Herbal Medicine

An herb is a plant or plant part used for its scent, flavor or therapeutic properties.

Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals.

Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by people, and can be used to effectively treat diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.

How it Works

Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.


The use of herbs to treat disease is almost universal among non-industrialized societies, and is often more affordable than purchasing expensive modern pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care.

Studies in the United States and Europe have shown that their use is less common in clinical settings, but has become increasingly more in recent years as scientific evidence about the effectiveness of herbal medicine has become more widely available.


Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.

To use an herbal product as safely as possible:

  • Consult your doctor first
  • Do not take a bigger dose than the label recommends
  • Take it under the guidance of a trained medical professional
  • Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or nursing


Herbal medicine products are dietary supplements taken to improve one's health. Many herbs have been used for a long time for claimed health benefits. They are sold as tablets, capsules, powders, teas, extracts and fresh or dried plants.


  • Wikipedia contributors. Herbalism. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. November 26, 2012, 22:12 UTC. Accessed November 27, 2012.
  • NIH: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Qigong literally means life energy cultivation, and it is nearly a 5 thousand year old Chinese art that is the practice of graceful movement with breathing to improve flow of energy. It is very closely related to the martial arts and is a wonderful holistic practice that will enhance health on all levels of body, mind and spirit.

How it Works

It combines certain movements with abdominal breathing and focus of the mind to unblock energy pathways to produce healing of the body, mind and spirit. The big focus is here is on the breath for in the breath there is life.


Qigong is a wonderful healing art that has been around for thousands of years. It works to unblock energy pathways and create better flow of energy in the body. Whenever there is better flow of energy in the body there is more health. It will improve sleep, augment recovery time, reduce stress and enhance the immune system.


In order to learn this correctly it would be wise to seek out a good teacher of Qigong and then cultivate your own practice at home with the use of DVD instructional videos. If you have any health concerns please check with your doctor prior to participating in a class.


Qigong is a wonderful healing art that has many different forms of practice. It is of great benefit to the body, mind and soul in that it is a gentle but highly effective modality that is non-invasive, economical and good for many physical ailments as well as emotional imbalances.


  • The Way of Qigong the Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing by Ken Cohen
  • Heal Yourself with Qigong by Suzanne Friedman
  • The Root of Chinese Qigong by Yang Jwing-Ming


Reflexology is a natural non-invasive technique that involves the use of gentle pressure on certain “zones” of the feet, hands or ears that correspond to other areas of the body or organ systems producing a beneficial effect on those systems.

How it Works

Its works by the practitioner pressing on certain parts of the hands, feet or ears that has association with another body area or organ. The belief being that this pressure will have a beneficial effect on the organ or system being worked on.


This has been found to be very useful in lessening anxiety, reducing stress and promotes a feeling of wellbeing. It is known to lessen fatigue and reduce muscular tension as well.


This modality has been found to be extremely safe. However if you have pain in your hands, feet or ears you may want to consider an alternative healing method as this one uses those areas to complete a session.


Reflexology is a wonderful non invasive natural healing modality that involves the gently use of pressure to cause a beneficial effect on the body.

Many report that it has been beneficial on their journey to wellness. Reflexology is also an economical, natural way to augment your health, and you can easily learn to do this for yourself and your family.


  • The Everything Reflexology Book by Valerie Voner The Reflexology Bible by Louise Keet
  • Reflexology and Acupressure: Pressure points for Healing by Janet Wright

Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and look back on a tradition of more than 2000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary therapy.

These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative medicine in the western world.

Chinese Medicine’s view of the body is little concerned with anatomical structures, but with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction.

Chinese Medicine diagnosis consists in tracing symptoms to an underlying disharmony, mainly by palpating the pulse and inspecting the tongue.



Homeopathy as a treatment has existed for more than 200 years and is gaining greater acceptance in many countries, particularly the United States. It was developed and put into practice by a German physician – Samuel Hahnemann. Since the days of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and till today an attending physician of the royal family is traditionally a homeopath.

