and super-food powders, like Power Greens or VitaMineral Green, can give you an extra boost.

Article by Julia Strickler, ND