Summer is here. And one of the biggest delights of this season is to lay down and take a nice sunbath. And not only tanning, but there are also many benefits we can get from a moderate exposure to the sun, like stimulation of the production of hemoglobin, rickets prevention, and control , prevention of different skin diseases ( psoriasis ), a beneficial influence on the nervous system, growth resistance to infections, stimulation of the vitamin D production.
But, if sun exposure is made in an irrational way, it may also have negative consequences, such as erythema and sunburn or, in time, skin diseases or skin cancers. The reason for these damages are the UV rays and is important to know what are the natural remedies that combat UV skin damages.
What the UV are?
Sunlight is made up of several types of electromagnetic waves (or electromagnetic radiations). Of these, only visible light, infrared and ultraviolet radiation (or rays), arrive on Earth, the others being absorbed by the atmosphere. Ultraviolet rays are classified into several types and one of these classifications consider the wavelength. So, there are UVA (ultraviolet with long wavelength), UVB (ultraviolet with medium wavelength) and UVC (ultraviolet with short wavelength).
Only UVC rays were ” stopped ” by the ozone layer of the atmosphere and didn’t influence the skin health. But these days, UV- C type pass increasingly more through the ozone layer, affecting the cell structure and causing various types of cancer. UVA and UVB are strong enough to get to the Earth and, even though we can not see or feel them, they can affect the health of our skin, causing burns and sunburns and being strong enough to “break “ the DNA.
How the UV interact with skin ?
UVA rays represent 95 % of UV rays that reach the Earth’s surface. They pass through clouds, glass and because penetrating deep into the dermis and even hypodermic, their consequences are the sunstroke and skin aging. While the UVB range is small, reaching only the superficial level and only irritating the skin, UVA rays can penetrate deeply damaging the cellular DNA and can act on the immune system, without giving immediate symptoms.
UVA rays extend into the dermal layer and produce an immediate tan, from the first day and in the long term can give photosensitivity and premature skin aging. UVA rays are always present in the atmosphere, regardless of the season, whether it’s sunny outside or it is cloudy. UVA rays are so powerful that can penetrate clothing and even sunglasses.
Some experts believe UVA rays of the sun as relatively safe (this type of rays used in tanning solar systems) , others say that UVA rays are responsible for wrinkles and brown spots on the skin.
UVB represents 5 % of UV rays that reach the Earth’s surface. This rays penetrate the top layer of skin (epidermis) and are “guilty” of sunburn occurrence and for the skin tanning after about 21 days and, at the same time, stimulates the synthesis and action of vitamin D. Unlike UVA , UVB do not have the same power over the year.
They are more intense during the summer months, although snow can reflect them and so it is important to protect yourself from UVB rays throughout the year. UVB rays are responsible for the occurrence of several types of skin cancers. This is why all the specialists recommend to not stay in the sun during the lunch time when the UVB rays are the strongest.
Both UVA , and UVB are responsible for premature skin aging and for the appearance of skin diseases and skin cancers.
Which are the best protections against UV damages?
The best solution to protect the skin against cancers, sunburn, and premature aging, is to not expose yourself to the sun rays between 10.00 in the morning and 16.00 in the afternoon. This recommendation is related to the way radiation reaches the earth. At noon, ultraviolet rays fall perpendicularly and this is why, in this part of the day, they are the most intense.
In the morning and in the evening are less intense because they fall tangential to the ground, making the radiation level to be lower and less risky to exposure, explain the dermatologists.
Your diet can help you during the summer days. Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water and herbal tea (sweetened with honey). Supplements the diet with products rich in vitamins E, A and C (fresh fruits and vegetables : carrot, cabbage, leeks, onions, tomatoes, melons, apricots, pumpkin, peaches, bananas, oranges, papaya, milk, egg yolk, nuts, berries. Eat foods rich in water, vitamins and minerals, easily digestible: watermelon, oranges, papaya, blueberries, bananas, potatoes, peas, salad.
Green tea has a protective effect against solar radiations. In addition, it calms inflammations and can be consumed twice a day mixed with mint, lemon, and honey. For a healthy and uniform tan, beta-carotene has an antioxidant effect, delaying the aging process. It protects against the harmful effects of UV radiation.
You can drink the tea from marigold , hawthorn fruit , leaves, and fruits of blueberries, nettle leaves, dandelion, willow bark for good hydration and with protective effects against sunlight. It is recommended to drink two to three cups per day.
In general, before your exposure to the sun, it is essential to use sunscreen creams whose active ingredients are natural and are better tolerated by the skin: extracts of aloe, olive, sesame, beans, wheat, avocado.
They reduce the impact of sunlight and even blocks about 20% of these rays, so these creams have a clear role in protecting the skin against the adverse effects of sunlight. Sunscreens oils based or the ointments emulsified in water adhere better to the skin and provides superior protection compared with creams based on a gel, foam or milk.
