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Casa de Campo Sun Survival

I thought I’d share an article I recently wrote for the Casa de Campo Spa in the Dominican Republic. If you’ve never been and you have dreams of a vacation in paradise this is the place to go! And the spa is amazing!

Bake in the Dominican sun without getting Burned

Summer is here and the heat is on! My favorite thing about summer is the slower pace. Maybe it’s the longer days or just the heat that makes us slow down. Chances are you’ll be spending some extra time outdoors while it’s hot and you want to make sure not to get burned. Here are a few tips on when and if to wear sunscreen and choosing the right kind.

Your body needs time in the sun to make vitamin D. What is so important about Vitamin D? It boosts bone health, can help prevent multiple sclerosis, plays a role in brain development and can ward off depression. It can also help ward off heart attacks, stroke and heart disease. Most people need at least 10 minutes of exposure on a very sunny day where 80% of the body is exposed to the sun several times a week. Even a very low SPF sunscreen will prevent your body from producing vitamin D.

So how do you expose that much of your skin to the hot sun without sunscreen and not get sunburned? The key is to eat a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet. The right diet will naturally prevent you from burning. Your diet should include healthy saturated fats (grass fed beef, pastured butter, free range eggs, coconut oil), lots of Omega 3 rich foods (wild salmon, sardines, walnuts), leafy greens (kale, collards, Swiss chard) and lycopene from tomatoes or tomato paste. Avoid eating processed foods, vegetable oil, grains and sugar.

I’m a firm believer that diet is your best weapon for day-to-day sun protection, or you could use coconut oil on your skin, which provides a natural SPF of about 4. If you’re not sure your diet will protect you from the suns harmful rays or if you plan on lounging around the beach for a few hours then slather on the sunscreen.  First make sure you screen your sunscreen. Many sunscreens are filled with harmful toxins and you want to ensure yours isn’t going to cause more harm than good.

According to the Environmental Working Group these are some specific things to watch for. So pull out all those sunscreen bottles you have lying around and toss the ones that aren’t safe!

Avoid sprays or powders with micronized and nano-scale zinc oxide. Inhaling these particles can potentially cause harm to your lungs.

Avoid oxybenzone. It is rapidly absorbed through the skin and several studies have linked it to endocrine disruption, cell damage and cancer.

Look for at least 7% zinc oxide. Zinc oxide reflects and blocks UV rays and is not absorbed into the skin.

Avoid fragrance unless it’s plant based. Federal law doesn’t require companies to declare the toxins in a single fragrance and they frequently contain phthalates, which may trigger allergic reactions and other health problems.

While you’re enjoying your time out in the sun make sure to stay hydrated! Crack open a coconut on the beach, sip the water right out of it and relax!

Annabelle enjoying the sumer sun!
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