It’s been a beautiful summer here in the Bay Area so far. Yesterday’s holiday was a hot one, and today on my errands I saw so many people who are rocking the lobster look from too much sun exposure at their parades and barbecues. I’m a huge fan of preventing sunburn with good nutrition and good protection, but if you happen to be one of those who had a few to many (solar rays) yesterday, read on for how to work some summertime damage control.
Sunburn is an inflammatory condition. It is far better to eat and dress to prevent sunburn in the first place, but right now you want to get your body out of its inflamed state, stat. To do this, focus on good nutrition and smart supplementation. Right now you want:
- High antioxidant foods such as blueberries, tomatoes, green tea, oranges, carrots, bell peppers, strawberries and dark chocolate
- Good saturated fats such as coconut oil, avocado, the fat from organic, pastured meat
- Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as sardines, salmon, flax seeds, grass-fed beef
- Leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, collards, and dark red and green lettuces, which are high in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin
For now, avoid grains, sugars, vegetable oils, and processed foods. It’s also a great time give your skin some extra help with some of these excellent supplements for skin health and general health:
- For its strong anti-inflammatory properties, go with a high-quality Vitamin C. Powdered is the most shelf-stable and bio-available. I like this one.
- Fermented cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter blend is an amazing source of Vitamins A and D, in food-based and bioavailable form. This is important because synthetic Vitamin A is highly toxic. I will warn you it tastes positively vile. That’s why I go with capsules and save myself the agony of tasting what I am taking. Is it disgusting? Yes. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. It is amazing, health-giving stuff.
- Vitamin D-3 – some research suggests it actually has a protective effect for sun exposure. Most people are chronically deficient since many of us spend all day in rooms with machines, slathered anyway in 30 spf.
Finally, it is important to care for skin from the outside. Good after-sun suggestions are aloe, green tea (sprayed), and my favorite: a really good Vitamin C serum on wet skin, followed by pure, organic coconut oil. Then, wrap up in a soft t-shirt and make a vow to be just a wee bit more sun-smart at that next picnic or barbecue.
Oh, and by the way, do you want to know a secret? I got a few too many rays myself, yesterday. I started the day with a blueberry smoothie and I’m having a lovely piece of salmon with spinach for dinner.
Better shade next time,
Kirsten Quint Fairbanks is health coach and holistic lifestyle expert who lives happily, works gratefully, home-schools secularly, dances inexpertly, cooks traditionally, and nurses on demand in the San Francisco Bay Area. She offers real-world healthy lifestyle coaching for busy women who want vibrant health, beautiful babies, thriving families, and more fun in their lives. She also offers holistic skincare consultation for anyone who is tired of the beauty hype and is ready to have healthy, glowing skin. She works online and in-person. Read more about her here.