Here in Hawai’i, the sun is a constant companion. But during summer months, when the sun is at its height, it’s good to brush up on strategies to protect yourself and respect the power of the sun. Using sunscreen, drinking water and staying in the shade are some of the basics, but did you know that what you eat can also help protect against sun damage? We’ve put together some tips to help keep you safe, healthy and happy all summer long! Sunscreen Essentials
- Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with an elevated risk of skin cancer and can result in painful sunburns. The best way to avoid exposure is to stay out of the sun, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when UV radiation is at its highest. You can also choose light, UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rated clothes that cover your body, and wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- If you do go in the sun, pick a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that protects against UV-A as well as UV-B rays. Remember that UV rays can penetrate through clouds, so make sure to wear sunglasses and sunscreen even if the sky is overcast.
- Apply sunscreen approximately 30 minutes before being in the sun so that it can be absorbed by the skin and less likely to wash off when you perspire. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you go swimming, sweat excessively or dry yourself with a towel.
- At Down the Earth, we recommend using sunscreens without the harsh chemicals commonly found in mainstream sunscreen. Check out this month’s Health Tip for more information on picking the right natural sunscreen for your needs.
- After sun exposure, cover your skin with pure aloe vera gel to replenish it with moisture and speed healing if you do end up with a burn.
Foods That Protect Your Skin
Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that protect your skin from sun-damage, slow the aging process, and are even shown to help protect against cancer. Fruits known to have especially high antioxidant levels include all berries, apples, red grapes, mangoes, peaches, oranges and pineapples – just to name a few! In addition, dark green vegetables, yellow, red and green peppers, and tomatoes are all good sources of antioxidants, as are beans, lentils, carrots and sweet potatoes. Colorful sweet and savory salads are great summertime staples!
Tips to Stay Hydrated
A big concern during summertime is the risk of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion, and in more serious cases, heat stroke. The best way to prevent dehydration is to think ahead and always make sure you have a water bottle with you. In addition to drinking plenty of water, it’s important to keep your electrolytes in balance. An easy way to do this is to add about ½ teaspoon of salt to a glass of orange juice. Remember to drink before you feel thirsty because by the time thirst kicks in, your body has already lost too much salt. Finally, make sure to avoid alcoholic, sugary and caffeinated drinks, especially when exercising, because these drinks actually draw water out of your body.
At Down to Earth, you’ll find everything you need to stay healthy and well this summer. In addition to choosing from a wide array of natural sunscreens for children and adults, make sure to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and grab some fresh-squeezed juice or coconut water. We look forward to helping you enjoy your summer!