by Marita Schauch, Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre –
I think that we can officially say that summer is finally here. But unfortunately, along with the heat comes the increased risk of sunburn, dehydration and insect bites!
Here are some useful tips to help you enjoy a safe and healthy summer outside:
• The first line of defense is to dress appropriately. Wear a hat, breathable tops (that provide UV protection) and sunglasses. Use a good quality and natural sunscreen that limits the absorption of both UVA and UVB. Many commercial sunscreens contain chemicals that can create a toxic burden on the body; however, some brands from your local health food stores will provide you with skin protection while minimizing those toxic chemicals. Check out the Environmental Working Group website for a list of the best and worst sunscreens: www.ewg.org.
• Keep well hydrated! Remember to take plenty of water along for outdoor hiking, boating or sports. Dehydration not only affects the skin’s appearance in the short term, but prolonged periods with inadequate fluid intake may affect the elasticity and smoothness in the lower skin layers. There are also electrolyte-balancing products available at your local health food store that can be added to water to prevent dehydration during high-impact outdoor activities.
• Skin health and protection can be nurtured from the inside out. Every cell membrane in the body can be strengthened by consuming unrefined essential fatty acids (EFAs). A good quality fish oil with a high EPA content contains nutrients that can act as protectors to your skin.
• Other important skin protectors and healers are: vitamin E (with mixed tocopherols), vitamin C, selenium, zinc, silicon and of course plenty of fresh fruits and veggies!
• Astaxanthin has earned a reputation as one of the most potent and powerful antioxidants. Research has shown that it has neuroprotective properties, decreases inflammation, protects the body from cellular damage and may help prevent UV damage to the eyes and help the skin resist UV damage from excessive sunlight exposure.
• Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea extract is a natural and powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that can support healthy skin.
• For mosquito, spider and other bug bites, keep the homeopathic Apis on hand for swelling and stinging. To keep bugs away, lavender, neem, rosemary, geranium and lemongrass are only some of the many essential oils that have been tested as possible insect repellants.
Some super sunburn remedies include:
• Calendula cream and aloe vera gel, which can soothe and repair all types of minor burns. Sunburns will heal quickly with topical applications of calendula and/or aloe and will prevent scarring.
• Urtica Urens, Hypericum and Causticum homeopathics all can be taken for sunburns as well.
Enjoy a Safe and Healthy Summer!