TOO MUCH FUN IN THE SUN? Let’s talk: Prevention & After-Sun Remedies

Well I don’t know about you, but here on Vancouver Island we’ve been getting hit with A LOT of heat waves recently- which my plants and I are TOTALLY loving!

My skin however, not so much..

EVEN THOUGH I know we all already know what to do, too much fun in the sun can still happen! Luckily, so far this year, I have yet to over indulge… BUT I’ve been relying heavily on these practices AND using my after-sun face roller basically every day to help so who knows, maybe these tips actually work? 😉

Nevertheless, here are a few easy ways to help support your body in order to PREVENT sunburns or, to help your body heal optimally in case you soak up too many rays!

PREVENTION
  • NUTRITION
    • This one makes sense when you think about it but isn’t easy to do at the beach! Ideally you want to avoid allergens and high inflammatory foods before and during sun exposure which of course, is all of the fun stuff! This generally looks like processed foods, certain grains, sugar and especially saturated fats.
    • DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS! Filtered water, herbal teas or high-antioxidant teas, aloe vera, coconut water… anything that will support and hydrate the body while avoiding dehydrating fluids like high amounts of caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol.
    • Consume healthy sources of Essential Fatty Acids and high antioxidant foods! Things like lots of leafy greens, high water content foods, and high-antioxidant foods- especially fresh or frozen berries!
    • Another tip I’ve heard and read about is adding 2btsp of TOMATO PASTE due to the lycopene and possible skin protection properties it contains.
  • LIFESTYLE
    • Always wear UV protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, etc. when standing in direct sunlight for long periods of time.. you don’t need a lot of layers on ALL of the time but have them close by and use them throughout the day!
    • Use safe sunblock, lip chap, moisturizer and/or aloe before sun exposure.. check out Miiko for great articles on SPF, ingredients and of course their own local sun-care products (my favourite is her zinc cream! I bring it everywhere!). Click here to see more details on other safe commercial products that the EWG suggests using.
    • PLAY SMART! Get small, gradual amounts of sun exposure throughout the day and take shelter regularly. Tents, tarps, umbrellas are all great options. If you feel yourself burning, you’re most likely already burnt!
    • Reminder that you can still burn when you can’t see the sun- but this also means you can get the benefits from it too! The rays may not be as strong but hanging outside on an overcast day could be a great way for regular exposure but again, be mindful and smart… it’s still up there! Shining BRIGHT!
  • SUPPLEMENTS
    • These supplements are primarily for prevention but will also help the body heal in the event of a burn: Green Tea and/or Grape Seed Extract, Vitamin C, D3 & E, quality EFA’s such as Omega-3s, Cod Liver and Krill oil. I personally would avoid taking any oil products directly before sun exposure however, I have read that taking Vitamin D3 with sun exposure can help to potentially increase your production and/or help to keep your levels up.
  • ESSENTIAL OILS
AFTER-CARE
  • NUTRITION
    • Basically your after-sun care is going to look a lot like the preventative care when it comes to nutrition! You’ll want to load up on foods and bevy’s that have HIGH-WATER content, HIGH ELECTROLYTES and/or HIGH ANTIOXIDANTS. Generally these foods will also be ANTI-INFLAMMATORY which means, avoiding those allergic foods that cause dehydration and upset!
    • Some examples of things to INCLUDE could be: filtered water, coconut water, aloe vera, green tea, hibiscus tea, red/orange foods, leafy greens, wild salmon, cucumber, celery and/or loots of berries and citrus fruit.
    • Again, avoiding highly-processed foods, saturated fats, inflammatory foods like caffeine, alcohol, sugar and some grains while also listening to your own body and any allergies that may be present.
  • LIFESTYLE
    • When our body is in a state of stress, we want to support our nervous system too help bring it back into homeostasis. Focusing on soothing activities and avoiding strenuous ones, wearing looser or softer/silkier clothes, sleeping in a dark cool room with minimal blankets and attempting to get as much quality sleep as possible! Quality rest is essential in order for the body to repair optimally as this is when most off the “repair” work takes place.
