Laying out by the pool or at the beach, going mountain biking, or skiing—these are all fun activities for this year’s spring break, but remember to take care of that precious face of yours.
We get so excited by the fact that the only responsibility we have for the week is to have fun…that most of us forget to use sun protection and end up facing major painful consequences. I’m not only talking about using sun protection, but using the right kinds.
The types of sun protection that we should all use are Earth and body friendly. We tend to forget that what you put on your body—lotion, perfume, make-up, etc—goes into your body—similar to digesting food. Topical products do not remain on the surface of your skin, they absorb into your skin. So using generic sun protection may protect you from the sun, but it is not protecting you from other harms.
Skinbiology.com says that free radicals from chemicals lead to other skin problems that can lead to cancer. Since our bodies are not used to these types of synthetic chemicals that we heavily apply for a few months, the chemicals are stored in our body fat and remain in our systems.
There are many environmentally and body friendly companies that make sun protection, but there are a few things you need to know before using them. I use Burt’s Bees 30SPF Chemical Free Sunscreen with Hemp Seed Oil. This 100% natural, non-whitening lotion works wonders. Because it is natural, and does not have the chemicals that allow it to stay on in the chlorine pool or in the salty ocean, I must apply it after I get out of the water or sweat for a long period of time. The more frequently I apply it, the more aware I am of my time spent in the sun, which I believe to be a good indicator of how much longer I can go before I cover up or head inside for another margarita.
#1 rule: When you apply sun protection, use one shot glass full for your whole body a few times per day and especially after you towel off, sweat or get wet. And we know this spring break you will be getting yourself in plenty hot situations.
Another thing you environmentalists or snorkelers should care, is that the chemicals from non-natural products harm ocean reefs and water ecosystems. If you don’t apply natural sunscreen for your own well-being, do it for Nemo and his friends. Biodegradable sunscreens break down naturally in the oceans, rivers and lakes and do not harm the environment. Read this article from the National Geographic, Swimmers’ Sunscreen Killing Off Coral.
A few companies that support healthy bodies and a healthy world:
Burt’s Bees Chemical Free Sunscreen with Hemp Seed Oil
Badger Sun Screen
Jason Family Natural Sunblock
Earth’s Best Organic Chemical Free Sunblock
Lindsay Friedman is a senior studying environmental science and sustainable development at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is an intern at elephant journal and has a part time job at The Fitter. She is also a leader of a local food campaign on campus called CU Going Local. She is a true Chicagoan turned mountain girl. Follow her on twitter, Laine0315.