There have been a few articles floating around Facebook lately about whether sunscreen is good for you or not, so I thought I’d share some natural alternatives to sunscreen.
*Disclaimer: Before I begin, I just want to point out that this is in no way an attempt to persuade you not to use sunscreen – what you put on your skin is entirely your decision. This blog is simply a sharing of my own beliefs and experiences on the subject.
Being of Irish descent, I have quite fair skin. I never used to be able to stay out in the sun for very long before I began to burn. So I used sunscreen to extend my sunbathing time, but I noticed that I would often get an annoying heat rash if I stayed out too long.
When I discovered the Raw Food diet, one of the many benefits I got from it was that I could stay out in the sun a lot longer without burning or getting a rash – and without using any sunscreen. I LOVE the sunshine, and I don’t like to put unnatural chemicals on my skin if I can help it, so this was very good news for me.
What is it about the Raw Food Diet that protects against the sun?
As I understand it, there are 2 main ways that a Raw Food Diet protects against sunburn. Firstly, there are many valuable nutrients found in fresh fruit and vegetables which provide the skin with natural protection. Secondly, the lack of processed junk foods in the diet means that toxic chemicals don’t find their way onto the surface of the skin, to react negatively with the sun’s rays.
Of course, I’m still sensible with my sun exposure. If I’m out in the hot sun for any extended length of time I’ll be sure to wear a sunhat and cover up with a sarong or scarf, or seek shade if necessary. I try to plan any outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, and stay away from the midday sun. Personally, I love nothing more than to relax in the shade on a sunny day and read a book. I don’t really see the point in lathering on lots of sunscreen just so I can sweat uncomfortably for hours in the hot sunlight.
I use natural cold-pressed extra-virgin oils such as coconut or sesame, as these can offer some sun protection, as well as providing the ideal environment for beneficial skin bacteria to thrive. There are even some natural oils (such as raspberry seed oil) which can have an SPF of up to 50. I like to use carrot seed oil on my face as not only does it have a high SPF but it also said to have anti-aging properties. Remember that anything you apply to your skin will be absorbed into your body, so a good rule of thumb is: if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!
I also usually avoid wearing sunglasses when sunbathing, strange as it may seem, as wearing sunglasses affects the body’s ability to adapt to sunlight. When sunlight enters the eyes, it sends a signal to your body to create melanin, which protects against sunburn. Aren’t bodies amazing things!
I live in Scotland, so in general the only time I feel the need to be careful is when I’m on holiday in a hot country. In this country, I’ll take all the sunshine I can get, as it makes me feel happier and healthier both physically and emotionally. In fact, I wrote this blog outside in the garden on one of our first sunny days of the year 😉
Lisa Murphy is a counsellor, hypnotherapist and raw foods advocate who specialises in weight-loss and healthy living. For more details of Lisa's therapies and weight-loss courses please visit www.CherryTherapies.com