Easy ways to keep you skin healthy and radiant all summer long!

Summer is here and the sun is shining. But is it safe to be in the sun?

Fifteen to twenty minutes of direct sun exposure a day is a great way to get your Vitamin D.  However we all want to lounge around by the pool, dodge waves in the ocean and sail and fish along a calm lake.  Long exposures to the sun means we have to protect the skin.

So how do we do this?

Dermatologists are always telling us to not go out without sunscreen. Make sure it has both UVA/UVB protection. Remember to apply even when driving. Once you hit 30 SPF, there is no need to go higher. Over 30 SPF is only minimally stronger and I find over 30 SPF can irritate the skin, especially the face. It’s better to apply all sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going outside and then reapply every hour. Don’t forget to apply to those under arms areas, bottoms of feet, back of neck and ears. People often forget that those areas. If your skin is sensitive to sunscreens, try a natural sunscreen with zinc oxide.

What about the eyes you ask? Well, I was just getting to that. Don’t forget the eyes! Optometrists and Ophthalmologists recommend we wear good quality UVA/UVB sun glasses for protecting our eyes from sun damage. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage not only the skin of your eyelids, but your cornea, lens and other parts of the eye. It can also contribute to the development of certain types of cataracts. So look for not only those cool looking Jackie O shades, but ones that have 99% to 100% of UVA & UVB protection. Save those little glasses for reading (those of you over 40 know what I mean) and go for the larger glasses, even the wrap arounds to better protect the eyes.

Protect your skin with food

Tomatoes are a great natural preventative. That is right. Studies show that those people that had 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste a day after 10 weeks had 40 percent less sun damage when exposed to the sun than those that did not. It is most likely due to the Lycopene found in tomatoes that neutralizes the harmful effects of damaging free radicals. However, don’t run out and buy a supplement. Go for the whole tomato or the paste. The paste has higher quantity and both are full of other vitamins important in keeping the body including the skin healthy.

Combat the damage of free radicals with fruits and vegetables!  Fruits and vegetables will keep you well hydrated on top of drinking lots of water throughout the summer. Remember that our skin needs fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamins A, C and E, because our bodies don’t produce those vitamins we need to get them through our food. These vitamins attack free radicals and better protect our skin, and our overall health. Selenium has also been shown to possibly prevent skin cancer.

Foods rich in Vitamin C:

  • guavas
  • yellow bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • kiwi
  • strawberries
  • oranges

Foods rich in Vitamin A:

  • liver (I know, me too…skip this one)
  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • dark leafy green and lettuce
  • dried apricots.

Foods rich in Vitamin E:

  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • pine nuts
  • peanuts
  • spinach

Selenium rich foods:

  • brazil nuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • tuna
  • salmon
  • meat
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • whole grains
  • onions

What to do when the damage has been done?

Drink plenty of fluids and by fluids I mean water. Keep away from caffeinated drinks, because the sun is already dehydrating, and caffeine will just add to drying you out. We want your skin to be a grape, not a prune if you know what I mean.

Go for the aloe vera gel. Moisturize your skin with it. Look for one with NO added chemicals. This will most likely be found at your health food store. If you are lucky enough to have the plant handy snap off a piece and rub it on your skin. I grew up in Pennsylvania and my mother was able to keep an aloe vera plant thriving indoors, so it can be done. We used it for all kinds of burns. It promotes healing and soothes the skin.

Mint tea vents out heat and rashes from the skin. Make a pot and drink it iced for a super refreshing summer drink that aids in releasing the heat from sunburn.

Now that you have your refreshing class of iced mint tea, your sunglasses and hat, your zinc oxide sun screen and your antioxidant rich foods; go ahead and grab a lounge chair, and relax by the pool. Just remember to wake up in an hour to reapply sun screen, and continue to soak up the joys of summer.

**Before starting any new physical or health regimen seek advice from your Medical Doctor.

Photo Credit:



Nora Sullivan-Houndalas is a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  She practices in Los Angeles.  Her practice includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology, and Meditation.  She is also a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor.   yatross@aol.com

About the JOY Coach

Nora Sullivan-Houndalas

Nora Sullivan-Houndalas is a Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She practices in Los Angeles. Her practice includes Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology, and Meditation. She is also a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor. You can contact her at: yatross (at) aol (dot) com.

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