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Healthy Living

Staying Healthy Having FUN in the Summer SUN!



Something about Summertime pulls you outdoors and into the spectacular sunshine. But you may have noticed the Sun has changed over the past 50+ years. It seems more intense. According to Scripps Atmospheric Scientist Ray Weiss, that’s because the Earth’s ozone layer has thinned, and more ultraviolet (UV) light rays are passing through to the Earth’s surface.1


This can turn your summer fun into a nightmare if you’re not adequately protected.

How UV Rays Affect You

UV table

The thinning of our ozone layer sparked the necessity to warn people about the amount of UV exposure. In the 1990s, the UV index was established and is now part of our daily weather report. As you can see in the chart, the scale starts at zero for the safest, rising to 11+ for extreme risk.

In 2003, scientists detected a whopping UV index reading of 43.3 at Bolivia's Licancabur volcano. And research scientist Richard McKenzie of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand has also seen unusual readings. He found that at high elevations in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina are regularly hit with UV index levels higher than 25. So, the Sun’s effects on us are definitely changing.

The ultraviolet A rays (UVA) are longer wavelengths that affect the top dermal (skin) layers and are associated with skin aging, dark spots, and wrinkles. Think UVA = Aging. The ultraviolet B rays (UVB) are shorter wavelengths that penetrate the deeper skin layers, causing sunburns. UVB = Burning. They both damage the DNA in skin cells and can alter or mutate genes, leading to tumors.

Damage to these genes can also produce premature aging, eye damage, cataracts, eyelid cancer, and skin cancer. Sunburns particularly play a substantial role in developing the most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.2

What Does the SPF Number Mean?

That healthy golden tan is your body’s response to protect itself from the harmful rays of the Sun. However, as you well know, it’s not enough to protect you without sunscreen.

When shopping for sunscreens, you’ll see an SPF number on the label. For example, an SPF 30 means it would take your skin 30 times longer to burn in the Sun without the sunscreen. This is because SPF 30 allows about 3% of the UVB rays to reach your skin.

SPF Number

An SPF 50 product allows about 2% of the rays through. But these figures don’t take into account losing that protection through sweating, water, or rubbing it off.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using an SPF 30 or higher and reapplying it every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

That SPF number refers to the amount of UVB protection you’re getting. However, UVA rays also contribute to sunburns, so it’s helpful to find a chemical sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” SPF protection. But you might not want to rush out for sunscreen just yet.

Scary Synthetics

Sunscreens can come with scary side effects. You see, 65% of what you slather on your skin and scalp enters your bloodstream. That means they affect your biological processes.

Sunscreens containing synthetic chemicals protect by ABSORBING UV rays. These include octinoxate, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and oxybenzone and are known as hormone disruptors.

They cross cell membranes and interfere with your natural hormone production.3 4 These can affect estrogen levels, give men man-boobs, alter reproductive systems, enter breast milk, and lower sperm count. It also suppresses thyroid functions, leading to hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, and more.5

Another ingredient called para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) can cause skin irritations, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. And Avobenzone only works for 30 minutes, then breaks down and stops protection. It’s a severe eye irritant and can cause skin sensitivities.7

Besides the threat to your health, they pollute the environment. Some beaches have already banned chemical sunscreens that harm fragile ecosystems and wildlife.

These synthetic chemicals increase your toxic load. Remember, your shaving cream, cologne/perfume, makeup, beauty creams, shampoos, soaps, and more also contain toxic chemicals that affect organ systems. And since you’re wearing these chemicals 24-7, your liver must work overtime to remove these toxins from your body. This can exhaust your liver and lead to many health issues.

Natural Minerals

Reducing your toxic load by swapping synthetics chemicals for natural and plant-based products helps you feel more refreshed and protects your health.

The only natural sunscreens approved by the FDA are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals physically BLOCK OUT the Sun’s UV rays. Remember the thick white cream (zinc oxide) used on infants for diaper rash? Some of these sunscreens are thicker than you’re accustomed to and are harder to rub onto your skin and may leave streaks.


However, now you can find micronized zinc oxide, which has been transformed into nanoparticles (super-small size particles) that are easier to apply. According to the Environmental Working Group, studies show no indication that zinc oxide gets absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts – at less than 0.01% – and is considered SAFE.8

These Sun blockers help prevent dangerous sunburns, premature aging, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and cancer. And it’s an excellent option for people with sensitive skin and skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis.

Chemical Absorbers vs. Physical Blockers

Dermatologists recommend physical blockers over chemicals. Dr. Lawrence Desjarlais is a medical and cosmetic dermatologist and shares the benefits of physical blocker sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide:

Physical Blockers Chemical Absorbers
Protects as soon as it’s applied Takes about 20 minutes to work
Lasts longer when in direct UV light Stops working rapidly, requiring frequent applications
Gentle on skin, doesn’t clog pores Harsh on skin
Doesn’t absorb into bloodstream Requires detoxification
Excellent for sensitive & problem skin Can cause side effects

As a bonus, zinc oxide also has antimicrobial factors and helps wounds heal more quickly.


Remember, chemical absorbers protect against UVB rays. But there’s great news because these NATURAL MINERALS provide an excellent SHIELD against both UVA and UVB rays. Finding one with a combination of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is an ideal plan.

Still, sunscreen alone isn’t enough protection in today’s stronger sunshine.

The 6 S’s for Staying Sun Smart

  • Slop on the natural sunscreen and keep it handy (apply as needed)
  • Slip on long sleeves when spending a long while in the Sun
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat or ball cap that shades your face
  • Slide on 100% UV protective sunglasses
  • Seek shade (umbrella works in a pinch)
  • Swig water to stay hydrated

Now, you’re ready to head outdoors, get active, and have fun, fun, FUN in the Sun!


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