The best summer most of us have ever seen has enabled us to live like the continentals. Day after day of hot weather has been good for those who have respect for the sun, but has caused many people to end up in hospital through over-exposure.
There’s a mixed message about the sun – the skin needs exposure to the sun to make that vital Vitamin D which is essential for healthy bones and teeth, immune system and cognitive function – pretty important! Yet we have been receiving a message for years that too much sun (and exposure to sunbeds) can cause skin cancer. View Skin Cancer Rates High in the UK.
The problem starts when we are young and we think we’re invincible, and despite what they say, we still love a tan. Children’s skin is more at risk than adults and it is from a young age that we need to be protected – so why not take a leaf out of the Australians’ book? The Slip, Slap, Slop campaign A very successful advertising campaign in Australia was Slip Slap Slop: • Slip on a T-shirt • Slap on a cap • Slop on the sunscreen!
Why the sun is good for us
No wonder people get fed up with conflicting messages but it is true that exposure to the sun without sunscreen enables the skin to manufacture Vitamin D. It is also a fact that many of us are deficient in Vitamin D, according to recent research. Vitamin D helps to maintain healthy bones and teeth, and regulates calcium and phosphorus levels which ensure good muscle function. Read more in Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun.
This doesn’t therefore mean that spending hours in the sun without sunscreen is a good idea when it’s exceptionally hot. Good judgement helps most of us to know how much sun is enough depending on the temperature outside. But of course children cannot make this decision for themselves and are usually so busy playing that they don’t think about it. There are other reasons why too much sun isn’t that good for us – everyone has seen people who have tanned so much that their skin becomes tough, old and wrinkly. Also too much sun on a very hot day can bring on sunstroke which results in headaches, dehydration and sickness and can be dangerous.
Sunscreen yes – chemicals no! Once you become keen to avoid pesticides in your food, and start looking at cosmetics to see what they contain, you become aware of what’s in sun creams. There are a range of different chemicals in them including phthalates, PABA, BPA and parabens. There are also said to be chemicals in them that mimic or disrupt hormones and these can be in the ‘parfum’, a cocktail of chemicals or oxybenzone.
One of the worst chemicals is parabens which is usually found in well known brands of sun tan lotion. It appears in many different forms: methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, butyl paraben, propyl paraben, and propul paraben. Research studies found that propyl paraben has been found to decrease sperm production and traces of parabens have been found in human breast tissue. There are now plenty of healthier alternatives which are good for the skin, make it moist and also prevent sunburning. Given that it’s not a good idea to spend hours and hour in hot sun, these sunscreens are perfectly adequate. Parfum too is a strange term that covers a whole gamut of fragrance chemicals, the names of which are not listed. People with allergies often have a reaction to parfum. It’s perfectly possible to buy sunscreens that use natural ingredients up to about 46 F. Some contain essential oils, several contain aloe vera. They smell great, they work and they keep your skin soft and protected, without allowing harsh chemicals into the bloodstream – particularly suitable for kids.
|Aloe Vera Sun Lotion SPF25||Aloe Pura||200ml||£11.99|
|Mineral Suncare Broad Spectrum SPF 30||Jason Natural||113g||£10.57|
|Children’s Sun Lotion Lavender SPF 25||Green People||150ml||£12.49|
|Hydrating After Sun Lotion||Green People||200ml||£10.99|
|Aloe Vera After Sun||Aloe Pura||200ml||£7.27|
|Use this code to get 5% discount from www.superfooduk.com: HSoul1|