Tag Archives: natural sun protection

Sun Protection

More than Sunscreen: Comprehensive Sun Protection

More than Sunscreen: Comprehensive Sun Protection

Most of us welcome the summer months. After all, a healthy dose of sunshine has been linked with better bone health, higher levels of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, and improved sleep quality. However, we can have too much of a good thing. A sensible approach to sun protection is essential to prevent premature skin ageing and other damaging effects from too much sun exposure.

Surprisingly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has reported that sunscreens are linked with a higher risk of melanoma (1). A recent review has supported these findings, linking sunscreen use with increased risk of moles and malignant melanoma (2). The agency suggests that this could be partly because those who wear sunscreen do so in order th48at they can spend longer in the sun. The protective effect of sunscreen is then outweighed by overexposure to the sun, meaning the idea of sun protection for the individual is compromised. The Working Group concluded that sunscreens do indeed protect against skin cancer, but only if consumers use it sensibly, and as only one part of their sun protection strategy:

“Use of sunscreens should be one part of a comprehensive sun avoidance strategy that includes moving into shade when the sun is near zenith and the use of protective clothing.”

Clearly, staying out of direct sunlight when the sun is at its strongest – between the hours of 10am and 2pm – is a sensible measure. Covering up with a light linen shirt and a wide brimmed hat can also offer good sun protection whilst allowing the wearer to stay cool and comfortable.

Recent studies have also investigated ways of protecting the skin from the inside – especially with nutrients that help to protect the skin from free radical damage, increase natural resistance to UVA and UVB light and fight inflammation. Here are three top supplements for inside-out protection:

1. Lycopene

Naturally present in tomatoes, red peppers and grapefruit, lycopene is a carotenoid that neutralises the harmful effects of UV light. Human studies have found that lycopene offers protection against sun damage: women supplementing just 16mg lycopene each day experienced significant sun protection (3). Eating plenty of tomato-based meals can provide a good amount of lycopene each day. Some multivitamin formulas are also fortified with lycopene for additional antioxidant benefits.

2. Astaxanthin

Even more potent than lycopene, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with multiple health benefits. It is produced by microalgae, serving as a protective shield against UV radiation at times when water is sparse and sunlight is strong.

Known as the ‘King of Antioxidants’, astaxanthin is hundreds of times more powerful than other antioxidants such as vitamin E when it comes to quenching oxidative damage from sunlight. Lab studies have confirmed that astaxanthin offers protection from UVA damage, and preliminary human trials have shown that just three weeks of supplementation with 4mg astaxanthin resulted in significant sun protection (4,5).

Omega-3

When your skin is at risk of sun damage, a bodily process called ‘p53 expression’ is triggered to protect it. When this process goes awry, this can result in melanoma. Omega-3 oils appear to protect the skin by regulating this process. Several studies support the sun protection benefits of omega-3 supplementation. People with higher levels of omega-3 in their blood show less sun damage, and 4g of omega-3 daily has been found to reduce sunburn and reduce damaging p53 in the skin (6,7).

One final consideration when using sunscreen is that these protective sun creams also block synthesis of vitamin D. This might be a particular concern for those of us who are careful to use sunscreen regularly – especially as many of us spend a lot of time indoors, and are based in the UK where UV light is not as strong. When using a sunscreen of SPF15 or above, or if regularly using cosmetics and moisturizers with added UV protection, it may be wise to supplement vitamin D in order to ensure sufficient levels throughout the year.

Topical sunscreens are certainly a sensible measure to protect the skin, but the Cancer Research Agency agrees that it is only part of the story. Adding a healthy diet rich in protective antioxidants and skin-healthy nutrients will also help to ensure that your skin is protected from the inside out.

References
1. Vainio H, et al. Cancer-preventive effects of sunscreens are uncertain. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health 2000;26(6):529-531
2. Autier P. Sunscreen abuse for intentional sun exposure. Br J Dermatol. 2009;161 Suppl 3:40-5
3. Stahl W et al (2001) Dietary tomato paste protects against ultraviolet light-induced erythema in humans. J Nutr 131(5):1449-51.
4. Lyons NM and O’Brien NM (2002) Modulatory effects of an algal extract containing astaxanthin on UVA-irradiated cells in culture. Journal of Dermatological Science 30(1):73-84
5. Clinical Trial Indicates Sun Protection from BioAstin Supplement. http://www.cyanotech.com/pdfs/bioastin/batl33.pdf
6. van der Pol JC et al (2011) Serum omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and cutaneous p53 expression in an Australian population. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 20(3):530-6.
7. Rhodes LE et al (2003) Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, on UVR-related cancer risk in humans. An assessment of early genotoxic markers. Carcinogenesis 24(5):919-925

Share

Can chemical-free sunscreen help prickly heat?