The difference of homeopathic remedies from traditional drugs is incorporated in the name of “homeopathy” (homois – like, pathos – sickness, suffering). The basic principle of homeopathy is the similarity between a cure and an illness.

The treatment of a disease requires application of small amounts of substances that in large doses cause a healthy person to suffer phenomena with similar clinical presentation (i.e., complaints and symptoms) of a patient.

Here is a simple example: when people cut onions, their eyes tear and suffer a running nose – in short, it is the same effect as a cold or an allergic reaction. By deriving medicines from onions, homeopaths successfully treat a common cold, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis. This is the principle of similarity.

Homeopathy does not seek to replace conventional antibiotics, sulfonamides and other anti-inflammatory drugs, but offer a complementary approach to preventing and healing illness.

How It Works

A specially trained pharmacist is responsible for preparing homeopathic medicines. They combine one part of a starting material and 99 parts of solvent – distilled water or alocohol. This is the first dilution. Then, one part of the first dilution is combined with 99 parts of a new solvent. Such a process is repeated multiple times. Homeopathic medicines are issued in dilution (potency) in the form of granules, drops or tablets. A dose is assigned individually and may change during treatment.

As supplements, they are usually taken 15-20 minutes before a meal or 1 hour after a meal. In acute conditions, a frequent intake (every 10-30 minutes) may be prescribed. Treatment duration, frequency and amount depend on the dynamics of the condition being treated.

A homeopath usually learns a history of a patient, conducts examination and communication with a patient to determine constitutional and personal traits. Only after this, a tactic of homeopathic treatment is produced. The raw materials for traditional homeopathic medicines are substances of plant, animal and mineral origin.


The main advantages of homeopathy are:

  • Friendliness and safety
  • An individual approach to a patient
  • The use of medicine in small doses
  • The absence of addiction and withdrawal syndrome
  • The ability to use multiple medicines at the same time
  • The possibility of a combination of traditional and other treatments
  • Treatment of all age groups, ranging from fetal and neonatal period


Homeopathy can be used for many types of conditions, but is difficult to treat people intoxicated with chemicals and people who are sick with serious illnesses: cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. In such cases, homeopathy can only reduce a disease. Sometimes homeopathic medicines can exacerbate the symptoms one is experiencing. In such cases, the dose or frequency of administration should be reduced or temporarily discontinued.


Homeopathy is based in two primary theories:

  1. “Like cures Like” – a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people.
  2. “Law of Minimum Dose”- the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Some homeopathic remedies are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.


  • Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 9(6), 949-57., Aickin, M. (2003).
  • Integrative Cancer Therapies, 5(4), 293-307., Bell, I., Koithan, M. (2006).
  • Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(2), 269-83., Bell, I., Lewis, D., Brooks, A. et al. (2004).
  • Evidence-based Complement Alternate Medicine, 3(1), 13-24., Bellavite, P, Conforti, A., Pontarollo, F. et al. (2006).
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Natural Remedy Boxes Calendar of Health Topics

Each month a new natural remedy box is delivered right to your door.

Boxes have been offered for Sleep, Weight Loss, Fitness, Allergies, Skincare, Brain Health and more.

The schedule for the upcoming natural remedy boxes is as follows:

Natural Remedy Box Calendar

Jul – Digestive & Gut Health
Aug – Bone & Joint Health
Sep – Cold, Cough & Flu
Oct – Pain Relief
Nov – Stress Reduction
Dec – (coming soon)

Discover new natural products that improve your health! Each box contains health natural products such as superfoods, snacks, herbs, oils, creams, vitamins and nutritional supplements.