Most sunscreen creams protect against UVB rays. In recent years, cosmetic companies have introduced UVA protection, too. To be sure that you protect properly, choose a sunscreen that has passed on the recipient’s label UVA / UVB. It is also necessary to use a sunscreen with an SPF of least 15 and to reapplied it at most two hours. To figure out how long it takes your beach cream, multiply the SPF value by ten and get the time, in minutes, that you can spend in the sun.
Cold-pressed Vegetable Oils
Also, for protection against the harmful sun radiations, you can use different types of cold-pressed vegetable oils, which are renowned for their high content of vitamin E and antioxidants.
Raspberry Seed Oil
The most effective natural solution which protects the skin from the sun is raspberry seed oil. Rich in omega 3, omega 6 and vitamin E, it has the largest natural protective factor, which varies between 28 and 50. Because it is a very viscous oil, application on the skin can be difficult in its natural state. Therefore, it is best to look for natural creams that have raspberry seed oil in composition.
There is no longer a secret that carrots have many health benefits, due to the high content of antioxidants. But you can enjoy externally their properties too, using carrot oil. Recent researches have shown that carrot oil protects the skin from the negative effects of UV rays. Specifically, products containing carrot oil have a natural protection factor between 38 and 40.
In addition, accelerates bronze, so you can get faster a coppery skin. There is something you have to pay attention to you can stain your clothes if you do not wait enough for it to be absorbed into the skin.
Wheat Germ Oil
Another reliable ally against solar radiation is wheat germ oil, one of the best sources of vitamin E and vitamin K. When you apply it on the skin, it helps hydration and act against free radicals. Products containing wheat germ oil have SPF 20.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn oil is a genuine sun protection factor, having in its composition the most significant biologically active ingredients : Vitamin E, or tocopherol – the best natural antioxidant , vitamin C and beta-carotene. Its powerful antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in the skin and prevent oxidative damage. Sea buckthorn oil has been used during the nuclear catastrophe in Chernobyl. Also, Russian cosmonauts apply it to protect their skin from the effects of radiations from space.
Sesame oil is one of the best natural products against solar radiation because it can block up to 30 % of sunlight. In order to the maximum protection, should apply it regularly, every two hours, or more often.
Coconut oil is another alternative to sunscreens. It is highly hydrated and has the ability to block 30 % of sunlight. If it is used in combination with cocoa butter, the sunscreen effect is much improved. Unlike sesame oil, coconut oil must be applied more often, about every hour.
Cocoa butter is another ally for protection against sunlight, because it is one of the most stable fat, due to its high content of antioxidants (tocopherols), which protects the skin against free radicals. Cocoa butter is called ” the supreme moisturizer ” because it can penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin. If you want a uniform, fast and very lasting chocolate tan, cocoa butter is the ideal product because, besides tanning and moisturizing, protects skin from UV rays. Unrefined Cocoa butter has SPF 6. As stated above, it can be used individually as sunscreen ingredient but only in combination with other oils.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is another natural alternative, very effective when you don’t want to use creams from the market. The plant has a highly moisturizing action and is successfully used against sun damages. Thus, aloe vera gel has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, nourishing, soothing and healing properties. Because protects in a rate of 20 % and do not let the skin get dry, aloe vera is frequently used by people when going to the beach. According to experts, the gel should be applied every two hours.
Olive oil was used in ancient times as a protection against sunlight. It protects the skin, moisturizes and also coloring it in a pleasant way. Thus, in just one day you can get a natural tan, very beautiful, without using different chemicals or solarium.
Jojoba oil has a natural protective factor of 4. Similar to human sebum, it is quickly absorbed and can be applied to any type of skin, but especially for dry skin. Moreover, the cosmetic composition prevents the skin aging.
Any choice you make, it is important to try the oil on a small area of your skin. Even if they are natural, some people may be allergic to them. And remember that any product that protects skin against UV rays should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied after each exit from the water.
How can you calculate the appropriate SPF for your skin ?
Take the time that you could sit normally exposed to the sun without suffering burns (a period of 20 minutes is enough for a paler skin to become red). This time period is multiplied by the factor SPF of the product you want to use it. For example, for a sunscreen with SPF 15 we can stay = 15 * 20 = 300 minutes = 5 h without getting sun burn.
But because the skin of each of us is different, it is recommended to apply the sunscreen more often then this calculated period of time, to make sure that we are protected.
Thus the recommended period of time, depending on SPF, for various types of skin can look like following.
- – Very sensitive skin : SPF = 15 – > 1h , SPF = 30 – > 2-3H , SPF = 45 – > + 4h
- – Sensitive skin : SPF = 15 – > 1-2H , SPF = 30 – > 3-4h
- – Normal skin : SPF = 15 – > 1-3 H , SPF = 30 – > + 4h
- – Medium skin : SPF = 8 – > 1-2H , SPF = 15 – > 3-4h
- – Dark skin : SPF = 4 – > 1h , SPF = 8 – > 2-3H , SPF = 15 – > + 4h
Which are natural remedies for sunburn ?
