The Sun & Your Skin – 5 Myths You Need to Know (plus, DIY sunscreen!)

Guest Post: Kathrin Brunner, For the Love of Body

I am so excited to introduce you to my girlfriend and natural skin care specialist Kathrin Brunner. Not only is she one incredibly smart and talented women, but she’s also the helping hands and co-creator behind my Holistic Wellness Body Care Products. Together, Kathrin and I create all natural and toxin free beauty care that you can trust. You can check out our Holistic Wellness Shop for our all natural dental products and body butter. 

Summer is here and the sun is hot! If you’re like Sam and I, you spend as much time as you can basking in it’s rays before ‘the dreaded season we will not mention’ returns. But, being the holistic sun worshippers that we are, it’s time to talk natural sun safety and debunk some sunscreen myths!

5 Sun Myths You Need to Know!

  • Sunscreen reduces skin cancer rates – Let’s start with the most controversial myth. According to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) review of sunscreens, our skin cancer rates are rising despite our increasing use of sunscreens. In fact, the EWG states that every major public health authority has concluded that research does not support the claim that sunscreen reduces skin cancer rates. Even worse, most chemical based sunscreens have been linked to hormone disruption.
  • High SPF means better sun protection – Continuing on our controversy train, let’s knock this one down because I cringe when I hear people say they bought SPF 100 to take to Cuba, Jamaica, the cottage . . .. Why? Because SPF values refer only to UVB rays, not UVA or UVC. That’s a problem because while UVB rays may cause our skin to burn, UVA do not and these rays penetrate deeper into the skin causing more harmful DNA damage. Many countries around the world have banned high SPF claims as being misleading, causing users to spend extra time in the sun, all the while getting high doses of UVA.
  • Sunscreens with added antioxidants are better – This one is a partial myth, it depends on the antioxidant. Avoid products that have vitamin A (or retinyl palmitate) added to them. This form of vitamin A when exposed to sunlight may actually cause an increase in tumor development.
  • Wearing oils with natural SPF is good sun protection – YIPES! As a natural skin care expert, I hate to knock natural oils, but this myth is a big no no. There are many oils that contain natural SPF. Coconut oil has around an SPF 10 while some seeds oils like carrot or raspberry have over SPF 30. That’s great, and these oils are fantastic to use regularly on your skin as a moisturizer, but they do not give you broad spectrum protection. If you are not wearing something that is broad spectrum you are not blocking all the UV, meaning that you might be getting harmful hits of UVA or UVC, the bad cancer causers.
  • Making vitamin D is protecting me from skin cancer – Is vitamin D super important for overall cancer protection? Yes! Do we make vitamin D when we are expose our skin to UV rays? You bet! Does this mean that sunbathing is a good skin cancer prevention strategy? NO! Protecting ourselves from skin cancer risk is much more than a single antioxidant. We should absolutely make vitamin D during the summer (see the Vitamin D Council’s recommendations for how much), but that doesn’t give us wide-open permission to tan irresponsibly. Make yourself some fabulous D, but then cover back up. A little sun goes a long way for vitamin D production and too much is risky.

Natural Sun Safety

The best way to stay safe is to reduce the amount of time you’re out in midday sun. Wear long, light layers that cover your skin. A hat and sunglasses will help protect your face but also your peepers from UV damage that causes cataracts. When you plan on being outside for a long period of time, use sunscreen with broad spectrum protection (see EWG’s Best Sunscreens List). Or if you’re feeling DIY, make your own with my recipe here. 

During summer months, increase your food intake of antioxidants and healthy fats to protect your skin from the inside out by eating lots of brightly coloured vegetables, herbs and fruit, and adding extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and raw nuts and seeds. Try this tasty Mega-Antioxidant Smoothie to get started!

Mega Antioxidant Smoothie
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1/2 cup raw cashews
  2. 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  3. 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  4. 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  5. 1 lemon, zest of and flesh
  6. 1 tsp vanilla
  7. 1 Tbsp lucuma powder
  8. 2 Tbsp goji berries (or mulberries if you have a tree growing nearby!)
  9. 1 cup filtered water
  10. a few ice cubes and mint leaves for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender, blend and enjoy!
Holistic Wellness https://holisticwellness.ca/

kat03Kathrin Brunner, RYT, CNP is a Toronto-based Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher.  She is the owner of For the Love of Body and the co-creator of several lines of natural body care products. Kathrin teaches a popular series of DIY workshops, from fermentation to soap-making. She is the clinic nutritionist at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre, a faculty member at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and teaches yoga classes at several locations in Toronto. In her work with clients, she uses the healing potential of food, movement and energy to restore balance and health.

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