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Healing the Skin and Body with Turmeric

When it comes to health benefits, turmeric is an ingredient that’s as modern and cutting-edge as it is time-honored and traditional. Turmeric has long been held in high regard in Hindu rituals, particularly with Indian women who would add it to their beauty routine as a skin brightening treatment before their wedding, giving them the ultimate glowing look. Newborn babies would also have their foreheads rubbed with turmeric for good luck. And its use as a healing, medicinal food has a storied history as well. Curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow pigment, is mainly responsible for turmeric’s potent anti-inflammatory properties. In the skin, cucurmin has been touted for its ability to soothe irritation, combat acne, calm rosacea, and help even out hyperpigmentation. Turmeric is prized for its powerful antioxidants that slow down cell damage, reduce both internal and external inflammation, and brighten and revitalize complexions. Recently turmeric has experienced a renaissance as a trendy supplement and topical ingredient, as well as an antioxidant-rich spice to add to meals.

Turmeric in skincare is a hot topic. The benefits of masking with turmeric have become increasingly popular in the West, though its major drawback is the issue of skin staining. The most effective way to incorporate turmeric in topical skincare without battling skin stains is to dilute this very active—and highly pigmented—spice. The easiest way to dilute turmeric is to use a very small amount relative to the total ingredients in your formula.

For topical use, always mix turmeric with other ingredients like flour, oil, milk, or yogurt to avoid skin irritation. Turmeric powder mixed with warm water, warm milk, or a complimentary oil like sesame, hemp, or jojoba oil can be made into a paste to clean wounds and promote healing. Turmeric and manuka honey paste is known to soothe cuts and wounds and even improve the appearance of scars; and combined with aloe vera, it makes a soothing paste for sunburned skin. As an introduction to masking with turmeric, here’s a simple mask recipe that benefits all skin types:

Golden Skin Mask

You may also want to incorporate diluted turmeric into topical treatments as a macerated oil or a glycerite. Both dilutions are simple to make, and have a similar process. If it’s summertime, or if you live in a warm climate year-round, making a macerated oil or glycerite can be made simply in a mason jar. Start with your desired amount of dried turmeric in a mason jar, add enough vegetable glycerine or carrier oil (olive or jojoba are recommended for their shelf-stability) to cover the dried herb by two inches, and then leave the sealed jar in the hot sun for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking every day. After the time has passed, strain out the turmeric, and you’re left with a lovely oil or glycerite which has assumed all the beneficial properties of the turmeric, but is much easier to use as a topical skincare preparation.

If you live in a cooler climate, or the warm summer has passed, you can still make macerated oils or glycerites using a slow cooker on an extra-low setting for 3 to 4 weeks. It is also possible to make a macerated oil or glycerite on the stovetop using a double boiler, but it’s much more difficult to control the temperature, and you run the risk of cooking off the benefits of the turmeric. Once you’ve completed your macerated oil, you can use it as a cleansing oil or moisturizer–and you can use the glycerite as an ingredient in a cleanser, toner, or water-containing moisturizer.

Not to be overlooked are turmeric’s powerful internal benefits, as a strong anti-inflammatory pain reliever, a stomach soother and digestive supporter, and a potent anti-aging spice. Turmeric is commonly used in dried, ground form straight from the spice jar, but interest in growing in fresh turmeric root as well as turmeric supplements in capsule form. Here, NAA co-founder Tisha Jill Palmer shares her personal story of reducing pain with ground turmeric, as well as a nightly turmeric recipe for healing and self-care:

“After a stomach surgery left me unable to take any NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), I was at a loss on how to manage my arthritis pain flare-ups. Certainly, reducing or eliminating inflammatory foods like sugar and dairy from my diet set me up for success—but when I combined my other healthy habits with daily turmeric, I noticed pain relief with the bonus reduction of my rosacea symptoms. While I love cooking with turmeric, as my collection of yellow-stained wooden spoons reveals, my favorite form of turmeric supplementation is a mug of my very own Good Night Golden Milk. My trick to making this drink into a meditative self-care ritual is to never skimp on the ingredient quality or the details. I channel my years as a barista and froth this drink up to its golden glory, complete with pretty sprinkles, and enjoy while I write my nighttime gratitude list.”

Good Night Golden Milk

With so many forms of turmeric hitting grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and beauty boutiques, there’s truly a way for everyone to experience its powerful benefits for beauty and health. However you use turmeric, we hope you are able to appreciate its healing effects, both inside and out.