Hot summer weather and beach holidays are adored by many but for around 10% of the population they can mean days of itchy misery thanks to a common condition called prickly heat. This tends to affect people year after year but could something as simple as switching to a non-waterproof, chemical-free sunscreen reduce the irritating effects of prickly heat?

What is prickly heat?

Also known as miliaria, it causes bumps or blisters to appear in a rash across areas of skin during a spate of hot weather. The rash can take several days to disappear, even if conditions are much cooler.

Avoid Prickly Heat
Avoid Prickly Heat by staying cool and keeping hydrated in the sunshine.

Prickly heat can appear almost anywhere on the body, especially confined areas such as the armpits, but tends not to affect the face. It often affects areas of the body covered by clothing as there tends to be more sweat produced where the clothing rubs against the skin. This rash is caused by sweat glands in the skin becoming blocked. This stops the sweat from escaping the body and instead leads it to leak into nearby skin, causing redness and rashes. Whilst this does not generally have any serious health consequences, the prickly heat rash can be very irritating and can really put a dampener on holidays to hot countries.

Some people are more prone to prickly heat than others. Babies and children quite commonly suffer from it as their sweat glands are not properly developed yet and can produce sweat too quickly for their skin to cope with. Being overweight can also increase the likelihood of developing a prickly heat rash as this can lead to increased sweating.
5 quick tips for reducing prickly heat

The first way to reduce your prickly heat is to reduce the amount you sweat. This can be achieved by simple measures such as:

• Staying in the shade
• Wearing only loose-fitting, cool clothes
• Showering in cool water regularly
• Avoiding exercise in hot weather
• Drinking more water than usual

It may seem counterproductive to hydrate your body more when you are trying to reduce sweating but in hot climates our bodies need far more water than usual. Drinking more will also help to prevent other consequences of dehydration, such as headaches and fatigue.

Chemical-free sunscreens and prickly heat

As well as reducing the amount you sweat, you should try to prevent your sweat glands from becoming blocked. These may become blocked through dead skin cells or bacteria.

Some people find that exfoliation can help as it removes the dead skin cells blocking their pores, allowing the sweat to escape normally. However, it is advisable to exfoliate before you go on holiday as waiting until the prickly heat has started could irritate the skin further.

One further cause of blocked sweat glands is waterproof sunscreen, which can contain pore-clogging ingredients and is like wrapping your skin in cling film! It is possible that these may aggravate your prickly heat, as they reduce the amount of sweat that can escape your skin. The resulting build up of sweat inside the skin can then create prickly heat rash symptoms.

Green People has a range of natural sunscreens which do not contain the pore-clogging ingredients which can aggravate prickly heat and they are especially suitable for people with the condition. Green People sunscreens are also free from PABA, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances.

Soothing prickly heat

If you are prone to prickly heat and you are going on holiday to a hot place then it is best to take a soothing body lotion with you. If you develop prickly heat, it will help to reduce the itching which prickly heat can cause, as well as calming and hydrating sun-exposed skin.

An organic After Sun lotion which contains soothing Aloe Vera, Calendula and/or cooling Mint would be a good addition to your suitcase. Refreshing and calming, it is ideal for using after a day in the sun.

Content kindly provided by Green People

Share

Top 4 tips for holiday health

As we roll into the holiday season, many of us will be looking for natural ways to keep our bodies in tip top condition whilst in a new environment.   Whether you are looking for ways to enhance your immune system, avoid the dreaded holiday tummy, protect yourself from bacteria or look after your skin, bodykind is here.   With our top 4 tips for holiday health you cant go wrong and you will be sure to be able to enjoy your holiday, soak up the sunshine and return fit, healthy and raring to go.

Top 4 Tips For Holiday Health
Natural ways to keep our bodies in tip top condition whilst in a new environment (1)

Number one – Grapefruit Seed Extract

What’s the first thing you check when you arrive at your hotel room?….. The bathroom.  But that’s not where the germs are.  It gets cleaned every day.

