Natural Alternatives to Sunscreen…..

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the sun comes out and we are spending more and more time outdoors there is a need for some sort of protection from the sun. I have tried to stop using sunscreen for a while now due to its supposed negative effects. Sunscreen has been linked with the following:

  • Not being as effective as advertised (not living up to its SPF rating)
  • Accelerated development of skin tumors and lesions
  • Blocking Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A which is a common ingredient in sunscreen is shown to cause cancer
  • Disruption of the bodies hormonal system

Now this also goes back to the post I wrote about the dangers of conventional body products, as sunscreen is full of PABAOxybenzone as well as a host of other chemicals. The main reason I stopped using sunscreen is that we need Vitamin D and most of us are deficient so the very fact that sunscreen totally blocks off our absorption of Vitamin D is a pretty killer deal. This is not to mention its cancer causing potential and false claims most sunscreens carry.

Do not forget the sunscreen industry is huge and they will go to huge measures to pump fear into the public about skin cancer and the dangers of spending time in the sun. Funnily enough Vitamin D deficiency is a leading cause for skin cancer…..

To me it is a case of being sensible with the sun, as they say The Difference Between Medicine And Poison Is The Dose” which couldn’t be more true when it comes to the sun. So what are our alternatives when it comes to maximising the benefits, while negating the risks?

Get your dose – Don’t forget that getting 10,000-20,000IU of Vitamin D only requires about 20 minutes of midday sun on an exposed body, And even less time than that for the very lightly skinned. I think this is something we can all manage a few times in the summer without getting burnt.

Natural Mechanisms – Our body has a natural mechanism to get us out of the sun when we have had too much. Ever notice how the sun feels great at first but after 20 or 30 minutes it becomes uncomfortable and too hot. This is our body telling us enough is enough and that it is time to go seek some shade. Listen to your body when in the sun, this by itself will help you avoid the overdoing it.

Coconut Oil – I have been experimenting with this myself, now that the sun is out regularly I try to spend some time in the sun daily and have been testing out Coconut Oil as sunscreen. I would suggest reading this article about using coconut oil as sunscreen.

I spent many days hiking and FULL days at the beach swimming and NO BURNS. Now, yes, I got pink, but no  painful burns and the best part is that they all mellowed the next day into the slightest brown. For a white girl, that was just unbelievable!!!!!

Pretty impressive stuff and it is similar to what I have found. A few weeks back I was out in the park with friends wearing nothing but shorts and spent a few hours in the sun, now my skin burnt slightly and I was a bit sore and red the next day. This was totally my own fault though as I didn’t seek shade or wear any protection.

Since reading the article above I have been trying out coconut oil as sunscreen, I will basically coat my body in a thin layer and go get some sun. I can confirm that after spending prolonged periods of time in midday sun with coconut oil on I experienced no burns of redness what so ever and I seem to develop a much nicer light brown tan, so I am a believer….

Diet – Our skin seems to have a direct correlation with the types of fat we eat. As anyone who has eaten a low fat diet will know skin becomes pretty dry…. The opposite seems to happen when we eat heat resistant fats and reduce our consumption of less heat resistant Polyunsaturated fats our skin becomes softer and tougher.

Most people find that when they reduce their consumption of PUFA’s (Peanut butter, Veggie oils, Cooking with olive oil) and replace these fats with more saturated and heat resistant fats like Coconut and Dairy fat their skin becomes much more resistant to the sun and burns far less easily. It is interesting that mother nature provides these fats as the main source of energy to tribes who live in the hotter parts of the world like the Masai (who drink plenty of milk and have a diet with virtually no PUFA’s) and the Kitavans who love their coconut and sweet potato (and again eat practically no PUFA’s) this seems to give them a natural sun coping mechanism.

This seems to be especially important in summer. We can all learn from these guys by replacing the majority of Polyunsaturated fats and using things like coconut, and macadamia nuts while cooking with heat resistant fats like butter, ghee, coconut and palm oil.

Go Natural – There seems to be a growing range of natural sunscreens on the market today which claim to protect from the sun without any of the negative effects of conventional sunscreen. They work by acting like a mirror and reflecting off the sun instead of absorbing the UV rays like normal sunscreens. The link below reviews some of the most common brands…

Should You Switch To Natural Sunscreen?

Most contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (both ‘natural‘ sunscreens) as well as things like Shea Butter and Sesame/Macadamia oil (which is known for its sun blocking effects). These seem pretty effective to me and when I go on holiday this summer I plan to pickup a few bottles and give them a try……

So as you can see there seem to be some pretty easy changes you make if you want to try going SPF free this summer, please comment if you have any experience making the most of the sun without having to resort to sunscreen……

This Post was written by Chris of Zen to Fitness. Please checkout my new e-book by clicking the image below:

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