Written by the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance co-founders.

photo credit: Mixed spice via photopin (license)

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Essential Oils & other Natural Treatments for Eczema

Reviewed & edited by Dr. Jeffrey C. Lederman, DO, MPH and Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually occurs in children (often starting before age 5) but that can occur at any age. Eczema usually lasts for years but tends to flare up and subside.


Symptoms include cracked, dry or scaly skin that itches, often getting worse at night; red or brown patches, commonly inside the bend of the elbows and knees and, in infants, on the face and scalp; small, raised bumps on the skin that may leak fluid when scratched; and red, swollen skin that’s irritated from scratching.


Researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause of eczema but believe that the condition could be hereditary. Eczema may be a result of a gene variation that affects the performance of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin that acts as a barrier to protect the body from the irritants, allergens and microbes of the outside environment.

Another possible cause of eczema is a dysfunction of the immune system, which generates an inflammatory response to environmental factors.

For years, people blamed eczema on allergies, but eliminating allergens has been found to rarely help clear the condition.


Doctors usually treat eczema with prescription creams that contain steroids and antibiotics. They also recommend antihistamines, hydrocortisone and prescription-strength moisturizers. While pharmaceutical treatments are helpful, they only suppress symptoms and do not heal the root of the problem.

Instead, consider essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil, which can act as restorative agents to the skin as well as provide aromatherapy to aid in relaxation and reduce stress.

Lavender oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that act to restore the skin. Lavender oil gently eases irritation while working to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin.

Tea tree oil acts as a protective agent for the skin with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has been shown to help reduce the appearance of scar marks, which may result from constant scratching.

Essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, which means that they may cause skin irritation. Consider combining the oil with a water or oil-based substance to reduce potency.

The aromatic compounds of the lavender and tea tree oils act as a stress reducer, which also is important because stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups. To maximize the aromatic benefits of these essential oils, consider an aromatherapy diffuser.

Other ways to manage eczema

  • Choosing mild soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes and making sure to rinse the soap completely off the body when bathing
  • Moisturizing the skin at least twice a day, especially after bathing, to ensure that the skin stays hydrated
  • Avoiding excessive bathing, which can cause more dryness
  • Wearing cool, smooth-textured cotton clothing
  • Avoiding rough, tight or scratchy clothing such as wool
  • Using a humidifier if indoor air is hot and dry
  • Reducing or eliminating stress

Written by Jessica Braun. Jessica is a health writer at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[ dot]com.


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Supplements for Micronutrient Deficiencies

Reviewed & edited by Dr. Jeffrey C. Lederman, DO, MPH and Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Not everyone can eat nutrient-dense foods for every meal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American consumes only one fruit and one or two vegetables per dayi. This may be one reason why millions of people do not meet the daily intakes, known as Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), for some vitamins and minerals provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)ii. If individuals fall short of RDA values, dietary supplements may help provide vital micronutrients required for optimal health that are not consumed through a daily diet.

Micronutrients, including vitamins and trace minerals, support a variety of physiological functions within humans and other living things. Vitamins are complex organic moleculesiii, and minerals are mostly inorganic chemical materials that can be found in nature in the form of deposits or salts. Both are needed for biological processes.

While there are several important vitamins and minerals to the body, 13 vitamins, are considered “essential,” for normal cell function, growth and developmentiv. These include four fat-soluble vitamins– A, D, E and K, and nine water-soluble vitamins – C, B1(thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), Pantothenic acid, Biotin, B6, B12 and Folate (folic acid). There are 15 minerals that are considered “essential” for proper bodily function, and they include calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, sodium, chloride, sulfur, iodine, fluoride, cobalt, selenium, manganese and zincvi.