Instead, it’s the door handles, TV remote, plugs, bedside tables, the hire car steering wheel and money that carry the bugs that can cause the holiday cold or, worse, holiday tummy.  Grapefruit seed extract is derived from the seeds, pulp, and white membranes of grapefruit.  It can be used as a super-powerful; all purpose cleanser for all those areas and even wash fruit and veg with it by putting a few drops in water.  Grapefruit seed extract may also help support and maintain a healthy digestive system and immune system.

Number two – Take a probiotic

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that many people take on holiday to ward off tummy bugs.  These days, most are stable up to around 20°C, so will survive the flight and a short journey to the hotel. But if you don’t have access to a fridge, you’ll need hardier bacteria called L-Sporogenes.  Because it is in a spore form, it survives any holiday heat wave and once taken, changes the environment of the intestines to promote the growth of the friendly bugs and inhibit the bad.  It’s the SAS of bacteria! Try a product such as Probio-Daily by Higher Nature.

Colloidal Silver
Colloidal Silver serves a multitude of uses. It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic.

Number three – Colloidal Silver for immune support

For those off on a more intrepid trip, Colloidal Silver serves a multitude of uses.  Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic, spray it into walking boots to stop the pong, then onto any athletes foot as hot, damp feet provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Use it under the arms to kill the bugs that lead to body odour and on the inevitable skin grazes to keep them clean.

Heard the phrase “born with a silver spoon in their mouth”?  Rich people ate and drank from silver cutlery and tankards in past times, so replicate the protective effect by spraying Colloidal Silver onto eating utensils, pans, crockery and into drinks bottles.

If you’re really travelling, 1 teaspoon left in 250ml water for 6 minutes will render it safe to drink.

Number Four – Natural Sun Protection

Natural sun creams work by reflecting UV radiation off the skin like a mirror.  They protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, without the risk of your body absorbing chemicals which are often present in many mainstream products.  Keep an eye open for the most popular natural certifications such as Soil Association, NaTrue, BDIH and EcoCert. These certifications require a product to meet certain minimum organic and natural standards.

Natural sun care products often contain an array of natural extracts like hemp and coconut oil, shea butter, carrot seed oil and aloe vera, all of which have natural sun protection.  Natural antioxidants from extracts of acai, grape seed and green tea help to protect skin from sunburn and reduce harmful free radical damage and many incorporate gentle, natural botanicals to soothe and moisturise.  Natural materials also help with cell repair – and don’t interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin D.

Written by Mike Pye

References

1.  Image courtesy of  Grant Cochrane.

Share

Natural sun protection from lavera

Whether you are off to a sunnier climate for a much deserved summer holiday or simply taking advantage of the good weather with time in the garden, a bbq or trip to the coast, it is vital to protect your self from the sun.  Many of us have fallen into the habit of reaching for the mainstream sun care brands we know and trust when we are in the supermarket or shopping for our holiday necessities. However, as discussed previously in the bodykind blog, many of these products are packed full of nasty chemicals and synthetic ingredients that may do us more harm than good.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel though with an array of quality natural sun care products on the market to choose from.

Lavera Natural Sun Care
lavera, is a brand committed to ethics, organic and natural ingredients and quality products for a variety of skin types

Our latest beauty arrival at bodykind, lavera, is a brand committed to ethics, organic and natural ingredients and quality products for a variety of skin types.  Their range of sun protection includes products for all the family in factors 10 – 20.  Sun sprays, milks, lip balms, after suns and self tanning products that are packed full of natural and organic ingredients to give your skin the support it needs.  This award winning chemical free sun range contains no harsh ingredients and provides high-level sun care and protection for every situation.

Waterproof and 100% natural it is perfect for holidays when nipping in and out of the pool or the sea. The minerals reflect penetrating sunlight as soon as the product is applied, so it is instantly effective and doesn’t require time to develop. UVA and UVB sun rays are reflected which helps to protect the skin against sunburn and skin damage.

lavera Sun Sensitive Organic Mineral After Sun Lotion soothes and protects your skin should you have stayed out in the sun that little bit too long.  Containing naturally soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, lavera after suns use the power of shea butter and jojoba oil to moisturise and Organic rose, lavender and green tea essences to cool the skin after sun bathing.

