Hello Arizona Sun!
Even if you didn’t just move to the blazing desert, chances are you’re enjoying some of the year’s hottest rays. I love the sun; to me it means the beach, fresh produce, and warm nights. Unfortunately, it can also mean sun damage.
Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces. We often associate a glowing complexion with good health, but skin color obtained from being in the sun – or in a tanning booth – actually accelerates the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer.
Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily — taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you’re young, it will definitely show later in life.
Some of the possible effects of sun exposure to the skin are:
- Pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) skin lesions – caused by loss of the skin’s immune function.
- Benign tumors
- Fine and coarse wrinkles
- Discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation;
- Sallowness — a yellow discoloration of the skin;
- Telangiectasias — the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin;
- Elastosis — the destruction of the elastic tissue causing lines and wrinkles. Source
- Wear a hat, duh.
- When exposed to prolonged sun, slather up with all natural sunscreens (without toxic ingredients!).
- Eat your antixodiants. Foods like dark berries are loaded with antioxidants that go around and clean up any free radials the sun might be causing. Here are a few to chew on:
- Tomatoes: In a preliminary study at Newcastle University in England, volunteers who ate a 1/4 cup of tomato paste daily, increased their skin’s resistance to UV rays by 33%. The key being, Lycopene, an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red hue. For best results, cook the tomatoes first. The body absords lycopene more easily from cooked foods.
- Salmon: wild, of course. Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild Salmon might reduce the risk of melanoma (flaxseeds are another great source of omega 3′s).
- Dark Chocolate: yahoo!! the abundant flavonoids in dark chocolate contribute to increased resistance to sunburns. Look for all natural bars.
- Leafy Greens. Of course. What do these babies not do?
- Apple cider vinegar applied to the skin effectively neutralizes the burn, relieves pain, and prevents blistering and peeling. Simply soak a cotton ball or small sponge in apple cider vinegar and dab on the burned spot, or make a compress for larger areas. If severely burned, repeat two to three times a day. If you are suffering from head-to-toe char, it’s best to take a bath in the stuff – simply add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to the tuba and soak for at least 15 minutes.
- Cool and soothe the burn with aloa vera gel.
- Moisurize your parched skin without trapping in heat with coconut oil.
–I wrote this article for Orca Health, please click here to check out the great things they are doing!