For many of us, young and old, summer is the time where we soak up the sun and spend more time outdoors.  Whether we are camping, enjoying time with family outside, or spending the day with friends at the beach, it is important to understand that sun exposure affects our skin. 

Sunlight has its benefits.  Many folks feel their mood improve after a long grey winter.  Sun exposure leads to vitamin D production in the body.  Some people with eczema or psoriasis can see improvements to sunlight.  While sunlight has benefits, it is important to take care to avoid sunburn and prolonged exposure to the sun.  This is because UV rays from the sun can cause damage to our skin.

Prolonged sun exposure can exacerbate the effects of aging and is associated with various skin cancers.  Effects from the sun on aging can include worsened skin wrinkling and loose skin, or broken blood vessels near the skin.  Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and approximately 1 in 6 Canadians get skin cancer.  No matter your age or skin tone, whether you are concerned with the look or health (or both!) of your skin, it is important to apply appropriate sun protection.

Basic skin care includes reducing UV exposure from both the sun and tanning beds.  The sun is the strongest between 11-3pm so it is best to reduce our time in the sun then.  While in the sun, keep hydrated, make sure to cover up (skin, face, eyes), and use a broad-spectrum natural sunscreen of at least SPF 30.  Chemical vs mineral sunscreens both have their advantages and disadvantages.  Natural formulas can contain extra ingredients to nourish your skin.

Frequently checking your skin can help you stay on top of your skin health.  As a naturopathic doctor, we can educate on how to check your own skin & we can provide physical exams should you have any skin concerns, sun-related or otherwise. 

We can help formulate a sun care plan to consider include how antioxidants (from diet or supplements) and advanced sunscreen formulas can help protect your skin even further.  Naturopathic doctors can help you determine which medications or herbs make your skin sensitive to the sun.  We can even answer questions about which supplements help protect your skin the most from sun damage. 

 

Dr. Shawn Peters, ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing in downtown Courtenay.

Contact Dr. Peters for a free “meet the doctor” visit to see if naturopathic medicine is right for you.

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