I am truly a beach girl at heart. Gimme the sunshine and sand!
In this article I want to shed some (sun)light (sorry couldn’t help myself) on a topic that often brings up mixed messages: sun exposure!
This is a nuanced conversation. While the sun provides us with a vital nutrient our bodies need (vitamin D – y’all know this), it is equally important to prioritize sun protection and the use of sunscreen.
It just needs to be the right sunscreen!
I will get into that in a moment, but first, let’s talk about…
The power of sunlight and vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that actually acts more like a hormone than a typical vitamin because it’s produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Over 90% of Americans are deficient in this vitamin, which is a little nuts because it’s crucial for so many things, like:
- Calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and K2 absorption & utilization
- Maintenance of healthy bones
- Regulating insulin sensitivity
- Maintaining a healthy immune system
Plus, I like to call Vitamin D the Period Vitamin because of its essential role in:
- Fertility (follicle development & progesterone production)
- Menstrual cycle regulation
- Managing period pain, PCOS and Endometriosis
- And PMS
Now, to confuse you:
The power of sunscreen
While the sun provides numerous benefits, it’s important to remember that harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage our skin. Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and increase the risk of skin cancer. That’s where sunscreen steps in as a reliable ally. Here’s why wearing sunscreen is crucial:
- UV Radiation Protection: Sunscreen acts as a barrier, shielding our skin from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, cell damage, and contribute to the development of skin cancer.
- Preventing Premature Aging: Regular sunscreen usage helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.
“So what the heck should I do, Nicole?”
I’ve got you!
It’s important to strike a balance between sun exposure and sunscreen use:
1. Time management
Expose your arms and legs to the sun without sunscreen for 20 mins a day. It’s best to do this in the morning, up until around 10am and then again after 4pm. These are times when the intensity of ultraviolet rays (UV radiation) is lower.
Bonus: getting your eyes in the sunlight first thing in the morning supports your circadian rhythm – setting you up for energy during the day and quality sleep at night.
During the rest of the day you can find a mix of covering up (shade, long sleeves or dresses, wide brim hats) and, of course, wearing *safe* sunscreen.
The key is not slathering yourself in sunscreen allll day long so that you’re never getting any of that juicy, delicious, absolutely essential, vitamin D!
Okay this brings me to the most important part of this article…
2. Non-toxic sunscreen
There are 2 sunscreen categories out there at the moment: physical blockers and chemical blockers.
Physical sunscreens (the good guys) contain mineral ingredients that sit on the skin and deflect harmful rays.
Most chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that absorb into your skin and can contribute to hormone imbalances and period problems.
Sunscreen ingredients to AVOID:
These types of sunscreens often also include parabens and phthalates.
No thank you, I’ll stick with zinc!
So here’s my favorite sunscreen right now and why:
This is a mineral-based sun protection spray that delivers incredible benefits to your skin.
It’s formulated with non-nano zinc oxide (which means it doesn’t absorb into your skin and get into your bloodstream) making this kind of sunscreen the safest on the market. It also delivers lightweight SPF 30 UVA/UVB broad-spectrum protection.
It has plant-based ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E—coupled with a blend of CPTG® essential oils, including Frankincense, Helichrysum, and Carrot Seed. This sunscreen spray provides nourishment to the skin from head to toe!
This formula is oxybenzone-, paraben-, and phthalate-free, as well as vegan-friendly, reef-safe, and cruelty-free. It comes in a non-aerosol spray bottle that delivers a continuous, 360-degree application for easy overall coverage. It’s for everyday use by every age.
doTERRA actually has a whole line of incredible sunshine-related products! I put together a few of my favorites into a Summer Sun Bundle for you here! You’ll get all three products in the bundle for 25% off when you create a free account with your order. Or you can just order the Sunscreen Spray and you’ll get that for 25% off too.
3. Natural solutions & supplements to help you optimize vitamin D, plus avoid sunburn
Stabilize blood sugar
Blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance are linked to vitamin D deficiency. One study even found a direct correlation between low Vitamin D and diabetes. Make sure you’re balancing your blood sugar, girl! Easy tips: eat a protein rich breakfast, take a short walk after lunch and dinner.
Systemic inflammation is associated with lower vitamin D. Focus on reducing inflammation in your diet. Easy tip: cut out seed oils like canola and corn oil from your diet.
Focus on protective nutrients
Such as vitamin A, which absorbs UV light and protects against damage, zinc which promotes wound healing and enhances immune response, selenium – a key antioxidant for the skin, as well as vitamin E and C, beta carotene, which can exhibit a sunscreen-like effect. Deficiencies in vitamin K2, magnesium (needed to activate vitamin d) & boron are also associated with chronically low vitamin D.
Go ahead and check out my Sunshine Supplements Protocol for summertime sun support. You’ll find it in my Fullscript Supplement Dispensary where you always get 15% off all your orders and free shipping over $50. In order to access the protocols you’ll have to create an account.