    • This one is my FAVOURITE- but I think most people just think I’m crazy when I suggest this! However, an after-sun BATH is actually quite refreshing! There are mixed opinions on if you should have a hot or cold bath/shower with a sun burn.. theories on why you shouldn’t say it could worsen the burn or skin depending on how bad it is (true) and also can be super uncomfortable (duh) however, others have said that if it is not a bad burn that having a warm bath/shower (although unpleasant for the first few seconds) could be a way to pull the heat out of the body, instead of trapping it in with cold water (also true?!). I personally like lukewarm and have found my skin recovers WAY faster after my magic bath! So you be the judge, try it or don’t but if you do, let me know your opinion!
    • AFTER-SUN BATH INSTRUCTIONS:
      • You can use a Bath Bomb Recipe or combine: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup bath salts, 3 tbsp carrier oil (I love sweet almond for burns), 2 tsp essential oils (see above or below for options), 1 tbsp witch hazel (optional), 1 tbsp Purica MSM (optional), 1 cup oatmeal (optional) into a bowl and then add to the tub of lukewarm water with LOTS of green or black tea (about 5-10 tea bags worth) and other herbal teas like chamomile (optional). Soak in the tub for about 20-30min and then pat dry when you get out or use your after-sun sprays/rubs/aloe/moisturizer/etc. to pat onto your skin while wet to allow the water to soak in and hydrate the skin.
  • SUPPLEMENTS
    • Again, essentially these will be the same as preventative. Generally supplements high in antioxidants to help reduce free radical damage such as Green Tea and/or Grape Seed Extract, Vitamin C, D3 & E, quality EFA’s such as Omega-3s, Cod Liver and Krill oil.
  • ESSENTIAL OILS
    • Using a blend of Lavender, Peppermint/Spearmint, Frankincense, Copaiba, Tea Tree and/or Eucalyptus to create bath bombs, rollers, sprays or rubs… connect with me to purchase these items pre-made or make them yourself! Don’t have a specific oil? Connect with me for some free samples!
    • AFTER-SUN ROLLER
      • 5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Copaiba. Add to a roller bottle and top with carrier oil of choice. 
    • AFTER-SUN SPRAY
      • 5 drops Lavender, 5 drops Peppermint or Spearmint, 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Copaiba, 5 drops Tea Tree, 1 tbsp Witch Hazel. Add to small spray bottle and top up with distilled water and/or aloe vera.
    • AFTER-SUN RUB
      • 5-10 drops Lavender, 5-10 drops Peppermint or Spearmint, 5-10 drops Frankincense, 5-10 drops Copaiba, 5-10 drops Tea Tree. Add to your aloe vera bottle, moisturizer or to a sm/med spray bottle and top up with a carrier oil of choice or with a blend of moisturizer, aloe and/or witch hazel.
NOTES
  • REMINDER that we don’t need to be scared of the sun! Getting daily exposure in the sun (even when you can’t see it) is still SO essential for our overall health and wellbeing. Did you know that you technically only need 30min a day to help increase vitamin D levels? Of course this will fluctuate depending on your pigment, location on the earth, etc. but a good average for most people is ONLY 30MIN! That could be as easy as eating your lunch outside or going for a walk or taking business call outside! As long as we respect it, work with it and strive for moderation and balance, we can have as much fun in the sun as we want. When we play nice with nature, it will play nice with us!
  • Quick notes on some HEALTH and the sun! Getting regular sun exposure can not only help with your Vitamin D levels but it could also help with your mental/emotional health, SKIN health, preventative health and soo much more. However, sometimes direct sunlight can also not be beneficial for certain skin issues! Work with a holistic practitioner (like me!) or talk to your naturopath about how much sunlight YOU personally should be getting.
  • For a great podcast on the benefits of sun exposure and Vitamin D supplementation, click here!

 

With love,
Heidi MacAulay
“Eat more plants. Do more yoga. Read more books.”

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