Vitamin D, Natural Sunscreen, Self Tanners + Spray Tans
For many years we have heard the bold warnings to stay out of the sun or wear sunscreen at all times to reduce the risk of skin cancer. The sun is not inherently evil and is not the cause of skin cancer, but it's important to practice safe sun exposure for your body.
The Importance of Vitamin D
The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate exposure to sunlight. We need regular sun exposure without sunscreen to produce vitamin D naturally! According to the Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30 reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95% (source)!
Nearly every cell in our body has receptors for vitamin D so it absolutely drives our innate immunity. It influences the bones, intestines, immune and cardiovascular systems, pancreas, muscles, brain, and the control of cell cycles. Recent research supports the possible role of vitamin D against cancer, heart disease, fractures and falls, autoimmune diseases, influenza, type-2 diabetes, and depression (source).
Dietary supplements might be required to meet the daily need for vitamin D in some people, but vitamin D produced in the skin lasts at least twice as long in the blood compared with ingested vitamin D (source)! If needed, you can incorporate sun-exposed mushrooms which are a natural source of vitamin D2 into your diet, supplement with cod liver oil, and/or vitamin D/K2 drops.
Don't Wear Daily Sunscreen Every Day. Maybe.
Sure, wear sunscreen everyday if you're a surfer, but sunscreen use limits our vitamin D intake, leading to bad skin, poor bone strength and general depression. If you're going from a car, to a subway, to an indoor office and then back home, I don't recommend wearing daily SPF. I would certainly never say it's 'harmful' to wear natural SPF, but I don't advise wearing it 24/7/365. Somewhere there has to be a balance. Our lives and bodies love balance. Even the best of conditions, foods, supplements, etc. can be detrimental when they get out of balance. One way to balance sun exposure is to find shade every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the intensity of the sun, for 15-minute intervals. As a general rule of thumb, you want to expose as much of your body as possible to sunlight until your skin turns the slightest shade of pink.
Of course I suggest natural sunscreen if you are going to be in the sun during peak hours and don't have access to a shaded area, but a combination of the right skincare regimen and a hat / protective clothing are the best way to get a nice, healthy glow. But really, drink your juice, eat your veggies and wear a chic hat!
Sunscreen From the Inside-Out
When skin is exposed to the sun and vitamin D is increased in the body, it will pull calcium out of the tissue into the blood circulation at high levels. This in turn minimizes the tissue calcium concentration, setting up an imbalance. When the increased calcium blood levels are mixed with Standard Process's Cataplex F, it mobilizes the calcium back into the tissues for balance once again. It takes several tablets, two to three hours before sun exposure, then more with calcium lactate after four hours in the sun.
While on the beaches in Florida, I tested out homeopathy for internal sunscreen and was extremely impressed with the results. I took 5 pellets of Hypericum perforatum 30C dissolved under my tongue morning and evening 2 weeks prior to sun exposure. It reduces sun-induced rashes, especially when taken before exposure.
For more information on homeopathy, download the Boiron app here.
The majority of the sunscreens on the market today are more harmful than beneficial. Sunscreens are designed to decrease your risk of skin cancer and allow you to enjoy the sun without worry. Unfortunately, most modern day sunscreens may increase your risk of cancer and disrupt the functioning of your hormones because they are absorbed through the skin.
Sunscreen was first invented in the 1940s by Franz Greiter and the active component consisted of zinc oxide. You won't find zinc oxide in most conventional sunscreens because it is not absorbed into your skin and you're left covered with a pasty white substance. You'll find zinc oxide in many of the #courtneyapproved sunscreens listed below and that's because it offers the same protection as wearing a long sleeve shirt! But there is also micronized zinc oxide. It has the safety profile of traditional zinc oxide sunscreen but is as aesthetically appealing as modern day sunscreens. It is not absorbed into the body, does not enter the bloodstream and has no dangerous side effects unless it is inhaled. For this reason, I recommend avoiding any "spray" products containing micronized zinc oxide.
We don't want to admit it, but it happens. It's been awhile since I've burned but here are some tried-and-true natural remedies that usually work overnight:
Apis mellifica 30C (relieves pink, swollen skin with itching improved by cold compresses): dissolve 5 pellets under your tongue every hour and decrease frequency with improvement
Belladonna 30C (relieves red, hot and painful skin from burns or sunburn): dissolve 5 pellets under your tongue every hour and decrease frequency with improvement
Natrum muriaticum 30C (reduces sun-induced rashes/sun allergy): dissolve 5 pellets under your tongue 3 time a day during the period when you are exposed to the sun
Hypericum perforatum 30C (reduces sun-induced rashes, especially when taken before exposure): dissolve 5 pellets under tongue morning and evening 2 weeks prior to sun exposure
With just a squirt of bronze solution and a thorough rubdown, we are now one step closer to Brazilian model material without exposing our skin to the sun. Still, while it seems that self-tanner products solve a huge conundrum for humankind, the ingredients that make up many conventional products present yet another one: exposing us to harsh chemicals that are not-so-good for human health.
Popular self-tanner formulas are known to contain a toxic soup of potentially harmful chemicals added to stabilize or preserve for a longer shelf life. Many products contain parabens, a type of synthetic preservative linked to breast cancer, and oxybenzone, a chemical that messes with our hormones and may actually increase our risk of skin cancer. Some self-tanner formulations even contain ingredients known to release formaldehyde as they break down, such as diazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin.
A yucky situation indeed, conscious manufacturers have started to sense a need for something less toxic, making our pool of options much deeper. Here are a few #courtneyapproved self tanners:
Once hailed as the smart alternative to tanning outside, spray tans can also be hazardous to your health. The concern stems from use of dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in tanning solutions, which interacts with dead cells on the skin’s surface to evoke color change. When used properly, DHA is considered safe. But many people don’t use spray tans properly. The FDA advises people cover their lips, nose, and eyes because the risks from inhaling DHA are unknown. Lab studies have shown that high levels of DHA — much higher than you’d find in over-the-counter tanning products — can increase free radical formation. Free radicals are part of our natural metabolic process but high levels are capable of damaging structures within the cell, including DNA, and have been linked to cancer. DHA can be manufactured from natural sources including — but not limited to — sugar beets and rapeseed.
If you're local (Dallas, TX), I highly recommend scheduling a spray tan with Emma Kessel of Sunkiss: Your Tanning Concierge. I found her a few months before my wedding and have been using her services ever since! Emma is a certified airbrush tanning technician with a mobile airbrush tanning service that brings the convenience of a salon right to your home.
She uses the brand Sunfx which uses certified DHA derived from all-natural sources. They felt it was misleading to accurately list this active ingredient as organic even though the Australian Organic Standard requires 95% of a product’s ingredients to be organic. They believe anything less than 100% is misleading. I appreciate their honesty and clarity! Their tanning solutions contain hydrating and skin-smoothing natural ingredients like organic aloe vera and organic coconut. It also includes more antioxidants for better skin repair like natural green tea and vitamins A, C, and E. As always, there are no alcohols, parabens, mineral oils, ethanols, artificial perfumes, or other harmful unnatural ingredients. I usually get the dark "chocolate" color when I tan with her.
Now, is this option squeaky clean? No, but it's significantly better!
Here's the flawless natural airbrush tan she did for me on my wedding day!
This post contains affiliate links which means that I receive a percentage of commission if any products are purchased through them. As always, these are brands / products / services I have used personally, believe in and support. Receiving a sample(s) of any of the above products in no way influences my opinion. Thank you for supporting me, Courtney Kahla, through your purchases!