If it happened to forget to use sunscreen cream or the choice you made didn’t give you enough sun protection and your skin suffered burns or sunburns, you can treat these skin damages using several natural remedies . Here are some of the natural remedies you can use :
If you get burned use raw potatoes. Potatoes are well known for their calming effects, especially for minor irritations, bites, burns and, sometimes, even reduce inflammation. Some people believe that potato juice is better, others are happy with potato slices. You can try both options to see which is best for you.
You need 2 potatoes, a grater (or blender or knife), discrete pads, napkins or pads for the face.
The way of usage. Wash and clean the potatoes, then either you grate them, or cut them and put them in the blender. No need to remove the remaining shell. If using a blender, mix them until they become liquid. If they seem dry, add some water. Strain the mixture, soak disks / cotton etc in the resulting liquid and apply on burns. Compresses can be more efficient, that you can soak thoroughly with liquid and then cover the burn with them. If you opt for potatoes scrape, apply pulp, trying to use as much of its juice. You can use also simply cut slices potatoes, put on your burns.
Cold milk compressed
Cold milk compresses are one of the cheapest methods and a rapid treatment of burns. The initial temperature of the milk will relieve pain, then it will form a protective layer for the skin, contributing to its healing and soothing the feeling of discomfort.
You need : compress or a soft and clean piece of cloth and cold milk
The way of usage. Put the milk in a tall bowl so you can soak compresses. Soak them well, squeezing easy to remove excess liquid, then slowly applied on burns and leave them as much as possible. If milk is heated, you can put it in the refrigerator before applying next series of compresses.
Soothe yourself with mint and green tea
Peppermint cools naturally and soothes any touch and sunburn are no exceptions. Tannic acid and bromine in green tea also help in removing the pain and healing the skin .
You need : 250 ml hot water, 5 green tea bags, 3 cups of fresh mint leaves and discrete cleansing or a piece of soft clean cotton
The way of usage. Put a pot of water to boil. Loosen tea bags and put them in water with 3 cups of fresh mint leaves in a bowl. Add boiling water over tea and mint leaves and cover the dish with a lid, leaving to infuse for an hour. Strain and let the tea cool. When is cooled, use disks or piece of cotton, dip them into liquid, then easily applied on the burn. If you like, you can pour the tea over your body. If you do not have green tea, you can use black tea because it also contains tannins.
Make your own cream for sunburns
A cream for sunburn is the most practical remedy if you use the right ingredients. Not surprisingly, the cream contains water, witch hazel, aloe vera gel, mint and baking soda, all with specific properties for treating sunburn. You can mix any of these ingredients to see which is the best combination for you.
You need 1 tablespoon of witch hazel, 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel, 2-4 teaspoons of baking soda or cornstarch, 1-2 cups of fresh mint leaves or 1 teaspoon peppermint oil and 2 tablespoons of clean, fresh water.
The way of usage. Mix 2 tablespoons of fresh water, 1 tablespoon of witch hazel and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel into a bowl. Mix and cover, leaving the ingredients to interconnect and to infuse for 2 hours. After 2 hours add 2-4 tablespoons of baking soda or cornstarch and 1-2 cups of fresh mint leaves. If the mixture is too liquid thickens longer with cornstarch or baking soda, and if it is too thick, dilute it with water until it reaches the desired consistency. Transfer the mixture into a jar or container with a tight lid and leave in a cool place for 24 hours. Then it can be used as appropriate. The cream can be made in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator to be used in the hot months of summer.
Soothe yourself with cucumber
Instant relief – this is what cucumber gives to the injured skin. A cold cucumber, not only soothes the burned skin, but its analgesic and antioxidant properties help to heal and reduce discomfort. You can apply cucumber in many ways and the effect remains the same : inflammation, skin redness and pain will pass quickly.
You need : 1 – 2 cold fresh cucumbers and a blender or a knife
How to use it ? If you want a fast pain relief method, then cut a cucumber from the fridge and put a few slices on your burned skin. Turn the slices on the opposite side when heated, as you do with a pillow when a cooler on the back. For a more lasting effect, put 1-2 cucumbers in the refrigerator, then passes them in a blender to make a paste. To give consistency to the paste, add aloe vera gel or cornstarch.
Sunburns are situations where applies very well the saying “better to prevent than to treat.” However, we all can have sunburn, no matter how careful we are. But it is a condition that can be treated easily at home without requiring special treatments. In addition, the remedies for light burns can be made easy at home and cost little or nothing. Also, do not forget that if you want to tan quickly, the paid price may be too high. Be patient and protect yourself. As any job well done, a good and healthy tan comes in time.