Hi, Everyone. I'm heading to Hawaii for the first time in a few days (yay!) and I live in Seattle. So you can discern that means I'm pasty, ghost-white. :) I have some sunscreen packed and ready to go, but then got to searching Chris Kresser's website re: sunscreen exposure and found this article.
What are your thoughts on how to limit my sunscreen usage and not fry to a crispy critter while I'm there? It's too hot to wear my long sleeve SPF shirts that I use when I go hiking. Thanks for your time!
For limiting your sunscreen usage, Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf have pretty much the same tips: make sure you're stocked up on Vitamin D (the more D your body has, the more sun resistant it is), limit your sun exposure (tan is good, burnt is not), and cover up (hat, long sleeves) rather than slather on the sunscreen.
That being said, EWG has the best resource for finding a quality sunscreen ... in general, avoid anything with oxybenzone, and old-school zinc oxide still gives the best results ...
Oh, and nothing beats aloe vera for recovery or coconut oil for keeping your skin soft :p
This is controversial, but before any sunny vacation, I visit a tanning salon for at least two weeks beforehand. A base tan is the best protection against sunburn, period. I've done the research and my anecdotal evidence (vacations both with and without pre-tanning) proves to me that this is a valid tactic.
It is not a perfect solution, but if you want to play in the sun without constantly covering up, reapplying dubious sunscreens, and seeking shade, a base tan is the best way to do it. It will also allow you to get the natural vit D you need safely.
Also, try to keep your diet free of the usual nasty vacation cheats like sugar and vegetable oils. These may contribute to collagen breakdown. In addition, foods rich in antioxidants may help with any sun damage.
If your "ghost white" you might consider some protection, or gradually exposing yourself. Especially if naturally you are light skinned. For example, I am brown skinned but I do tend to get a little pale in the fall and winter. My ancestors are from the desert and tropics, so if I go to places with lots of sun I just get browner, I never burn. This may not be the case for you or it may very well be true in which case I'd say free ball it;)
I like the idea mentioned by Karen for presun tanning.
As mentioned above EWG is a great site for doing a product search. I know off hand Badger brand in a less oxic alternative.
If your looking for something that is completely natural I would try out Sea Buckthorn Oil. It's is naturally protecting with an SPF of I believe 30?!
Since this is probably a vacation, take it easy. I was testing my goth skin in the sunshine last year. Take it slow. Hawaii sun is much stronger. I'd hate for you to have to sick from sun poising in your room! It's not just the sunburn that's bad, I get nausea from too much sun.
Try 15 minutes and see how you do. If you do well try 30 the next day. Don't get yourself blistery and peeley by accident.
I avoid sunscreen now, and consider it to be a harmful "chemical of convenience" like diet soda. I burn much less easily and recover much faster on a paleo diet. I am careful with the first few sun exposures of the season (like now) and try to get a solid hour or so of exposure on a lot of skin, but then cover up with long clothes or stay in the shade. After a few days of this I tan pretty well and then don't wear clothes or sunscreen unless I'm going to be out for a while.
I use common sense, if i am going to be exposed to the sun for hours, i wear long sleeved clothes and a hat and drink lots of water, but am not afraid of the sun like we're taught.
I would keep some on hand, just in case. Honestly, it's a vacation, and you want to enjoy it not be peeling and laying in an ice bath with a nasty burn because you misjudged your sun exposure. Try and buy a cheap little umbrella thing to bring with you to the beach, so you can always sit in the shade, and a hat/coverup combo is essential. I almost tossed my bottle, but then I would have a hard time playing beach volleyball, my favourite summer game, with a long sleeve shirt and hat, so I consider that trade-off worth it for me personally.
I never use sun screen and I'm a pale skinned Brit. I start trying to get in the sun as much as possible from March on (this year March was lovely and I got a good base tan - April was so wet I'll be starting from scratch again in May!!)
And I find these
are great. Also, knowing when to cover up is essential - neck, knees - the vulnerable bits!
Have a great holiday!
I don't think you should limit sunscreen usage, just buy an organic sunscreen without oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a chemical used in most sunscreen that is probably bad for you and is quickly turning into the new PABA. (Us old timers remember what PABA is ha ha). You dont have to "throw away the sunscreen" just make sure youre not absorbing chemicals constantly. go natural instead.
Robb Wolf mentioned in a podcast - clothing and hats are the best protection.
Matt Lalonde has mentioned sunscreen with certain chemicals may cause infertility:
Since you don't have time to build up a tan gradually,I say take a natural sunscreen and slather up.After all you are going on vacation in Hawaii.Who wants to wear long sleeves and pants on the beach or anywhere for that matter.You won't get cancer from a week of sunscreen use.Astaxhantine is a good antioxidant that protects from burning,but you should take it for some time to have that effect.Don't worry and enjoy your vacation
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