Check out the useful Myths vs Facts when it comes to protection from the sun.
This infographic was produced by and originally published on Myriad.com
With the summer season in full swing, now is the time to combat sunburn and restore healthy skin. Essential oils, known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, can be used to soothe redness, burning, and blistering that come as a result of being overexposed to the sun.
Sunburn occurs when one’s skin is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or an artificial light source, like a tanning bed. Each person reacts differently—some with minor redness, others with more severe blisters or peeling of the skin—so it is important to take necessary precautions both before and after sun exposure.
That being said, if one’s skin has burned, prompt treatment can decrease skin damage and speed up the healing process. There are various essential oils, formulas, and sprays that are particularly useful for the two-part experience of sunburn: relieving pain and healing damaged skin. The following options can serve as a guide.
Tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil)
Excellent for post-sun relief, this essential oil comes from the wild tea tree bush native to Australia and New Zealand. Filled with over 98 compounds, and usually clear to pale golden in color, tea tree oil rejuvenates dehydrated skin and alleviates stress with it’s pleasant, camphor-like scent. The cooling properties of tea tree oil are akin to mint and are refreshing in cases of sunburn.
Heal Damaged Skin
A member of the mint family, lavender’s anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties work to quickly heal damaged skin. Lavender essential oil contains aromatic molecules called esters which work as a tonic for irritated skin cells. Lavender oil increases circulation, prevents blistering, and heals skin so that scars and pain are minimized. For a quick home remedy, you can even make your own sunburn spray using lavender oil.
Homemade Sunburn Spray
– 1/2 cup water
– 2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel
– 10 drops pure lavender essential oil
– 10 drops pure peppermint essential oil
– A 4 oz. (or larger) spray bottle
Mix ingredients together well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray onto skin, allowing the spray to dry. Re-apply as often as needed.
While using essential oils to treat sunburn, keep in mind that they are extremely concentrated and have the potential to burn or irritate skin when used alone. Utilize a carrier oil—an oil derived from the fat in plants, usually from the seed, nut, or kernel—to use as a base. Some common carrier oils are olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and safflower oil. Most essential oils and carrier oils can be bought in health stores or online.
Written by Nicole Kagan
The sun is blazing and the temperatures are rising – two crucial elements that lead to sunburn. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, but with all of the chemicals and by-products in commercial sunscreen it is difficult to find protection that is safe. Here is an easy recipe for an SPF-30 sunscreen that has the added bonus of eucalyptus to help keep bugs away too.
Using a double boiler (a glass or steel bowl over a saucepan with about an inch of simmering water, make sure the bowl does NOT touch the water) combine all ingredients except the Zinc Oxide into the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to keep everything moving until it gently melts to create one uniform mix. Once everything is completely melted and uniform add the Zinc Oxide. Mix well and pour the mixture into a glass jar such as a mason jar and allow the mixture to cool. Once it is cooled, use it as you would any sunscreen.
Making sunscreen yourself eliminates most of the harsh chemicals that are in commercial sunscreen. The level of Zinc Oxide can also be altered to provide more or less protection from the sun. Also, a combination of eucalyptus oil and citronella oil (essential oil, no lamp oil) can be added to have the added benefit of bug repellent without using harmful deet.
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America’s explosive interest in organic food is obvious. Even a recent Gallup poll reports that 45% of people ‘actively try to include organic foods in their diets’.
But when asked about organic sunscreen, only 30% of women, the primary purchasers, say that Organic ingredients are important. 70% indicate that organic ingredients are Not Important, they Don’t Know or Only Important for Children.
This shows a big discrepancy in how Americans think about organic food versus organic sunscreen. It is especially poignant considering that price is often cited as a reason people don’t buy organic food, but there is little difference in price when comparing sunscreens with chemicals against organic ones.
Skin Absorbs Ingredients into Bloodstream
Rachael Pontillo, bestselling author of the book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, a AADP Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and licensed aesthetician, states, “People still don’t realize that the skin absorbs up to 66% of what’s put on topically.” It’s worth noting, skin is the largest organ of the human body.
SPF = SPF
Pontillo goes onto say, “Many people think that an organic sunscreen wouldn’t give them adequate coverage, even though in reality, any product labeled as sunscreen has to be approved by the FDA and has to go through the same standards of testing for safety and efficacy as any other FDA drug-containing product does. Simply said, SPF-30 organic and SPF-30 non-organic sunscreen each provide the same level of protection from the sun.”
The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) has been working on educating people in the differences in sunscreens by annually publishing sunscreen guides and research findings on the harmful effects of chemicals in sunscreen products.
For instance, they write that Oxybenzone, an active ingredient in half of the sunscreens they reviewed, can disrupt the human hormone system. And Retinyl palmitate, in 20% of their reviewed sunscreen products, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies, and possibly cancer.
Even with the EWG’s work, further education is clearly necessary.
An Organic Question
The short survey sponsored by WholesomeONE.com and conducted with Google Insights in May 2015 asked 505 random American women between the ages of 25 – 54 the question:
“When buying SUNSCREEN, is it important that the ingredients are Natural & Organic?”
WholesomeONE.com CEO, Kevin Burke predicts “Just as controversial ingredients are being removed from many food products, the same can be expected for the sunscreen category.” In the meantime, there are dozens of organic sunscreens available from natural products manufacturers such as Badger, TruKid, Loving Naturals, and Every Man Jack.
WholesomeONE.com is a Natural Health Marketplace. The website helps people find natural ways to heal from pain and illness, and be healthy. People can find holistic treatments, as well as shop for natural products.
Written by Dr. Snyder
Sunburn is a radiation type burn that damages the skin when it has been overexposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun or an artificial light source such as a tanning bed. Symptoms can include redness, burning, or blistering on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. Sunburn should be thought of as damaging or “poisoning” to the skin.
