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BellaOnline's Natural Living Editor

Safe Sunscreen

The sun is brighter in the summer and we often reach for our sunscreen when we know we will be out for an extended period of time. But, what we should know is that some safe sun exposure is good for us. Read on for tips on how to safely enjoy the sun and when needed, what sunscreen we should reach for and what to avoid.

First of all, we should consider where we will be. Are we going to a park with ample shade or a hot sunny beach? If possible, use clothing to cover up. Loose fitting light colors are best and allow some air flow. Exposing skin to the sun is beneficial for creating vitamin D for our bodies. When we slather on a lot of sunscreen your skin can't create that wonderful vitamin. When you feel like you have had enough sun, seek shade or hats and clothing. Also, you can plan your day around the sun's hottest rays, which is generally between 10am and 3pm. Take part in outside activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon. And, remember to wear your sunglasses. Being sun smart just requires common sense.

If you need to apply sunscreen, be sure to avoid oxybenzone, retinal palmitate, and fragrances, among other ingredients. Oxybenzone disrupts cells possibly causing cancer. Retinal palmitate increases the speed at which malignant cells develop. And, fragrance contains parabens and phthalates. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a great list of all potential sunscreen ingredients, the most toxic brands, and the best brands to purchase. To find more info: www.ewg.org.

If you must pick a sunscreen generally the brands that use a mineral filter versus a chemical filter are better. Those mineral filters are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The EWG has a great list of safe ones.

Most importantly, and it is often overlooked, but having a healthy diet is essential. Eating healthy fruits and veggies, which contains healthy antioxidants are wonderful. Making sure you are hydrated enough is very important. The skin needs plenty of water and antioxidants. A great drink to make is to fill a pitcher with some berries and then fill it with water. The juice from the fruit will infuse the water with a wonderful taste. Having an unhealthy diet will give you unhealthy skin, so your body's ability to heal from any sun damage will be more difficult. So, pick the healthy foods!

So, since it's summer, look forward to that safe time in the sun. Be a mindful consumer of sunscreens. And, don't forget to fill your body with the healthiest of foods.

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