Whether you’re exercising outdoors or meditating on a beach, catching some rays improves how you feel. The sun does a lot for you: a little sunshine raises vitamin D and serotonin levels, reduces the risk of diabetes and certain cancers, and boosts fertility. It’s good to get outside.
But as is the case with most things, the health benefits of sunlight depend on dose. Too much sunlight is bad news: there’s a correlation between the number of sunburns you get and whether or not you develop skin cancer. The trick is to avoid overexposure.
The most Bulletproof way to do that is to cover up with clothing, but that’s not always a practical option. Sunscreen is useful for those times when you’re going to be naked in the sun all day.
Unfortunately, some sunscreens aren’t much better for you than the sunburns they prevent. Many varieties contain unsafe chemicals, and their producers use questionable marketing tactics.
Hack Your Sun (Over)Exposure
Check out these easy hacks to minimise the sun’s harmful effects and maximise sun-soaking benefits:
Cover up! This is intuitive, but it’s still worth emphasising. Protect yourself is with clothing and headgear. Make sure the weave in your clothing is tight enough to block harmful UV rays.
Be aware of high SPF claiming products over 50+ SPF. They give you a false sense of security. Apply and reapply every two hours regardless of SPF.
Avoid sunscreen/bug repellent combos. Bug spray in my sun lotion? No way. Use natural bug repellants like diluted peppermint oil separately; you’ll dodge more harmful chemicals.
Plan ahead. The day can take unexpected turns, so always have a hat and a shirt handy.
Sunburns are not sexy. Neither is skin cancer.
Boost Your Internal Sunscreen
You can optimise your internal sunscreen by eating antioxidant-rich foods and taking certain supplements. Here are a few:
Omega-3s (from diet and from supplements like krill oil). Resveratrol (blueberries and red grapes) Astaxanthin (salmon and fish oil) Catechins (coffee, chocolate, green and white tea) Vitamin E (supplement this one) Beta-carotene (carrots and red bell peppers)