How does the sun cause damage to the skin?
The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis. The sun emits ultraviolet rays that can cause damage in a number of ways, such as the following.
Much of the ozone layer has been lost. It is this layer that helps protect us from the damaging effects of UV rays. A critical aspect to understand is that UV rays are ultraviolet radiation. Repeated exposure to UV radiation causes permanent skin damage and increases the risk of developing cancer.
The symptoms of sunburn often depend on the amount of time that is spent exposed to UV rays.
The sun is one of the main sources of Vitamin D for the body. Our skin contains an enzyme that helps the body process Vitamin D so that it is usable for the body. One risk factor for low Vitamin D levels is spending too little time outside. An irony of Vitamin D is that much of our needed Vitamin D comes from the sun and low Vitamin D levels actually increase the risk of developing skin! People only need 15 minutes of sun exposure a day to obtain the recommended amount of Vitamin D. You don’t need to spend hours in the sun for your body to receive the Vitamin D it needs.
Your diet is an important aspect to reduce the risk of sunburn. You can “eat your way” to better skin health. Foods that are high in antioxidants and Omega oils are protective against the effects of UV ray skin damage.
On a daily basis, consume foods that have a high antioxidant value. Include one or more of the following foods in your nutrition program.
Several studies have demonstrated that Omega 3s can reduce the degree of sun-induced skin damage.
The following foods are high in Omega 3 content.
If you find it difficult to add these to your diet, then try adding a daily “greens” powder to your diet. Many of these powders are full of plant-based oxidants and Omega 3 content. Most often a heaping tablespoon in an 8 oz glass of water first thing in the morning is recommended. Follow the directions on the powder mixture container.
Supplementing with herbs and antioxidants can help prevent sunburn. Use a combination of several for maximum skin protection.
This antioxidant that is found in the skin of the grape is very beneficial in preventing sunburn. It is a “photo-chemoprotective agent “ that boosts skin defenses to help prevent UV ray induced skin damage. For sunburn prevention, use both the capsule form and the topical form. Take one 250 mg capsule daily in the morning and before venturing outside, apply resveratrol cream to those sun-exposed areas, such as your face, arms, and legs.
Did you know that green tea extract can assist in the prevention of sunburn? It can be found as an ingredient in some sunscreens. In one study, the use of sunscreens that contained Green Tea Extract helped provide significant better protection from the UV rays. In another study, volunteers who had green tea extract applied to the skin prior to being exposed to solar radiation demonstrated little or no redness to the skin. When the skin cells were evaluated under a microscope, they found a reduced number of cells affected by solar radiation compared to the control group. Look for natural sunscreens that contain Green Tea Extract and apply to your skin before going outside.
Additionally, considering drinking green tea extract daily. It will provide your skin cells with antioxidant support needed to defend against sun induced skin damage.
Both Vitamins C and E are excellent skin antioxidants and can be taken on a daily basis.
In one study, taking 2 grams of Vitamin C and 1000 units of Vitamin E daily resulted in a noticeable reduction in the redness of the skin after exposure to UV rays, as compared to the control group.
Begin with Vitamin C 1 gram a day and Vitamin E 400 IU (International Units a day).
Omega 3 fish oil can help protect the skin from sun damage. It can dramatically decrease the skin response to acute sunburn, including reduced redness and tenderness. People can start by taking 1000 mg twice a day.
Polypodium leucotomos is an herb that has shown to protect the skin against UV radiation. Studies have demonstrated that both topical and oral forms are effective. There is an oral form of this called Fernblock. It is to be taken 30-minutes before going out into the sun.
While commercial sunscreens do provide the skin with sun protection, there can be concern with some of the other ingredients that are included. Some of them may be toxic and may increase the risk of developing cancer. You can create your own natural sunscreen.
Vegetable oils, including olive oil, and coconut oil can provide protection against the UV rays of the sun. Other oils that you can add when creating your own natural sunscreen include sesame seed oil and hemp seed oil.
Here are some general principles concerning the treatment of acute sunburn:
In addition, the use of botanical antioxidants, essential oils and homeopathic remedies can help provide relief of pain and reduce inflammation.
This has been well studied for the treatment of acute sunburn. In one study, the effects of a topical resveratrol treatment for the treatment of acute sunburn were evaluated. There were several areas of the skin that were “designated” to receive exposure to UV rays. On one of those areas a topical anti-oxidant crème containing resveratrol was placed on one of the sunburned areas for all fifteen people for four consecutive days. The investigators noted that the area treated with resveratrol had minimal redness compared to the other sites in all fifteen individuals. They also noted that there was a decrease in the number of sunburned cells in the resveratrol treated group compared to the others. Apply this antioxidant cream to the sunburned areas twice a day.
This cream also can provide the skin with the antioxidant support to minimize the pain and inflammation of acute sunburn. Massage the cream directly into the sunburned area twice a day.
Using topical Vitamin C and E has beneficial effects for the treatment of acute UV damage. In several studies, the combination of these two antioxidants have demonstrated efficacy at treating acute sunburn. Apply this directly to the sunburned area twice a day.
Homeopathic remedies can also be used for the treatment of sunburn. The small doses used in homeopathy are effective in helping the damaged skin heal with no side effects.They can be used in conjunction with other skin based treatments.
One effective homeopathic treatment is Arnica Montana. It can reduce the skin inflammation and help promote healing of the sunburned area. You can apply Arnica Montana gel at a 30C dilution to the affected area four times a day.
Another effective option is the Boiron Calendula Cream. Calendula officinalis is the primary ingredient and it is very effective in the treatment of minor skin wounds and burns. You can apply Calendula cream to the sunburned area three times a day.
Updated: August 2013