We hear a lot about the sun and skin cancer and while it is true that overexposure to the sun and getting sunburn is linked to skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, lines and wrinkles etc., there is an absolute need for your skin to be exposed to limited amounts of sunlight. Your skin will only be damaged if it is overexposed to sunlight and if this overexposure is repeated too often.
Yes, you may develop skin cancer from just one severe sunburn, but this is rare. Much more likely is that working on getting a tan to look good in summer is the cause and doing this year after year is the most likely scenario for pre-exposing yourself to skin cancer and other skin problems.
When you do go out into the sun and expose your skin, make sure you do this only for 20 minutes at a time and during the early hours of the morning or late in the afternoon. That is, do not go into the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must be out during this time, cover up, use sunscreen regularly and reapplying it every hour or so. Use a hat and cover the skin of your arms and legs.
However, going out in the sun during the 'safe' times of day is a little like taking a vitamin pill, or eating a wholesome meal containing fresh fruits and vegetables.The fact is you need Vitamin D and there are only 2 sources where you can get it from. Vitamin D exists in two forms that are important for nutrition. Vitamin D2, which is produced by plants, is consumed in the diet.
The most common food source of vitamin D2 is fortified foods, such as cereals and dairy products. Vitamin D2 is present in fish liver oils and fatty fish. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is formed in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Vitamin D is stored mainly in the liver and must be processed (metabolized) by the liver and kidneys before it is converted to the active form. The active form promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine and thus is necessary for the formation and maintenance of bones.This means, that if you do not spend some limited time in the sun and do not consume fish, chances are you are low on Vitamin D and may be running the risk of a Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to abnormal bone formation (rickets) in children and softening of the bones (osteomalacia) in adults. Vitamin D deficiency interferes with calcium absorption, leading to deficiency of that nutrient with all of the associated symptoms, such as increased risk of fractures, osteoporosis (bone loss), and muscle weakness. Because this nutrient is fat-soluble, prolonged periods of deficiency are required to produce these symptoms.
Good food sources of Vitamin D include dairy products and breakfast cereals (which are fortified with vitamin D), as well as fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. For most people, the best way to get the recommended daily intake is by taking a multivitamin, but the level in most multivitamins (10 micrograms) is too low.
So, the message is get out into the sun and go for a 20-minute walk before 10 am or after 4 pm. This will ensure that you will not run the risk of becoming deficient in Vitamin D, as well as assist you in increasing your fitness. Your skin will thank you and so will your bones and general health.As you can see, Vitamin D is very important and we must make sure our bodies get enough of it on a regular basis. So, eating the Vitamin D rich foods and going for a walk in the sun is a great way to ensure that you are providing your body with enough Vitamin D.
If you have spent many hours on the Beach or sun baking and your skin is now showing premature signs of aging, you can still help to repair some of the damage done and slow down the aging process. This will take some time, as there is no quick fix.
Your diet should contain a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains in your diet. Translated, that means you should consume at least 15 different foods from the above groups each and every day. This is not as difficult as you might think. A wholesome Muesli for breakfast, can contain more than 15 different ingredients, all of which come from the different groups mentioned. For example: Oats, Barley, Linseeds, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Cashews, Pine nuts, Raisins, Dates, Prunes, Plums, Coconut shavings, Apricot, Banana, Pears, Apples, Pineapple, Oranges, Mandarins, Strawberries, Raspberries, Figs, the list goes on.
Of course you do not need to eat an overly big meal here. A little of each will do just fine. Use dried fruits so you don’t need to eat a whole one of each of the ones listed above. You can also make a fruit juice consisting of several different types of fruits and drink it with your Muesli.
Following a skin care regime is also important. Making use of natural skin care products that contain Almond oil, which is rich in proteins and Vitamin D, both protect and nourish the skin. Wildcrafted's Rose Day Crème and the non-fragrant Moonglow Day Crème for example, both contain Almond oil, which will provide you with some Vitamin D, however, you will need to supplement this as the amount absorb is not high enough to satisfy the minimum daily requirement. After all skin care products are not Vitamin supplements, nor were they intended to be. However their nourishing ingredients will help your skin to regenerate.
Make sure you use a loofah sponge when you shower to exfoliate your skin. On your face use an exfoliant like Wildcrafted’s Skin Renewal Gel, which gently removes dead skin cells without scratching your facial skin. Follow this with a Cleanser such as Wildcrafted’s Lemon Cleanser or Hydrating Cleanser, depending on your skin type, to get rid of any still remaining stale oils and other impurities. Then use a toner to close the skin pores such as Wildcrafted’s Wild Herb Toner or the Milk of Roses Toner or one of the others in this range.
Lastly, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. Again depending on your skin type, choose one of Wildcrafted’s moisturisers. These skin care products are natural from the ground up, formulated by a well-known, experienced medical herbalist and teacher of Medical Aromatherapy, so you can be sure the products will do what they say - a good thing to know.
Finally, don't be frightened of the sun - she is your friend and if given the appropriate respect, sunshine will only ad to your health.
Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.