Tanning safely

by ir. Yvana van den Hork

Gone are the days we were trying to perfect a beautiful bronzed skin. Somehow, a milky white skin has become fashionable again, probably induced by campaigns warning us against 'evil sunrays' as the primary cause of skin cancer.

Many won't even go outside, without slathering layer upon layer of the highest factor sun screen available (spf 50+ or more). Is this a smart move, given the fact we live in an area that barely gets enough sun in winter and as a consequence, lets us suffer from winter depression for lack of vitamin D!
If you don't wish to get a tan and yet want to make vitamin D naturally, the answer is fairly easy: stay outside in the sun without sunscreen on just long enough.
In spring and autumn around noon, in summer later or earlier in the day, so you get a base amount of vitamin D in.
The ideal amount of time is about half an hour, which equates a walk during lunch time or after 5pm in summer.

If you need to be out and about in the sun for much longer, slip on a long-sleeved shirt and slap on a hat, yes even when swimming if you can!
While sunscreen is considered safe for humans, oxybenzone, the major UV-blocking agent, is highly toxic to coral and quite likely the leading cause for the decline of coral reefs around the world.
A safer choice for both humans and the environment is a mineral-based sunscreen containing zinc oxide that is not naturally absorbed by the body, hypo-allergenic and also effective at blocking UV-A rays (spf is only an indication of how well a sunscreen blocks UV-B) .
In addition, there are foods or supplements available which protect your skin, such as resveratrol (wine, grapes and berries), omega 3 fatty acids, astaxanthin (salmon, krill oil), catechins (green tea), vitamin E (seeds, almonds and asparagus) as well as beta-carotene (carrots, bell peppers).
If you *do* get burnt, colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera cream are good products to soothe skin.

Astaxanthin is called a miracle anti-oxidant for a good reason.
Astaxanthin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and brings pain relief, helps with fatigue, supports eye health and offers natural skin protection against UV-A damage.