Returning from tropical Belize last weekend and Galveston Island, Texas Memorial weekend motivated me to research, think and write this blog on the best options to prevent and protect against skin sun damage.  Seeing people marinading their skin with chemicals and then baking and burning from too much fun in the sun motivated me to share some not so common sense conclusions and obvious observations. Watching kids, parents and teens lathering up with sunscreen helped me decide to post this blog earlier to help educate and motivate more people with healthy and helpful suggestions to prevent and protect against sun damage. With the beginning of summer it seemed important to write about the health hazards of excess sun exposure, sun burn and especially sunscreens. While many people are concerned and painfully aware about skin damage and sun burn it seems that not enough people are aware of the many health hazards of most sunscreen products. While our first concern is to protect our self and family from skin damage and sun burn we must also consider the long term consequences of exposing our skin to even more harmful rays due to the sales and scare motivated spin stories spun to promote sunscreen use. The health hazards of the synthetic chemicals, cocktails and compounds in them are not being taled about enough. My time in sunny Galveston and tropical Belize have prompted me to ponder what is the best way to prevent and protect against skin sun damage.

Woman in SunIn the past many of us believed because we were told a good tanning cream, lotion or oil with ingredients like coconut oil was the best choice. Over time we began to see a rapid increase in the number of products with chemicals, lotions, oils and sun screens emerge. As they came out with more complicated chemicals and compounds the formulas were designed with oxides and sun blocks to screen out more of the damaging UV rays of the sun. Soon came the extra high octane products with Sun Protection Factors (SPF) going from 15 to 30, 50 and even 100. All were designed to give us the illusion we can stay out longer and during the more intense rays of sun exposure. Now there are many reasons to take a closer look at the chemical and compounds in the ingredients in common sunscreens and sun tanning lotions for our health and safety. With some basic education and information you will be able to make better choices and decisions regarding how you can best protect your health and safety from the sun and sunscreen products on the market. If your long term happiness, health and well being are high priorities than read on. If skin cancer, skin damage or sun burn are not important to you than maybe reading about the benefits of natural beauty and skin care may be a better choice for you. The goal of this blog post is to educate and inform readers about the benefits of better ways to prevent and protect against skin sun damage and sunscreen toxicity.

Safe Skin Strategies 101

Sunbathing WomenWith the long winter season over and spring transitioning into summer now is the best time for plan, prevent and protect our skin from longer and more intense exposure from the simmering summer sun.  While most of us are so glad that the cold and dark days of winter are past we can easily get carried away with the allure of beautiful days and warm sun shine.  In March, April and May we are enticed by more moderate temperatures and warmer weather to spend more time outdoors in the sun.  After a long period of being bundled up and covered from head to toe our skin is typically less pigmented and more delicate to the rays of longer sun exposure. The first exposures are when we are most vulnerable to over doing it and ending up with a painful sunburn. Having done this many time myself I regret not being more educated and informed of the damage, pain and suffering this behavior can create in the short and longer term.  Often the false sense of security promoted by sunscreen manufacturers makes the situation even worse by contributing to the illusion to stay out during the more intense mid day UV rays and longer than we might normally be inclined to stay. This is the perfect storm for a painful sunburn and potential skin damage.

Sunscreen 101

The  best resource I have discovered for extensive reseach and review of skin care and sunscreen products is the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  While I could do a good job of educating and informing you on the basics of chemical creams, lotions, oils and sprays for sunscreen and sun tanning , you deserve one of the best resources so please go directly to to learn the details regarding the health hazards of the chemicals and compounds in most sunscreen products. Oxybenzone is a particular problem linked to allergic skin reactions, coral bleaching and hormone disruption so please sign the EWG petition to help pressure companies to remove it from products. Chemical sunscreens use one or more chemicals such as:  avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate and octocrylene versus mineral sunscreens that typically use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to block UV rays.

The bottom line is most sunscreen products contain health hazards that are not good for our skin, not good for our body, not good for our waters and definitely not good for coral reefs and fish.  What more reasons to you need to learn in order to stop using toxic chemicals that cost a lot of money and are not good for you or for the environment? Many experts also believe the significant increase in the use of sunscreens may be a major contributing factor to greater incidence of skin cancer from the chemical exposure as well as the false assumption it is safe to stay out during intense UV rays and longer than we normally would.

Hat and SunglassesAfter decades of being brainwashed and manipulated by advertising, misinformation and public relation hype my conclusion for the best way to prevent and protect against skin sun damage is to use caps, clothing and common sense to cover up during the most intense mid day UV rays exposure from 10:00 to 3:00.  Careful control and gradual increase of progressive exposure and time limits from brief to longer successive periods on different areas is much better than simply laying out like a beached whale for a long exposure.  Wearing a broad brim hat, long pants and long sleeve shirts during midday and staying in the shade of a canopy or tree is best. This has saved me many times while working at the tropical Belize Eco Village project

Remember…anything you put on your skin is absorbed and assimilate into your body as if you ate it. While we do need some sun exposure to make Vitamin D we must be careful to prevent and protect against skin sun damage from excessive exposure. Apply and eat aloe vera and coconut oil to help prevent and protect against skin sun damage.

Healthy Habits & Habitats

In 2018 Morningstar NEWS will focus 50% on Healthy Habits and 50% on Healthy Habitats. Researching and role modeling proven principles for a transition town drives us to share words with wisdom. Our vision is attracting a wide variety of eco friendly people to help design, build and live in a more healthy and sustainable way. We invite ideas, insights and inspiration to help us focus our planning and progress. Sharing solutions, strategies, suggestions and systems will help us all design and develop better eco communities.

Where is Your Gap?

What actions, behaviors, beliefs and decisions regarding your habits and habitats are impacting your happiness and health? What is your  motivation for making better choices to avoid health hazards and adopt healthy habits? Investing in our long term health helps protect our long term wealth. When we are happy, healthy and holistic we naturally shift to a more sustainable ecological, economical and environmental friendly lifestyle.

Mastery Action Plan (MAP)

Our daily habits and habitats directly impact our happiness and health. There are many reasons to prevent and protect against skin sun damage from over exposure for a healthy future. What are you willing to do differently starting today to embrace better permaculture and sustainable choices in 2018? Creating a healthy habits code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance our quality of life. Our happiness and health benefit from healthy challenges, changes and choices.

Call to Action

What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding healthy habits and habitats?

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