June 02, 2009

Sun Screens

I love June. The weather has just been amazing. I don't know about anyone else, but I believe I am solar powered. Each day the sun pours through my window when I open my eyes,I feel that yellow glow illuminate me from the inside out, automatically turning up the corners of my mouth into a perma-sunny smile. Life feels good. Vancouver positively shines when the grey clouds of winter finally part and our perfect climate is revealed. Every park is full of people basking in the sunshine, playing Frisbee, walking their dogs, having picnics with friends and family - everyone is stoked just to get outside & soak it up while it lasts.

Being Canadian, I know our skin is far more delicate than most. It's important to take this into consideration before you decide to bike the seawall on a cloudless Saturday, sun screen free. You will pay for it with a painful peely red sunburn. There are very few of us that can spend a day in the sun and look like a lovely bronzed Aussie (hence Aussie, not Canuck.) As a seasoned sun worshiper, I have a few tips that can help you achieve a copper glow - if you are willing to be patient and work up to it. It's no secret that over exposure to the sun can be harmful, but this is no reason to avoid sunshine altogether. Sunlight stimulates the body to produce vitamin D which has been proven to offer protection from some cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression. Being smart about the sun will enable you to get out and enjoy it longer.

There is some chatter out there saying that sun screen has far more cancer-causing agents than the sun. It would make sense if you have ever taken the time to look at the ingredient list on a bottle of sunscreen. If you can't pronounce it, would you smear it on your skin?! However chem-y it may be, sun screen does help in protecting our icy Canadian skin from getting roasted the first few times we're out.

I am a believer of sunscreen on your face at all times. For most people, a daily moisturizer with an spf of 15 is enough. Don't forget to reapply if you're out doing lots of activity. If you are on a mission to tan, and you are braving your bikini for the first time this season, slap on a 30 spf, 45 if you are really pale. It will save you from burning and after you have spent a few days in the sun getting a good base, you can start to move down the spf scale. Zinc provides the best protection for harmful uv rays. Since anything goes in fashion these days, set a trend & sport the neon zinc. Hey, hottie surfers & snowboarders do it...

Look for sunscreens without the unhealthy preservatives. Purchasing sunscreens with natural skin softeners such as olive, sunflower and jojoba oils, shea and cocoa butter is healthier than buying petroleum-based ones. A good more-natural sunscreen is Badger All-Natural Sunscreen. Badger broad spectrum sunscreen is one of the world's safest and most effective sunscreens according to the Environmental Working Group's Safe Cosmetics Database. This type of sunscreen is known as a "barrier sunscreen" rather than a chemical sunscreen. Although this maybe not suitable for all skin types, after I have aquired a good base tan, I opt for coconut oil. A great moisturizer and natural sun reflector. I also recommend covering up during the hottest parts of the day, chests, cheeks, tips of noses and shoulders tend to get extra crispy between 11-3. Be smart, safe & soak up that glorious sun!

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