Winter is withering away, spring flowers are blooming and it’s time to slather on that summer sunscreen…or is it? Hit the beach and see frantic mothers chasing and tackling their young offspring in an attempt to cover them from head to toe in that protective SPF 30. But look to your left…or your right…and see those bathing beauties spritzing themselves with coconut scented tan enhancers. Do we have to sacrifice beauty for health? What is the deal with sun, sunscreen and our largest organ…the skin?
First off, sun isn’t the enemy. That big hole we put in the ozone…that may be the larger problem. But either way, we know we’re fighting a battle between receiving the immunity boosting, feel good power of vitamin D that sunlight provides, while attempting to ward off those harmful UVB and UVA rays that are becoming more powerful with every summer season. We want to fend off those UVA rays that slip right through sunscreen, often building up damage that can later surface in the form of melanoma. And we want to protect the outer layers form UVB rays, which is where sunscreen still holds value.
So feel free to layer on that sunscreen, but as with anything you put in your body, also beware of what you put on your body. Try natural sunscreens that contain fewer toxins. Alba, Aubrey and Lavera are healthy organic options. But know that most sunscreens only protect against UVB rays. The FDA does not require companies that tote the label “broad spectrum” sunscreens to actually protect against both UVB and UVA rays. Most sunscreen doesn’t. In fact, the FDA just recently approved Anthelias, SX manufactured by L’Oreal which contains Mexoryl that is proven to protect against short wave UVA rays and ultraviolet A and B. It has been available in Europe, Asia and Canada since 1993, but should be available in the US by fall of 2007. Why it took the FDA this long to approve it…good question. Look at the ingredients and be a cautious, well informed consumer.
But if you’re looking to protect yourself from the inside out, look into natural astaxanthin. Found in microalgae, this powerful carotenoid is a heavy hitting antioxidant that can boost immunity and energy along with aiding in fighting off damage to body tissue by increasing T cell and microphage counts, cells that help build immunity and increase the ability to fight against cancer and other infections. Studies show it surpasses benefits of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and other carotenoids. Studies still continue but the benefits of powerful antioxidants appear to be limitless. Astaxanthin can be purchased in pill form, but can also be found in small doses in lobster, shrimp, crab and salmon, sealife that ingest this microalgae as part of their diet. The benefits of sea life such as salmon extend from astaxanthin to the healthy omega- 3 fatty acids.
So remember what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body. Eat right, build your immunity with powerful antioxidants found in nature and protect your outer epidermis with healthy, natural sunscreens whenever possible. Enjoy your sun in moderation, and live well from the inside out.
|Alba Botanica – Very Emollient Natural Protection Sport Sunblock 45 SPF – 4 oz.|