Protect Yourself While You Enjoy the Sun!

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June 27, 2016

As the summer is starting to pick up, one of the only downsides for this beautiful seasons is the sometimes unbearable, scorching heat and sun. Keeping you skin and body safe from harmful UV rays and heat exhaustion is important while you and your family have fun at the beach, backyard, or great outdoors this summer.

Natural Foods

Some foods that can be added into your diet have been shown to increase the skin's ability to protect against UV damage due to their abundance of antioxidants.

Omega-3-rich Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids can protect cells from free radical damage (the type that is caused by over exposure to UV rays) and have powerful anti-inflammatory components.

Red and Orange Fruits and Vegetables

The natural pigment found in these colored produce, Lycopene, has been shown to protect against some UV-induced skin irritations like erythema. Another type of carotenoid found in red and orange vegetables and fruits, Beta-carotene, has been linked to reduced reactions to sunburns.

Leafy Greens

Greens and leaf-like vegetables are great for sun protection, including fresh herbs, due to the fact they are packed with antioxidants. Dark leafy greens like swiss chard and spinach have lots of antioxidants like polyphenols and carotenoids that naturally protect the skin from sun damage.

Fabrics

UPF measures the ultraviolet protection factor of a fabric. A fabric with a rating of 60 will only allow 1/60th of the sun's UV rays to pass through the fibers. Light-colored, lightweight, and loosely-woven fabrics do not offer much protections from the sun. A white t-shirt (the kind slipped on the beach) provides moderate protection with an average UPF of 7. On the other hand a long-sleeved, dark denim shirt has a UPF of 1,700 however is very uncomfortable on a hot summer’s day.

A quick test for the UPF of a fabric is bringing the cloth to a light and seeing if it is transparent. If you can see through the fabric than the UV radiation can penetrate it.

Darker clothes that are not stretched and made up of high-luster polyesters or thin, satiny silk are highly protective as they reflect radiation and the core fibers of the fabric are stronger.

Sunscreen

Most sunscreens are made up of toxic ingredients or endocrine disrupting chemicals that may actually promote skin cancer growth. A simple natural sunscreen recipe is listed below.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. coconut oil
  • 0.8 oz. shea butter
  • 0.1 oz. jojoba, sesame, or sunflower oil
  • 0.1 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 30 drops essential oils, optional – a possible combination is 15 lavender, 10 eucalyptus, 5 peppermint
  • zinc oxide (non nano) powder (determine amount for 2 oz. of lotion)
    • For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
    • For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
    • For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
    • For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

Recipe

  1. Add the shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil to a makeshift double boiler that can be created by placing a Pyrex measuring cup inside a small pot filled with a few inches of water
  2. Heat gently until the shea butter has melted than remove the measuring cup from the double boiler and allow it to cool
  3. Put on a mask to avoid breathing in the fine particles of zinc oxide and measure out the powder
  4. Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the solution
  5. Stir well and store in a dark jar in the refrigerator (the sunscreen is photosensitive and cannot be kept sitting out in direct sunlight)
  6. The zinc oxide could be added to any homemade lotion

Mesh Options

Phantom Screen’s can be fitted with a variety of meshes that have differing uses depending on what you are looking for. The insect mesh reduces 55% of UV rays and features a higher openness factor, allowing a greater degree of ventilation through the opening. Solar mesh reduces heat and glare by up to 80% while keeping the pests out. Lastly, privacy mesh can block up to 90% of UV rays and provides extra privacy and solar protection.

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