In rare instances, states of clinical (“true”) deficiencies occur with the extended avoidance of certain vitamins or minerals; such conditions include deficiencies like Scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) or Rickets (vitamin D deficiency). Conversely, extremely high levels of vitamins and minerals that exceed recommended intakes, are not necessarily beneficial for the human body and may actually be harmful. For example, people with Wilson’s diseasevii,a rare genetic disorder that causes excess copper to accumulate in vital organs like the liver and brain, require a lower intake of copper from daily nutrientsviii. Similarly, too much vitamin A can cause birth defects, and excess amounts of vitamin E may increase the risk of hemorrhagingix.

On a more positive note, recent studies have shown how consuming dietary supplements can assist the absorption of vitamins and minerals found naturally in foods. One study, by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, points to the way dietary supplement use is linked to higher intakes of minerals. In the study, individuals who took mineral-containing supplements had higher mineral intakes from food sources in the diet than did non-users.x

Although supplements may provide a greater intake of valuable micronutrients, the question remains as to whether there is adequate absorption of these nutrients and exactly what benefit they may add. Recent investigation of this question includes results from a studyxi published in the Journal of Pediatrics, which assessed the effects of dietary supplements on vitamin absorption in children. In children older than 8 years, dietary supplements were shown to add micronutrients to diets inadequate for crucial vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and E. Children 2-8 years old, on the other hand, had nutritionally satisfactory diets regardless of supplement use.

This new bulk of literature examining the effects of vitamins and minerals may help redirect current thinking on the use of dietary supplements for children and adults. Often, supplements are used in an attempt to increase life expectancy, however a more immediate goal may be to provide individuals with micronutrients that are often lacking on a daily basis in typical diets. To ascertain key deficiencies or overabundances of vitamins and minerals for an individual’s daily dietary needs, a blood test can be administered by a medical practitioner.

Since everyone’s nutritional requirements are unique, it may be beneficial to monitor one’s diet, observe how it affects one’s health, and identify where supplements may be of use. Using the recommended micronutrient intake ranges provided by the USDAxii will help increase mindfulness of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for an optimal diet. Deficiencies or excesses can then be targeted through diet first, and secondarily with supplements, if needed.




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10 Natural Remedies for Eczema

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, that usually occurs in children, but that can occur at any age.

Symptoms of the condition, which tends to flare up and subside, include cracked, dry or scaly skin that itches, often getting worse at night; red or brown patches, commonly inside the bend of the elbows and knees; and red, swollen skin that’s irritated from scratching.

Below are 10 natural remedies for eczema relief:

  1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

    Moisturizing is very important when trying to relieve eczema symptoms. Heavily moisturize the skin with shea butter or a moisturizing cream, which is better at holding in moisture than a lotion.
    Moisturize your skin 2 to 3 times a day and apply the moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing to lock in moisture.

  2. Take a warm bath

    Sprinkle oatmeal or baking soda into a lukewarm bath and soak in the bath for about 20 minutes until your skin starts to wrinkle. After the bath, pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer.

  3. Choose mild soaps and detergents

    Choose mild soaps and detergents without dyes or perfumes. Also, make sure to rinse the soap completely off your body when bathing.

  4. Take measures to stop itching

    Apply an ice pack, a cold compress or a package of frozen vegetables to the affected area to reduce the itchiness.
    Cut your fingernails and wear cotton gloves at night to reduce the tendency to scratch the area.
    Use a humidifier in the winter time to reduce hot or dry air, which can lead to itchier skin.

  5. Stay cool

    Heat tends to further irritate eczema, so try to stay as cool as possible. Keep the temperature at home below 75 degrees Fahrenheit and wear loose-fitting clothes that keep the skin cool. Avoid synthetic fibers and wool fabric, which may cause more itchiness.

  6. Drink green tea

    Green tea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce eczema symptoms. Antioxidants help protect the skin and body from free radicals. The anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the skin’s inflammatory response to environmental factors.

  7. Avoid dairy products

    Eliminating or greatly reducing your intake of milk and milk products may help ease eczema symptoms. A possible cause of eczema is a dysfunction or weakness of the immune system. Dairy products may irritate the immune system, leading to more vulnerability for eczema flare-ups.

