Summer is here which means the sun is out in full force. While I’m a big believer that we need to be allowing the sun to hit our skin sans sunscreen, that can only happen for so long before consequences.
And the line between sun exposure and sunburn is tricky to pinpoint, which has led to the popularization of sunscreen. While it does a fantastic job at blocking the sun, the problem is we make the majority of all our vitamin D, an essential nutrient for hormone regulation and support from the sun.
Meaning there needs to be a balance between bare skin and sunscreen skin.
All of that to say, I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen. We need it, but like all things, not too little or too much of it.
What I do want to clarify, the sun is not bad. It’s a good thing. And getting enough sun without the use of sunscreen is vital in the health of our body. We were built to be in the sun.
Interesting Facts about the Sun
In fact, there are some fun facts that are worth noting:
- Morning sunlight can protect you from the intense afternoon rays.
- Bluelight from the sun is critical in regulating your sleep patterns.
- Sunlight is the number one source of vitamin D, which is a precursor for all hormones.
- You can eat your sunscreen. Not actual sunscreen, but a diet rich in produce and healthy fats creates a natural protecting agent against the sun. Meaning a healthy diet can help prevent sunburns.
- Sunlight has been found to boost your gut microbiome.
These benefits come from the sun’s UV rays. The very rays that have been associated with skin cancer and aging. Meaning, we need sun but not too much or too little. And how much is determined by how well you eat and how much you move.
The bottom line, don’t be afraid of the sun. But be smart about the sun.
But when you do apply sunscreen, remember quality matters. So pick a safe version of sunscreen, like my top pick.
And when you do apply it, don’t forget about these three places that tend to get skipped leading to damaged and brittle skin that ages much quicker than other parts of the body.
Three places that you’re not putting sunscreen that you should.
1. Your Neck
Your neck has a different cell composition than the other parts of your body. The dermis is thinner and more prone to wrinkling because it lacks collagen. It is a similar composition to the skin on your eyelids, making it sensitive to the sun and aging. To prevent this, make sure you apply sunscreen on the front, back, and sides of your neck. You can double that up with a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection.
2. Your Hands
Did you know your hand’s age faster than any other place on your body? That’s because they are exposed more than anything to almost everything you come in contact with. Especially the sun. Even in the car, your hands are exposed to UV rays. While the skin on your hands has an increase in pigmentation, which is a natural form of sunscreen protection, constant exposure over prolonged periods of time leads to sunspots and wrinkles. So when you’re adding sunscreen to your body, don’t forget to apply it to your hands and rub it in like lotion.
If you wash your hands, you wash away the sunscreen. So make sure you reapply it throughout the day.
3. Your Feet (and not just the tops)
Your feet, while thicker skinned, are a common area to miss as you lather up the rest of your body. But it’s not one to skip. Your feet, even the soles of your feet, are more susceptible to sunburn in a shorter period of time than the rest of your body. As a result, your feet are the most common spot for severe sunburn. And if you’ve had a sunburn on your feet, you know exactly how painful it can be.
Don’t neglect to apply sunscreen to your feet. That means every place on your foot, not just the tops, but your toes and your soles.
After Sun Care
If you are in the sun, nourish your skin post-sun exposure. Wash off the sunscreen you applied during the day with clean soap and water. And then complete it with a natural healing sun spray and some moisturizer to keep your skin moist and healthy. Which keeps it producing the vitamin D your body craves.