How to Avoid Damaging UV Rays Without Living in the Basement

Physical_sunblock

Life on Earth as we know it couldn’t exist without the ultraviolet (UV) rays provided by the sun. In addition to the vital role the sun plays in the food chain by providing energy for plant life, UV light is important for human beings in helping produce vitamin D in the body. However, as anyone who has ever experienced sunburn knows, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. In the case of UV light, overexposure can cause serious damage to skin and even lead to cancer. There’s nothing wrong with getting some sun. However, you need to use some protection if you’re going to be out in the sun for a prolonged period of time to ensure you’re not getting too much of a good thing.

Applying Protection

Sunscreen is important to remember when you’re out and about on a sunny day. It’s recommended to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to provide the best protection. Sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” provides protection from more types of UV light than products without that label. Water-resistant formulas are better because they won’t be rinsed away as easily during activities in the water or run off when you sweat. Another key factor when choosing a sunscreen is getting a physical sunblock as opposed to a chemical sunscreen with nanoparticles that absorb into the skin and get into the blood stream. For more information on this, check out this blog post.

Safe_sunblock_for_kidsNourishing World sells two sunscreen brands that are physical sunblock and get a # 1 rating from the Environmental Working Group. These are Thinksport Regular and Kids Sunscreens, both have a 50+ SPF. The other brand we sell is Mercola Sunscreen, one has an SPF of 15, and the other has an SPF of  30. One last thing to remember about proper sunscreen use is to re-apply often, sometimes every hour in the worst of the summer months, to ensure you receive maximum protection.

Wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible is another good way to stay protected in the sun. Be sure to wear long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats to receive the most protection. Dark-colored clothing provides more protection than light-colored clothing; and tightly woven fabrics are better protection than loosely woven clothing.

Seeking Shade

And finally, the easiest way to help shield yourself from UV rays is to keep to shady spots on very sunny days — especially during the late-morning-to-late-afternoon period when the UV light from the sun is at its peak. This includes when you’re on the sand or snow, because it can reflect UV light and increase the amount in which you’re exposed. Staying inside when UV light is strongest also helps, especially if the windows in your home or car are tinted to block more UV rays. If you’re thinking about having your car windows tinted to protect yourself from the sun, the amount of tint you are allowed to have may vary based on where you live. The following chart illustrates the amount of window tint permitted in each state. Now go enjoy the outdoors safely!

rayno-window-film

This post was courtesy of Rayno Window Film.

Spring Break is Over

By Ali Wetherbee
Outdoor_playApril vacation has ended and the kids are back in the classroom. With recesses getting shorter every year, your kids are probably starving for outdoor time (despite the fact that they seem unable to get off the couch and turn off the TV!) Kids today are outside half as much as kids 20 years ago, and the average child spends nearly 8 hours a day using media and electronics. Outdoor play is good for physical fitness, improves distance vision, boosts self-confidence, and reduces children’s stress levels. It also leads to better behavior, improved attention, and less aggression. In one study, 95% of students who went outside during the school day scored high on math and sciences standardized tests, while at schools where kids stayed inside all day, only 65% scored well. And according to a study by Wells and Lekies, “The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in ‘wild nature activities’ before the age of 11.” So when the kids get off the school bus, try to squeeze in a half hour of outdoor time. Here are a few ideas to get them outside and enjoying nature:

  • Head to your favorite trail for a hike. If your kids are reluctant hikers, try handing them each a camera or binoculars, or print out a nature scavenger hunt.
  • Walk along the beach collecting treasures. Spring is a great time of year to find special shells, sea glass, driftwood, and creatures, and the beaches aren’t crowded yet.
  • Play a family game in your backyard — try soccer, baseball, badminton, or horseshoes.
  • Take a picnic to the park. Bring along a favorite storybook or a sketchbook and colored pencils.
  • Fly kites together.
  • Go for a rain walk. The first drop of rain may discourage your plans to get the kids outside, but many of the best memories involve broken umbrellas, puddle stomping, and mixing mud soup.

With all this time spent outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen. Summer is still a couple of months away but UV rays are present year-round, and more hours outside plus less clothing coverage equals a higher chance of sunburn. Both UVA and UVB rays are damaging to the skin and may lead not only to sunburn but also aged skin (wrinkles, sunspots) and skin cancer.

UVB

UVB rays are strongest from April to October, between the hours of 10am and 4pm. UVB rays penetrate only the top layer of skin, the epidermis, and trigger the production of melanin which leads to suntans and age spots or freckles. Too much UVB exposure can cause tough, leathery skin, wrinkles, and other visible signs of sun damage.

UVA

UVA rays are the same strength year round, which is why sunscreen is recommended daily, even in winter. UVA rays go deeper into your skin to the dermis, causing saggy skin, permanent red flush, and white or brown spots. UVA rays can pass through windows, windshields, hats, and light clothing.

