The plant’s bright blessing springs forth
From earth’s gentle being,
And human children rise up
With grateful heart to join
The spirits of the world.
Just a thought about this season awakens in us a wonderful sense of freedom. Freedom from heavy clothing, freedom to walk barefoot on the beach, your skin in touch with sun, wind and water. What a fantastic feeling! Allowing the skin to breathe gives one a sense of freedom. Skin needs contact with the elements. Elements are life giving. Hot summer sun encourages plants to ripen. Everything in nature is brimming with exuberant life force. We too, as humans, feel the fullness of life and the desire to embrace it. On beautiful summer days we might be more prone to act impulsively and forget about caution. Regarding the sunlight and sunbathing, it usually helps to know when we need to be vigilant and why, and when we can allow ourselves to venture safely into the great outdoors without a sunscreen.
It is absolutely imperative not to sunbathe in the noonday sun. Keep in mind that ultraviolet rays can penetrate clothing and windows. Be sure to wear tightly woven clothing during the midday hours and apply sunscreen under it to increase protection.
On the other hand, “a little natural light, on arms and legs for twenty minutes a day with no sun block, may be beneficial. Caution: be sure it’s early morning or late afternoon sunlight. Studies show sunlight can be beneficial for everyone, especially for women, for the vitamin D our bodies manufacture when sunlight reacts with the cholesterol found in the skin…Cancer specialist Dr. Joanna Budwig utilized sunlight as part of the treatment program in her Natural Cancer Clinic in Europe. Studies in the U.S. and Soviet Union have documented that women living in areas with the most hours of sunlight have markedly lower rates of breast cancer. A study of 133 women done in 1997 at the Northern California Cancer Center found vitamin D from sun exposure linked to a reduced rate of breast cancer. Vitamin D also helps to balance blood sugar, build healthy bones and is important for preventing osteoporosis.
Skin cancer, of course, is a concern, so moderation is key. However, the increase in breast cancer and other cancers dramatically exceeds that of skin cancer”.*
We well know that oxygen, one of the most abundant materials on earth and in the atmosphere, is essential to life. Yet both the sun and oxygen are major contributors of free radical damage, the prime cause of aging and disease in the human body. Free radicals roam the body causing change, sometimes good (interfering with viruses and bacteria) and sometimes bad (disrupting our cell structures and functions). When they are working against us, free radicals have the same effect on our cells as rust has on cars. People who have been exposed to long-term sun tanning show signs of premature aging on their skin, due to the breaking down of collagen, the protein substance in the skin that gives it elasticity. Repeated sunburns and overexposure to the sun increase the risk of skin cancer, especially for those with fair coloring. The destruction of the ozone layer intensifies negative effect of direct exposure to the sun, so, please make frequent use of hats and umbrellas, and, once again, stay away from the sun during the hottest time of the day.
Summer skin care tips
One of the best skin care products available on the market today is Dr. Hauschka line from Germany. Dr. Hauschka Sun Care products are made from a holistic composition of certified organic, biodynamically-grown and wild-crafted plants and pure essential oils. Titanium dioxide, a mineral pigment found in nature and extracted from ore, is used for its protective qualities in the line of sunscreens together with extract of quince, almond, jojoba and avocado oils and horse chestnut bark extract.
In the morning, before putting on sunscreen, apply Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil to the face and neck. Rich in antioxidants, it helps reduce free radical damage to the skin. Depending on your skin type needs and preferences, you may choose from the following preparations:
Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen Lotion SPF 8 provides minimal sun protection for short time exposure or for skin that tans easily. SPF 15 provides moderate protection while permitting some tanning.
Sunscreen Cream SPF 20 provides high degree of protection for extended periods of time and for skin that tends to burn. Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 offers the highest degree of protection for sensitive areas such as the nose, lips and ears. Sunscreen Cream for Children SPF 22 offers extra measures of protection and care for tender skin of youngsters. It is also suitable for adults with extra sensitive skin. After-Sun Lotion moisturizes and cools the skin which has just been in the sun. May be used as a light summer moisturizer. For healing burns I recommend Rhythmic Conditioner, Sensitive, 1-2 ampules applied after gentle cleansing, followed by liberal application of Rejuvenating Mask. Weleda’s Burn-Care gel is also very good. My personal favorite for cooking burns is the clear, soothing juice from freshly broken aloe leaf. It soothes pain and speeds the healing process. Dr. Hauschka Lemon Bath taken at the end of a sun-filled day is a perfect way to cool down and enter your inner space.
These are just a few of the holistic preparations that can assist you in safe sun worshiping. Have a wonderful summer!
* Robin Keuneke; Total Breast Health; Kensington Books, 1998, p.360.
*reprinted from the winter 2003 issue of LILIPOH magazine: http://www.lilipoh.com