Spring and summer are already upon us. Hip hip hooray for longer hours of daylight, steaming sunshine, blooming plants, and more time to spend outdoors. But being outside comes with responsibility to wear proper clothing (including sunglasses and hats), effective bug spray, and adequate sunscreen. What happens when you forget one of those things? Rashes, bug bites and sunburn, oh my!
Why we need the sun
The sun is essential to all of life. Did you know that if the earth was tilted one more degree on it’s slanted access, that the poles wouldn’t have enough sunshine to sustain life and that the equator would be too hot to allow anything to live? We have just the right amount of sun to foster growth and life on Earth.
A particularly sunny day can make everything brighter; even science agrees. The UVB rays are transmitted from the sun to our skin. In response, the body produces melanin and the skin darkens (tans). More melanin and more vitamin D actually allow you to spend more time in the sun without getting a sunburn.
The sun is one of the main sources of vitamin D (also known as “the sunshine vitamin”), which helps your body fully absorb nutrients, encourages your muscles move, assists your nerves to transmit messages between your brain and the rest of your body, and even boosts your immune system to fight off unwanted viruses or bacteria. In other words, spending some time in the sun is essential to foster ideal health.
The benefits of spending time in the sun
In addition to helping you get a nice tan and increase your intake of vitamin D, sun exposure can:
- Boost your immune system.
- Improve your sleep.
- Increase your brain power.
- Prevent diseases like cancer, arthritis or bone disorders.
- Speed up your metabolism.
In moderation, sunlight can offer many health benefits. But overexposure can be harmful. Most health professionals recommend that you spend approximately 5 to 30 minutes in the sun, twice per week, between the hours or 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, offering exposure of your face, arms and legs without sunscreen. After that, wearing a sunscreen of at least 8 SPF will block harmful sun rays.
How much sun is too much sun?
How do you know when you’ve spent too much time in the sunshine? If your skin starts to become red or pink, immediately find shade or cover up your skin. Be sure to check under your shirt – the sun can penetrate through your clothing! Most importantly, it’s always a good idea to apply sunscreen before absorbing some rays. Wearing clothes made to reflect the sun or covering up with a hat is also recommended.
But sometimes, that’s not enough. You still end up sun kissed, or worse: blistering. The sun literally burns your skin the way boiling water or fire does. Not only are sunburns painful and sensitive, they are not good for your body! It’s your skin’s defense mechanism against harmful rays.
How to naturally treat a sunburn
Thankfully, there are a few all-natural remedies for sunburn. Note: if your skin is blistering or has open wounds, please consult a physician to treat your burns.
Natural sunburn treatment #1: water
A burn of any kind will dehydrate your body of all moisture. If you find yourself with a sunburn of any degree, be sure to drink extra water.
Natural sunburn treatment #2: aloe vera
This is a common go-to treatment for sunburns. It’s been around for generations and is well-known for it’s cooling effects. You can purchase an aloe plant or a gel, but make sure that you product doesn’t contain any preservatives or additional chemicals. We recommend this aloe vera product.
Natural sunburn treatment #3: lavender essential oil
Similar to aloe, lavender essential oil will have a soothing and calming effect on your sunburned skin, plus it helps your skin heal more quickly. Combine a few drops of lavender oil with organic coconut oil or aloe, then gently rub over your sunburns. Buy lavender essential oil here.
Natural sunburn treatment #4: peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is also effective at treating sunburns or other skin irritations, especially for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Combine a few drops of peppermint oil with organic coconut oil or aloe, then gently rub over your sunburns. Buy peppermint essential oil here.
Natural sunburn treatment #5: tea tree essential oil
Tea tree oil works just like lavender and peppermint oil as a treatment for sunburns. Combine a few drops of tea tree oil with organic coconut oil or aloe, then gently rub over your sunburns. Or, combine a few drops each of lavender, peppermint and tea tree oil with coconut oil or aloe, and gently rub over your sunburns. Buy tea tree essential oil here.
Natural sunburn treatment #6: apple cider vinegar
Who would have thought that apple cider vinegar could relieve a sunburn? It’s touted for its ability to balance pH, which is needed after a sunburn. Soak in a lukewarm bath with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in. Or combine equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water; soak a washcloth in the mixture and gently rub over your burns. Buy apple cider vinegar here.
Responsibly enjoy soaking up the sunshine!
Enjoy your spring and summer seasons of gardening, playing outside, going swimming, hosting barbecue parties, and relaxing at the beach. Just remember your sunscreen and bring along some all natural remedies for when the sun loves you too much (and leaves you with it’s kisses all over your body!)