Going on Spring Break? Don’t Lose Your Face. ~ Lindsay Friedman

Via on Mar 19, 2012
The Bikini Open

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

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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.

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7 Responses to “Going on Spring Break? Don’t Lose Your Face. ~ Lindsay Friedman”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Johnie Beth Matthews: Hey, not only the face. The rest of the body exposed for hours in the sun has its consequences, too. I'm lucky to not have all that much damage as much as I was in the sun working on the ranch, etc. I have awful wrinkeled arms from more exposure than anything else. It shows up as you age.

  2. oz_ says:

    A good reminder, but this is only a part of the story – for example, a study in Australia found that a successful campaign to encourage people to use sunscreen rigorously led to widespread Vitamin D deficiency – which ironically leads to an increase in the chances of contracting skin cancer! Not to mention a potential host of other cancers and health issues such as risk of bone fractures (the scientific case for which has been growing rapidly in recent years) – as noted in this article:
    http://tinyurl.com/6w8hdbr

    Snippet:

    "…a forthcoming Harvard School of Public Health study is expected to show that adequate vitamin D levels reduce cancer risk by 30 percent, increasing pressure on the US Department of Agriculture to raise the recommended daily consumption of the nutrient. The new data also are likely to add to the chorus of vitamin D advocates who say it is time to lighten up on the anti-sun message. … Researchers such as Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University School of Medicine argue that the anti-skin cancer campaign actually made the vitamin D deficiency worse by keeping people out of the sun while not at the same time advocating increased vitamin D consumption in diets. Since vitamin D is not found in many foods, and many adults are lactose-intolerant, he believes the sun is the leading source of vitamin D for most people."

    The point here is that it is dangerous to take a simplistic view of these things because this tends to be an unbalanced view – and it is dangerous to place blind faith in advice coming from the medical establishment. The virulent anti-sun advice prevalent for decades has no doubt saved many from melanoma – but it has also undoubtedly killed others.

    Another example can be perceived in this article:
    http://tinyurl.com/6mnq3lt

    Wherein a heart surgeon stipulates that the diet doctors have been recommending for over 50 years as a preventative to heart disease – has in fact led to major increases in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc! This is because the theory upon which such advice was predicated – the cholesterol theory – turns out to be wrong – or more accurately, incomplete due to its failure to acknowledge the key role of inflammation – which is caused by the very diet recommended by doctors for 60 years! So again, we wind up with a simplistic and unbalanced view and in both cases, we see that well meaning health care practitioners gave out advice intended to help, but which in actuality also contained elements that harm.

    We should bear in mind that doctors in our expert-worshiping culture not infrequently exhibit ego-driven hubris, and, as Max Planck, one of the originators of quantum physics, noted long ago:

    "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents finally die."

    We are fortunate to have at our disposal access to information that allows us individually to take ownership of our own decisions, health and otherwise, rather than having to blindly defer to the experts – especially those who speak from authoritarian institutions such as the mainstream medical establishment (many aspects of which IMO have been corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry).

    It's also important for each of us to take care NOT to blindly promulgate information – especially of the 'conventional wisdom' sort – which may do harm, but rather carefully investigate the advice we pass along so that we do not ourselves inadvertently do harm. Ahimsa seems to me to demand no less.

    At this point, I would say the advice that our current understanding of science would support is to recommend allowing 10 – 15 minutes for exposure of skin to sun (assuming a sufficiently southern latitude for us northerners) prior to application of sunscreen – at least 2 or 3 times per week. This allows generation of Vitamin D on the one hand, and affords protection from skin cancer on the other.

    Nothing in life is risk-free, but we generally do best when we avoid extremes and seek a balance.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    FYI: "100% natural" as a term means 100% nothing. Literally, it has zero legal definition. Burt's is owned by Clorox (which is fine, but…check the ingredients). ~ Waylon.

  4. chang says:

    its totally ridiculous to use a gratuitous photo of a scantily clad bikini body to illustrate what you're trying to communicate.

    it's like so many pieces on elephant journal that lure readers with sexy photos of women, faces of beautiful women or sexy phrasing

    the objectification seems endless

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