Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Summertime....and the livin's easy...

It happens every summer.  As Spring rolls around and the stores have already been selling swimsuits since mid-January here in Florida, I get the itch.  The itch to live like the Floridian I was born to be.  Beaches.  Bikinis.  Margaritas.  And suntans.  I'm not gonna lie...I love the look of perfectly sun kissed skin.  Some people look good sporting the 'Snow White' look.  I don't.  I like being tan.  In college, I was addicted to the tanning beds.  When I decided that they would kill me slowly, I became addicted to laying out under the sun all slathered in whatever chemical concoction promised me the darkest tan on the bottle.  Now, in the name of vanity, I am addicted to completely different method for getting that "I'm a beach bum and I know it" glow.  

Science has shown that although our skin, the largest organ of our body and our first line of defense for immunity, is not impermeable.  In fact, a large percentage of crap that we rub all over ourselves is actually absorbed through our skin and ends up in our blood stream.  This includes a butt load of carcinogenic substances, neurotoxic chemicals and other random shit that companies feel the need to inject into their products to make it 'pretty!' or smell better.  From human infant foreskins to crushed parasitic beetles, there are hosts of uninvited guests hanging out in your lotion bottles just waiting to penetrate your skin.  A number of ingredients commonly used in skin care products are known carcinogens and have been shown to aid in tumor growth.  So, I ask you.  Which is scarier?  Exposing your skin to the sun or generously rubbing chemicals into your beach bod to avoid sun exposure which will inevitably be absorbed into your blood stream?  Are you one of those parents who applies conventional sunscreen to their kids every 15 minutes like clockwork to prevent even the slightest amount of sun to break through in an effort to prevent future skin cancer?  Meanwhile the sunscreen you're applying contains chemicals strongly linked to cancer?  You may want to rethink your strategy.  

Want the best of both worlds?  Tan skin but no chemicals?  You can!  I use these tips for my own skin during the hot summer months.  

1.  Exfoliate.  Dry brush in the morning.  Exfoliate in the shower.  Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and leaves your skin ready for the sun.  Why waste time tanning dead skin thats just going to come off anyhow?  

2.  Use either a natural sunscreen or a natural tanning lotion.  Look for varieties that practice what they preach.  Read the ingredient list!  Avoid parabens, oxybenzone, artificial colors, etc.  You can use the information located on the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep site to help you navigate products and ingredient lists.

3. The sun is not evil!  Your body naturally synthesizes Vitamin D from the sun, so soak it up! it in short bursts.  Go outside every day, but only expose your skin for 15-20 minutes.  You may not tan as fast, but it will be a nice long lasting tan, and one that will not threaten you with a burn or worse.

4.  Lips!  Make sure to use a natural lip balm or coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter on your lips when out in the sun.  Lips are so often overlooked and can burn so easily!  Keep them moisturized   

5.  Drink carrot juice!  Haven't you seen those babies whose skin are a slight orange tint from eating so much carrot puree?  Carotenoids, which do double duty for you since they are also powerful antioxidants, are natures sunless tanning supplement.  Increase your consumption of orange fruits and veggies and Voila!  
For avoiding sun exposure, I recommend finding a NATURAL sunscreen and donning a big sunhat.  At times, the sun is unavoidable and you need to protect yourself. Light colored and airy fabrics that cover you body and hats are a great start.  From someone who has a terrible case of melasma, I must depend on carrot juice and mineral bronzer for my face.  Meanwhile, I will wear a hat and tan my legs.  =)  Happy sunning!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post! The carrot juice is legit. My son started drinking carrot juice at 6 months old and everyone used to ask me why he looked so tan (or orange, lol). I used to tell them that he got a baby spray tan! Thanks for the tips!