Don't be afraid of the sun: everything you need for a healthy sunbathing culture.
When the first rays of sunshine peep through the clouds after a prolonged period of gloomy weather, our hearts "lift". Our mood lifts instantly and we enjoy the bright, warming energy of the sun. It was only through the power of the sun that life could develop on our earth at all. Today we take this for granted - to the ancient advanced civilisations it was still worthy of divine veneration. After all, the sun determined the daily life of our early ancestors. Now, in the digital age, we are hardly aware of this direct connection. Even more: In the last 100 years, we have almost forgotten how to deal properly with the life-giving gift of the sun.
In the past decades, intensive research has been conducted on the benefits and harms of solar radiation for our health. Many theories were later proven wrong - opinions ranged from panacea to dangerous threat.
The sun keeps us healthy
It is undisputed that the sun contributes to the prevention of numerous diseases and is also indispensable as a therapy for many diseases. We see this most clearly in the example of vitamin D. Our body only produces this vital substance when we specifically expose our skin to sunlight. The highly effective vitamin D hormone can protect our cells from the harmful components of solar radiation and thus prevent cell proliferation. Only when we have sufficient vitamin D available can our body also absorb enough minerals from food and utilise them optimally.
There is almost no area of our existence over which the sun has no influence. It ensures the intact tissue metabolism of bones, cartilage, muscles and nerves as well as a balanced hormone system. The right dose of sunlight keeps our blood vessels elastic and reduces deposits that can cause arteriosclerosis, dementia and cardiovascular diseases. And the positive mental effects are also undeniable.
Moderate sunbathing keeps our immune cells optimally fit for their defensive tasks. They help to prevent the development of many types of cancer - including skin cancer. To regard UV radiation as the main cause of skin cancer therefore falls short of the mark. Numerous studies show that melanomas occur twice as often in "couch potatoes" as in "sun worshippers". Apart from that, these malignant skin tumours mainly form on parts of the body that are almost never exposed to the sun. Rather, effective protection against UV damage and skin cancer seems to lie in a healthy diet with vitamins and minerals. We can additionally strengthen these positive effects with natural means by supplementing those substances that we cannot get from food alone. These include primarily natural antioxidants such as astaxanthin, vitamins C and E, as well as some vital mushrooms or immune-strengthening plant mixtures.
"The dose makes the poison", Paracelsus already stated. This guiding principle also applies to the intake of solar radiation. Too much and too often can have harmful consequences for our health - as can strict avoidance of the sun.If we are aware of a few things, we can succeed in finding a responsible middle course : In spring, our skin first has to get used to the increasing UV radiation, and especially on windy or slightly overcast days we underestimate its power. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., we avoid the sun at all costs and take an extensive siesta in the shade - as is customary in the sunny south anyway. That's why a light headgear and a good pair of sunglasses should be our constant companions in summer, so that they are quickly at hand when needed. For particularly sensitive skin types, there are special clothes with UV filters. And if, despite everything, we feel a sensation of heat on our skin or even slight reddening of the skin has occurred, it's time to "get out of the sun!"
Sun protection from the outside
Since there are not shady spots everywhere and we don't like to lie fully clothed on the beach in bathing weather, we now have a variety of sunscreen products
at our disposal. The first step is to determine your own skin type, because each of the six skin types has different self-protection times, which are then used to determine the appropriate protective products. The best place to do this is at the pharmacy - here we can also find out whether a medicine we are taking increases our skin's sensitivity to light.
Distinguished purely by their mode of action, there are two types of UV filters in sunscreens: chemical and mineral. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Products containing chemical filters should be applied around 30 minutes beforehand in order to develop their full effect. In any case, it is important to be especially thorough when applying sunscreen to sensitive and highly exposed areas - i.e. the forehead, ears, cheeks, nose, chin, shoulders and the backs of the feet. Stick sunscreen is particularly suitable for these so-called "sun terraces". And because even the best sunscreen cannot withstand sweat, sand and water all day long, you should reapply it several times, especially after bathing.
Skin care for afterwards
Proper care after sunbathing is also important for our skin - and just as significant as preventive immune strengthening from within or UV protection during sun exposure. First and foremost, our skin demands back the moisture it lost during the day. If it is slightly irritated, it is happy to receive nourishing and cooling ingredients such as aloe vera. Natural skin care products without additives are best.
In the 2nd part of the series we look at the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreens and the right sun protection factor. We offer a wide selection, especially of mineral sunscreens, in our natural cosmetics range at Apotheke & Cosmothecary Vienna and Berlin and in our online shop.
The sun is the centre of our planetary system. Its healing powers literally eclipse all known therapies and medicines. Sunlight is vital and provides:
- functioning immune system
- healthy heart & clear blood vessels
- strong bones and muscles
- elastic joints & intervertebral discs
- balanced hormones
- long mental performance
- mental balance
- inner driving force