Los Angeles gives us summer-like weather almost all year round. But even here in California, the rays of the sun become more intense during the summer months, so regardless of where we live, we must all be extra mindful about our sun exposure during this time of the year.
The American Cancer Society states that there are over five million new skin cancer cases each year and that melanoma outweighs all other cancers combined! These are staggering statistics especially for those of us who live in a sunny climate and may be at increased risk.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about healthy sun exposure and whether or not a tan equals potential long-term damage to our skin. While there are many opinions on this topic, some things remain clear.
The basic guidelines to follow in order to reduce your overall risks of cancer and aging of the skin are:
- Avoid lengthy sun exposure at peak times between 10am-4pm
- Cover up with clothing, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses
- Remain in shady areas between 10am-4pm
- Apply quality sunscreen liberally to exposed areas
With new studies coming out about potential dangers of certain chemicals in sunscreen, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which ones to purchase to protect you and your family. As a general guide, stick to natural sunblock whenever possible. Look for creams and lotions that contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as their main sun protection ingredients.
While the verdict is still out, certain ingredients may act as endocrine disruptors which can mimic the hormone estrogen. When made by the body or given as a drug, increased estrogen may affect reproductive organs and may also raise the risk of certain cancers. For more information, visit the Environmental Working Group EWG for a list of sunscreen products which can be harmful.
Along with being smart about your sun exposure, you may want to take some natural approaches too, in order to boost your body’s ability to block harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Astaxanthin– this potent antioxidant found most often in shrimp, salmon, lobster, and krill has been shown to increase the body’s natural ability to absorb UVA and UVB. Supplementing a minimum of 2mg of Astaxanthin per day, may help to lower your risk of cancer and reduce overall inflammation.
Topical Vitamin C– Applying a Vitamin C serum or cream with your sunscreen may act as extra defense from the damage that the sun causes to your skin. A serum is best, one that contains at least 15% pure Vitamin C.
CoQ10– Supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 and using it topically in creams or lotions may help to fight the free radicals that come from the sun’s rays. Italian researchers found that melanoma patients had very low levels of CoQ10 compared to those who were free of cancer. Another study in 2006 showed that topical CoQ10 suppressed the inflammation caused by UV radiation.
Healthy Exposure– More and more doctors and health practitioners are suggesting that 10-20 minutes of sun exposure to a large percentage of your skin without sunscreen, may actually be a healthy and good way to produce natural Vitamin D3. Some experts suggest doing this before 10am or after 4pm while others say that peak times are okay.
Vitamin D– Supplementing Vitamin D3 may help to boost immunity and reduce the risk of certain cancers. It is thought that taking Vitamin K along with D3 may increase the positive effects of a Vitamin D3 supplement.
Apart from avoiding skin cancer, many of us want to keep our largest organ looking young and supple. It really is a balancing act of getting enough rays to boost our health and immunity without overdoing it and causing sun-related aging of our skin.
Like all things in life, balance is key. It is vital that we don’t live in fear or angst about enjoying healthy sun time with friends and family, but also, ensuring that we are taking precautions and being smart.
Let this summer be one that you remember. Take the steps to protect yourself and then go out and celebrate this wonderful time of the year. Be healthy, be safe, and enjoy!
*Always consult with your doctor about healthy sun practices, especially if you have a history of melanoma or are at increased risk of cancer.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com
He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!
Astaxanthin, pronounced “ASTA-ZAN-THIN” is possibly the most potent antioxidant on earth. Considered 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C, this red colored phytonutrient which comes mainly from micro-algae along with certain orange and red colored fruits and vegetables is seriously good for your health!
The reason that krill, flamingos, shrimp, lobster, and salmon are pink is because they eat large amounts of astaxanthin-packed algae and phytoplankton. Known as a carotenoid, this powerhouse superfood is shown to reduce inflammation within the body, increase the skin’s protection from the sun when used both internally or topically, and may even lighten sun spots caused by aging.
Like most antioxidants, astaxanthin fights harmful free radicals within the body to assist in healthy cell production. It also has been studied for its ability to minimize muscle damage and improve recovery after exercise along with increasing physical energy in athletes. It has been shown to support eye and heart health, and may increase cognitive function as well.
One of the best sources of astanxanthin is from the tiny crustaceans known as krill. The shrimp-like sea life that are found deep in the Antarctic ocean are best because these waters contain less toxic waste making it relatively pure. Krill also tends to live deep below the water’s surface in areas where toxicity and pollution is decreased even more.
Taking 4-12 mg of astaxanthin per day is highly recommended by numerous alternative doctors and health experts for its long-term support of overall health and longevity.
We can get overwhelmed by the numerous options of vitamins, minerals, and superfoods on the market but I for one, make astaxanthin a part of my daily supplement regimen.
*Astaxanthin is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com
He is the Best-Selling Author or LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!
Summer is here and who doesn’t want more beautiful, vibrant skin just just in time for the beach or your upcoming pool parties? Here are 5 foods/herbs that will help give you that youthful, healthy glow from the inside out and the outside in. You’ll also receive numerous other health benefits!
- KRILL OIL – Krill are tiny crustaceans that live deep in the ocean. The ones from the Antarctic are best because they are mostly free of toxins and chemicals. They are packed with a powerful antioxidant called Astaxanthin which helps to lower your risk of sunburn and works to reduce sun and age spots. Krill also has loads of Omega 3 oils which reduce inflammation and soothe fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness. Take 1000mg of Krill oil capsules everyday, eat sardines, wild-caught salmon, and flax and chia seeds.
- COCONUT OIL – Coconut is everywhere and for good reason. It is one of the worlds most potent superfoods! It contains Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids which literally soothe your skin from the inside out. Coconut also has anti-fungal effects so it may soothe skin rashes including psoriasis and excema. Use Coconut Oil topically as a moisturizer and put 2-3 Tbsp in your smoothie, with your eggs, or spread it on toast instead of butter.
- ASHWAGANDA & TURMERIC – These two herbs have been used for thousands of years in the Indian Ayurvedic tradition. They are known to reduce inflammation in the body which helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness. They also reduce stress and lead to a deeper, more restful sleep. We all know how much better we look after a great night’s sleep right? Topically they can both be used as a facial mask along with raw honey, and coconut oil to help alleviate acne and rosacea. Take 1-3 grams per day in capsule form.
- KOMBUCHA TEA – Why not sip on iced Kombucha Tea this summer instead of regular? This fermented tea is a powerful probiotic which helps to bring back important healthy bacteria to our gut. Our gut is our second brain and everything that goes on there including our skin’s condition, starts with our gut. Kombucha reduces inflammation which helps with more beautiful skin and will lower the risk of rashes and other imperfections.
- BRAZIL NUTS – All nuts and seeds are great for our skin but Brazil nuts are packed with the antioxidant mineral called Selenium which fights free radical damage and may lower the risk of sunburn. Brazil Nuts also contain Essential Fatty Acids which literally moisturize our skin from the inside out. One handful of Brazil Nuts gives us 10x our daily allowance of Selenium.