  8. Consider essential oils

    Essential oils like lavender oil and tea tree oil can act as restorative agents to the skin as well as provide aromatherapy to aid in relaxation and reduce stress.Lavender oil has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that act to restore the skin. Lavender oil gently eases irritation while working to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin.

    Tea tree oil acts as a protective agent for the skin with its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has been shown to help reduce the appearance of scar marks, which may result from constant scratching.

    Essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, which means that they may cause skin irritation. Consider combining the oil with a water or oil-based substance to reduce potency.

  9. Reduce stress

    Reducing or eliminating stress can soothe eczema symptoms because stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups. The aromatic compounds of lavender and tea tree essential oils may act as a stress reducer.

  10. Learn what triggers your eczema and avoid it

    Track what you eat, which products you use, the temperature, the clothing you wear and the activities you perform on a daily basis to try to identify what causes a flare-up so that you can avoid it in the future.

– By Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.


  • Mayo Clinic
  • Everyday Health
  • National Eczema Association
  • WholesomeONE


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Natural Sunscreens

The warm weather is here, which means that it is time to take advantage of the beautiful outdoors. It also means that it is time to make sure that your skin is protected from the sun. There are a multitude of sunscreen products on the market today, including lotions, ointments, sprays and moisturizers. Many of these products, however, contain potentially harmful chemicals which not only can harm your skin, but can cause additional damage as they penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream.

Before buying sunscreen products, read the tips below from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization that aims to protect human health and the environment:

Avoid spray sunscreens.

Although spray sunscreens may be tempting because you can apply them quickly and easily, be aware that you or your child can easily inhale them as you’re applying them. Plus, you risk missing spots on the skin when applying the spray.

Understand the SPF.

SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor, measures the product’s ability to protect the skin against the sun’s UVB, or Ultraviolet B, rays. The SPF does not provide an accurate measurement of the product’s ability to protect against the sun’s UVA, or Ultraviolet A, rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays, speed up skin aging and wrinkling, and may suppress the immune system. UVA rays also contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Many SPF products on the market today boast SPFs of 50 and higher, which may give buyers a false sense of security about how much they’re protecting themselves against the sun. These high-SPF sunscreens suppress sunburns but raise the risk of other kinds of skin damage. In fact, the FDA is considering barring SPFs above 50, according to the EWG.

Avoid sunscreen that contains oxybenzone.

This chemical is an active ingredient in many beach and sport sunscreens on the market. Oxybenzone penetrates the skin, enters the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It also can trigger allergic skin reactions.

Avoid sunscreen that contains retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A.

Although this chemical is a common ingredient in night creams to help improve the skin’s appearance, you should not apply retinyl palmitate to sun-exposed skin because the chemical may encourage the development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.

Now that you know which sunscreen products to avoid, what can you do to protect your skin from the sun? Below are a few ideas on how to protect your skin naturally:

Consider using sunscreen made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

These products provide strong sun protection with few health concerns. Also, zinc oxide provides more protection from UVA rays than any other sunscreen chemical approved in the U.S., according to the EWG.

Eat foods high in antioxidants and omega 3s.

Foods high in antioxidants and omega oils can protect against the effects of UV ray skin damage. Foods such as carrots, kale and collard greens contain high amounts of antioxidants, while soybeans, salmon and walnuts are rich in omega 3s. Omega 3 fish oil supplements also can help protect the skin from sun damage by decreasing the skin’s response to the sunburn.

Create your own natural sunscreen.

You can make your own sunscreen with ingredients you can find in most grocery stores.

Use common sense and be proactive.

For example, try to avoid going outside in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest. Also, wear light-colored clothing because dark colors absorb more heat. Finally, consider wearing a wide-brim hat to protect your face.

– By Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

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  • Environmental Working Group:
  • WholesomeONE:
  • WholesomeONE:
  • WholesomeONE:


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Are you Protected from the Sun?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. If a person has had 5 or more sunburns, their risk of melanoma doubles.

Check out the useful Myths vs Facts when it comes to protection from the sun.

This infographic was produced by and originally published on

Are you protected from the sun?