Let the sunshine in!

3 May

P1000665 In the above photo Ulysses is sporting the typical expression I receive from people when they find out we don’t use sunscreen….arghh!

We all know the documented benefits of a moderate amount of sun exposure to the skin: increases vitamin D levels, kills unwanted fungus, heals skin conditions such as Psoriasis, aids in producing sweat and thus detoxes the body, provides us with the full spectrum of light to balance our mood, regulates our circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) and generally has a healing effect on the body.

Then there’s the well documented con of the sun’s dangerous nature, triggering skin cancer; that’s enough to make any parent reach for the sun cream bottle isn’t it?

A word in defence of that beautiful ball of fire in the sky we call the sun; the burning star that gives life to everything on planet Earth and, without which, we would not exist.

Goa 077

The sun has such great healing powers that it actually purges anything out of the human body that should not be there, not create a state of disease crisis but sometimes creates a healing crisis in the form of the big C word.

‘Anything that shouldn’t be there’ includes a whole array of man-made, toxic chemicals, many of which are located in your average sun cream. It is interesting to note that Australia, one of the biggest countries for using sun screen protection also has one of the highest rates of skin cancer.

These chemicals often cause allergic reactions in many people as well as blocking the body’s pores which form part of the lymphatic drainage system, this is how the body cleanses its internal environment and regulates the body temperature, through sweating.

My family spent 7 weeks in beautiful sunny Gozo when my 7 month old son was suffering from a severe mould allergy. We spent a little bit of time everyday in direct sunlight without any sun cream and the rest of the time kept in the shade. We did not suffer any sunburn and in fact, came away with a revitalized and healthy child back to England.

What then should we do, unlimited sun exposure with no protection? of course not!

No culture does that. The mediterranean people take their siesta in the middle of the day at the hottest hours and shut up shop during this time. The Arabs chew on the root or seeds of the Amni-Majus also known as ‘toothpick’ (a white flower also native to British Isles) and the Indians chew on the seeds of the Babchi plant to increase the Melanin, and thus darken their skin pigment in the sun. Many people in hot countries also wear long, dark clothing to absorb heat away from the skin.

Nowhere in the world is more careless in the sun than in the Western ‘civilised countries’, this is especially surprising taking into account the fact that we usually have the fairest skin!

In order of decreasing natural protection, the following skin colours exist: black, brown, olive, fair, albino. We were all designed to ive in certain climates and must respect our skin colour and adjust sun exposure times accordingly to reflect our own personal exposure limits.

There are many ways to protect yourself naturally from the powerful effect of the sunshine in full force.   We are, after all, living in a very toxic world within which we cannot help but be contaminated to a certain extent. Here are some useful tips to protect yourself from the sun naturally:

  • Limit exposure during: the sun’s strongest hours usually between 11am-3pm, after a winter period with little or no exposure to direct sunlight and during illness or de-hydration when the body is more prone to sunburn.
  • Build up your sun exposure gradually starting with no more than 10-15 minutes per day and building up to a limit that suits your individual tolerance levels. Expect some pinkness as pale skin adjusts to the sun, it is nothing to be overly concerned with. Sunburn will display itself as sore and/or peeling.(NB: if you are a fiery, red or fair-haired, fair-skinned individual with freckles, you will have the lowest tolerance and must take the greatest care)
  • During the hottest hours, when you have reached your own tolerance levels for direct exposure to sunlight, use hats and long-sleeved clothing made out of natural linen or cotton to cover up. White is the best colour for reflecting sunlight.

IMG_0324

  • Beware sunglasses! They were originally invented for pilots flying high in the atmosphere where there is high, unnatural UV exposure. They have no practical use on land other than as a fashion statement or disguise. It is as important for your eyes as for your skin to allow the retinas to receive the full sunlight spectrum directly.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Slice of Watermelon

  • Hydrate your body as much as possible; before, during and after sun exposure. Pure spring water is the best as well as coconut water. If using regular water, add a pinch of quality pink or grey salt to every litre to help structure the water for optimum hydration. Fresh snacks such as watermelon are an ideal option for hydration. Vegan ice cream such as ‘Booja Booja’ and home-made frozen fruits blended up as a sorbet are also very tasty and cooling summer snacks, however, the best way to cool the body is actually using spices and hot foods to encourage heat regulation through sweating. (NB: mint or fennel are better food flavourings than hot spices for those fiery types)

P1020351Plate of Red Chili Peppers

  • Alkalise your body with fresh raw foods; cucumber, greens, celery and fresh juices will help to bring your body into a state of balance so it can cope better with sunshine exposure.

P1030086 P1030087Examples of fresh fruit and vegetable juices

(Left contains: grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple and berries. Right: strawberries, watermelon and cucumber)

  • Be aware of the areas on the body most prone to sunburn; shoulders, nose, feet, ears, chest and anywhere the skin is thin. Oxtinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone and Homosalate are typical sunscreen ingredients that act as either irritants, allergens, hormone disruptors or carcinogens.If you must use sun cream pick a sun block which uses a mineral that sits on top of the skin rather than absorbing into it. Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide is a safe option and is used in the ‘Burt’s Bees’ sun cream.

Aloe plant

  • Like sun creams, after-sun cream can also contain all sorts of undesirable chemicals you wouldn’t want absorbing into your little one or your own skin. 60% of what you put on your body absorbs directly in to the blood stream so opt for natural Aloe vera to cool sun burn. Later on when the skin has cooled you can use extra virgin raw coconut oil to heal any damage.

Finally, remember the rays can still reach your skin through the clouds, just as well too otherwise we might not get any healing sun exposure through those dreary winter months!

 

 

(Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and do not give medical advice)

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4 Responses to “Let the sunshine in!”

  1. Miss-Laura Rae October 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    You can buy all-natural sunblock.

  2. Neartmhor October 29, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    The use of sunscreen in Australia is a response to the high rates of skin cancer- which is caused by the fact that it is an extremely sunny country and we have a lifestyle which encourages time out of doors. Since the Australian public has received the ‘slip, slop, slap’ message, skin cancer rates have decreased.

    Perhaps a little bit of sun without protection in the UK may be okay- but your advice is nowhere near universal and is dangerous to those from different climes.

    • adeleyonline October 29, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      I spent two months in the hottest time of year in Gozo, a very hot Mediterranean island and we followed this way of sun exposure which worked just fine for us all, including my 7 month old at the time. I have spent 3 months in Australia so do understand the climate there.

  3. Dany April 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Many sunscreens are toxic and the body does need sunlight to thrive thus I enjoyed many of your tips, however, I will still employ physical sunblock in consideration of the depletion of the ozone layer (which you failed to consider). Our bodies were not made for contact with the sun without the ozone layer and thus there are significant risks. Sunblock is an imperfect situation but I think it is necessary along with your tips to provide optimal sun health

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