Getting sun smart

By: Eugene Sims

I am sure glad to see the sun out and the weather warming up, but mindful of the caution needed in the sun. There are some excellent ways to be sun-safe naturally. Obviously, the sun is at its most powerful on the longest day of the year, December 22. The closer we are to this date, the stronger the sun. Furthermore, when there is a full moon, the sun exerts a more powerful effect during the day. This is due to the moon thinning the water in the atmosphere.

Here are my top seven tips for being sun smart:

•    Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm where possible. This is the worst burn time. Avoiding staying out at these times is advised or at least covering up well.

•    Clothes are the best sunscreen. While there are some amazing sunscreens around, clothes and hats that keep out the sun are best.

•    There are now some brilliant natural sunscreens around.  I am currently using ‘Coskin’, which has lots of great ingredients. We are stocking it at the clinic, and it is made locally. There is no water in it so it is very water resistant. You don’t need much of it and it’s very easy to apply.

•    Treat sunburn like burns. Cold water applications and moisturisers are best. Homeopathic Urtica urens and cantharis creams work well. Keep the burns cool and always covered if you have to be in the sun again.

•    Reflection off water (and off snow and ice) is the easiest way to get burned. When there is reflection off water you are being hit by the sun’s rays from above and below. So be mindful of applying sunscreen to areas that you wouldn’t expect, for example, the underneath of your nose.

•    Beware of subtle burning on cloudy days. UV light penetrates clouds. Even on cloudy days in summer, you still have to be careful.

•    Keep your hydration levels up with plenty of water and avoid diuretics that tend to dehydrate, such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and energy drinks. This is especially important if you are in the sun for long periods of time. Even if you are well covered, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are other potential problems of time in the sun.

•    You must be very careful between 10am and 3pm, but earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon it is beneficial to get some sun on your skin. It seems that we have become a bit paranoid about sun exposure. Getting gentle sun is very good for you in small amounts (15 minutes outside of burn time has been shown to be very beneficial), though obviously not if you already have burns or sun damage. While it all sounds a bit heavy, enjoy the sun while it is around, and use your common sense.


Eugene Sims, Warkworth Natural Therapies
www.wnt.co.nz

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