Now that we’re in the heat of summer it’s time to make our official PSA:
We don’t fight the sun.
We were raised in sunny San Diego and most of that time was spent at the beach. We’d roll our eyes when mom slathered sunscreen over our bodies. We refused to get out of the water to reapply every hour, and had roughly one terrible sunburn every summer when we lied about reapplying. These one-time-of-year burns were the kind that you can’t sleep with, have to rub ice cubes and aloe vera on, and don’t dare shower with. The week following the burn was equally terrible as our burnt skin literally flaked off. Splotchy skin for a week taught us our lesson for about a year.
We didn’t take sun protection seriously until high school sports became a priority in our lives. Our health had a direct effect on our athletic performances and we were extremely competitive. We spent every day outside in the sun surrounded by water - either for water polo, crew or sometimes both. Our energy levels were noticeably different with the amount of sun exposure we had and how we were protected. If you weren’t in a boat racing, you were under a canopy wearing long sleeves. If you were in the pool all day long, you took the next day off from the sun. If you had a week of indoor or no practice, you felt more sluggish. We had years to experiment with our sun exposure and energy levels, and were lucky to have the best sunscreens in the game to keep us outside.
Now we’re (mostly) adults and in charge of eating when we’re hungry, sleeping when we’re tired, doing laundry when we can’t remember when the sheets were last washed, and staying relatively healthy. This includes the health of our skin!
Skin cancer’s a thing, pre-mature aging’s a thing, and Vitamin D deficiency’s a thing. So… what causes what and how do you live your best life without being afraid of the sun?
We’re not scientists, but here are 7 things we’ve learned as a family of brunette, tan, and blonde, white freckly kids:
10-15 minutes of sunlight on bare skin (no sunscreen, oils, or lotions) boosts our mood.
We need to “practice” being in direct sunlight before a sunny vacation or outdoor event. We don’t jump into a race without training, so we don’t spend hours outside without training our skin. We eat our lunches outside, maybe do some late afternoon gardening and have a few beach days leading up to it.
We can get sunburnt on a sunny AND an overcast day! It’s important to protect yourself in all types of weather.
REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN OR GET OUT. Seriously. We are those annoying people telling our friends to take their sunscreen off before they go in the ocean if it has oxybenzone and octinoxate. There are plenty of reef safe sunscreens out there to choose from! Our absolute favorite face sunscreen is locally San Diego made Solistick, and our favorite body sunscreen is Sunbum, Supergoop, and the always classic long sleeve shirt.
If you don’t want it in your bloodstream, don’t put it on your body. Our skin absorbs what we put on it so the fewer chemicals the better.
Organic sunscreen doesn’t mean the ingredients were grown sans fertilizer. In chemistry lingo “organic” means it contains carbon. You know what contains carbon? Every living thing on this planet. So thanks to marketing, chemical sunscreens are advertised as organic sunscreens. The FDA doesn’t regulate “organic” healthcare or beauty products so read ingredients over labels.
Sun gives and takes energy. Everyone’s “heathy dose” of sunlight is different because our bodies produce different amounts of melanin AND some bodies use it better than others. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it! Bring an umbrella for yourself to a bbq, find a stylish long sleeve top to surf in or eat your lunches outside.