If you want to give your skin the attractive glow that comes with sunbathing but without any of the harmful effects of the sun’s powerful rays, why not try lavera Sun Sensitive Organic Mineral Self Tanning Lotion.  Developed from organic macadamia nut oil and organic jojoba oil, it’s easy to apply to the face and the body and provides a gradual tan to the skin.

Why natural is best…

Natural sun creams work by reflecting UV radiation off the skin like a mirror.  They protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, without the risk of your body absorbing chemicals which are often present in many mainstream products.  Keep an eye open for the most popular natural certifications such as Soil Association, NaTrue, BDIH and EcoCert.  These certifications require a product to meet certain minimum organic and natural standards.

Natural sun care products often contain an array of natural extracts like hemp and coconut oil, shea butter, carrot seed oil and aloe vera, all of which have natural sun protection.  Natural antioxidants from extracts of acai, grape seed and green tea help to protect skin from sunburn and reduce harmful free radical damage and many incorporate gentle, natural botanicals to soothe and moisturise.  Natural materials also help with cell repair – and don’t interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamin D.

Written by Mike Pye

Share

Summer is on its way – Part 2: Sun protection through nutrition

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays doesn’t stop with applying sun creams.  There is a wide range of things we can do nutritionally to protect our bodies from the inside out.

Mediterranean diet
A Mediterranean diet rich in fish, whole grains, beans/pulses, vegetables, fruits and olive oil is full of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. (2)

Many people admire the olive complexions of our Mediterranean neighbours although it is their diets that we should perhaps pay the most attention to.  Dr Niva Shapira writes on the importance of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids for the protection against sun damage to the skin (1).  She comments that in Mediterranean regions the rate of melanoma skin cancers is low even though the solar radiation is high, and that much of the protection against sun damage comes from the diet.  The paper concentrates on the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet (3) which is rich in fish, whole grains, beans/pulses, vegetables, fruits and olive oil.  Long chain omega 3 fatty acids are used by the body for the production of potent anti inflammatory chemicals and may help to reduce sun induced inflammation, UVB skin sensitivity and may also help in the prevention of sunburn.

Antioxidants, vitamins and flavonoids may help to ‘quench’ destructive molecules that lead to sun damage.  Vegetables and fruits, especially the colourful ones, contain an array of different antioxidants so be sure to get your five a day.

Beta carotene, lycopene and lutein are carotenoids that seem to be particularly effective for protecting against sun damage.  Good sources include carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cantaloupe melons, nectarines, papaya, mango and dark green vegetables.

Astaxanthin is a red-coloured ‘carotenoid’ that causes lobsters, flamingos and salmon to be a deep shade of pink.  It also happens to be a great filter for UVA and UVB light.

Astaxanthin supplements may be the perfect addition to help those with fair skin and who are prone to sunburn, protect themselves from the sun.  Used alongside sun creams it may help to lessen the reaction to UV light that causes itchy, raised patches called hives or UV urticaria.

Higher Nature Astaxanthin & Black Currant
Blackcurrant contains more anthocyanodins, vitamins C, E and polyphenols than even Blueberries.

A nice addition to Astaxanthin is Blackcurrant extract. Blackcurrant contains more anthocyanodins, vitamins C, E and polyphenols than even Blueberries, which is why the two ingredients are so good for the effects of sunlight on the macula at the back of the eye.

Anthocyanodins also protect connective tissue by maintaining its elasticity, something lost in prematurely ageing skin.  This means that they are ideally combined when someone needs to protect their skin in the long term from the damage UVA and UVB rays can cause.

The most important thing to remember when enjoying the sun shine this year though is to be sensible and safe.  If you have been out in the sun for a while, go and get some shade.  Wear adequate clothing, keep well hydrated and avoid prolonged sun bathing.  That way you will be in tip top condition to make the most of those precious hours of sunshine!

 

(1)  Shapira N.  2010.  Nutritional approach to sun protection: a suggested complement to external strategies.  Nutrition Reviews.  68:75-86.

(2) Image Courtesy of m_bartosch.

(3)  Ani Richardson (BSc, MSc Nutritional Medicine, RNutr). Mediterranean diet comes up top again.  bodykind Blog, May 4th 2011.

Written by Mike Pye

 

 

Share