Choose your sunscreen carefully

Most sunscreens contain a combination of several chemicals, usually oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These chemicals mimic hormones and are endocrine disruptors. Studies have found sunscreen chemicals to damage the reproductive system and interfere with development. They can delay puberty, reduce sperm production, increase the risk of endometriosis, stimulate hormone-driven tumors, and cause behavioral changes. If used while pregnant or nursing, they can lead to low birth weight and pass into breast milk. Some of these chemicals can also cause allergic skin reactions. Our sunscreens are rated a 1, a top rating, for safety and efficacy in Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. They contain only zinc oxide – a physical sun barrier, which is considered the best protection against broad spectrum UV rays — and all natural ingredients.

Get Outside

There’s no need to avoid the outdoors to avoid the dangers of the sun, especially since outdoor time is so beneficial. To protect yourself and your family from sunburns and skin cancer, stay in the shade during the midday hours. Cover up with long sleeves, a wide-brim hat, and sunglasses. Apply an all-natural sunscreen that contains physical (not chemical) blockers every morning, even on cloudy days, and reapply every 2 hours when out in the sun.

Enjoy the great outdoors!

How to Be Safe in the Sun: The Best Natural Sunscreens

 

Where to buy Thinksport
Buy Thinksport Sunscreen

by Colleen Russell

The summer of 2013 is just around the corner. Are you ready? It’s time to start planning vacations and cook-outs, beach days and camp outs. So, what do you need to keep your family safe in the sun? Number one on your list this year should be a mineral-based natural sunscreen. Five years ago, I would have zipped through the pharmacy and grabbed any old tube of sunscreen en route to the beach–the higher the SPF, the better. In fact, I would have chuckled at my future self for spending so much time scouring the EWG Sunscreen Guide in search of the best sunscreen for kids. Alas, here we are in 2013, and it is more important than ever to educate ourselves on exactly what we are putting on our skin. The skin is your body’s largest organ and the fastest pathway to your bloodsream. This year, we have stocked up on Thinksport Sunscreens, developed in cooperation with the Livestrong foundation, for safety and effacacy in sun protection.

What is the difference between chemical sunscreen and mineral sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens are made of chemicals broken down into nanoparticles; microscopic pieces of chemicals that seep down through the layers of the skin and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The vast majority of the sunscreen market, as much as 70%, still incorporates octisalate, oxybenzone, and avobenzone into their formulations. Each of these chemicals is potentially hazardous, offers a lower rate of effectiveness, and often triggers allergic reations, especially in children. Even more concerning is the finding that these chemical ingredients in sunscreens are hormone disrupters. Experts caution against exposure to these toxins, especially for pregnant women and children who will be more severely impacted by hormonal changes to the reproductive, immune, or nervous systems. Chemical sunscreens are readily available and offer great deals on sunscreen, but are not the best choice for a safe, effective sunscreen.
Mineral sunscreens are made of non-toxic mineral-based ingredients that create a physical barrier on top of the skin. Because of the larger size of the mineral particls, these products do not penetrate the skin, and do not put the user at risk for hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens are more effective, allowing for longer protection in the water and in the sun before reapplication is necessary. Thinksport sunscreens contain zinc oxide, a mineral sunscreen ingredient listed safe and effective by the Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide. Thinksport is SPF 50, the highest rating for sun protection factor deemed safe by the FDA. Thinksport sunscreen offers 80 minutes of water-resistant protection. The entire Thinksport sunscreen line, including Thinksport Kids and Thinksport, offer sun protection for two hours before reapplication is required, the maximum time allowed by FDA regulations.

What about Easy-to-Apply Sunscreen Sprays and Powders for Children?
Unfortunately, we must advise against the popular sprays and powders that make beach time a bit easier. In order to make a sunscreen, even a naturally-based one, fit through an aerosol sprayer, the ingredients must be broken down into nanoparticles. These nanoparticles are so small that, when applied to the skin, easily seep down into the pores where they are absorbed directly in the the bloodstream. This opens up the body to a whole host of toxic damages which a child’s body is unable to metabolize. It is worthwhile to take the extra few minutes and rub in a natural sunscreen which will give you the safest, most effective sun protection.
The good news is that Thinksport kids sunscreen, unlike the zinc oxide sunscreens of the past, can be quickly and easily rubbed into the skin. Thinksport sunscreen dries clear and does not leave an oily feeling on the skin.

What is the best natural sunscreen?
According to the Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide, Thinksport is the best sunscreen for kids, sport, and sand. The Thinksport Kids, and Thinksport Livestrong lines all received high accolades from EWG, who gave it the highest rating of 1 for safety and effectiveness with the least health concerns possible in sunscreen ingredients. Nourishing World is stocked in the entire Thinksport line and ready to help you protect your family from the sun. Order two bottles and your whole order ships for free. Get your order in now, before the rush, and be ready for the beach this summer. Enjoy!