My Herbs Summer Skin Care
Summer and sunlight are, for many of us, synonymous with moments of peace and quiet during a vacation. The sun rays can literally charge us with energy. However, sunbathing can also be a bit dangerous, so it pays off to stick to certain rules in order to keep your skin healthy.
The skin needs to be properly cared for and protected when exposed to the intense summer sun. Homemade sunscreen products offer a natural and ecological alternative to the commercially sold ones, though unfortunately at the expense of their relative effectiveness, especially in products with SPF (sun protection factor).
Although we may encounter recipes for homemade products with an SPF of 30 or higher, they should be taken with a grain of salt, because it is quite unrealistic to craft such a product at home with commonly available resources. Nevertheless, there are ways for us to pamper our skin and care for it the natural way, and we are going to show you how. But first, let us dive a bit into the world of theory.
The fact that sun rays are composed of various wave lengths is primary school knowledge. What we are going to talk about, however, are the UVA and UVB types of radiation: UVB radiation is of a medium wavelength and is partially filtered out by the ozone layer. It penetrates only the surface layers of the skin, but it is intense enough to cause sunstroke and potentially harm skin cell DNA.
Additionally, UVB radiation along with heat (from the sun) causes thickening of the upper skin layers and subsequent dehydration. This is actually a defense mechanism of our skin – calloused and thickened skin prevents the UVB radiation from penetrating deeper.
UVA radiation has a longer wavelength; it penetrates the atmosphere and has lower energy than UVB. However, it penetrates deeper into the skin and causes it to age prematurely by hindering the production of collagen. Both types of radiation stimulate melanin production and tan our skin.
On the other hand, we should keep in mind that UVB radiation positively influences the production of vitamin D which is vital for the human body. Sun rays have a positive effect on some skin illnesses too, like psoriasis and eczema. All you need to do to gain these positive effects is to stand for 10 minutes in the sun without any protection.
Some substances may cause a heightened sensitivity to sunlight – the well-known examples would be essential oils made from citrus, celery, angelica, verbena, and St. John’s wort macerate. If you are using antibiotics you should not stay in the sun for too long either.
We should also set the record straight about the protection factor of cold-pressed oils. Some claim that these oils have a protection factor of 2 to 7
and that the raspberry one has a whopping 28 to 50.
Information like this should be approached carefully for several reasons. The numbers are, in fact, backed by scientific studies, but they were measured mainly by spectrophotometry, which is not the most reliable method for this measurement. The protection factor of those products is better indicated by how reddened the skin of the research volunteers becomes when exposed to an exactly defined UV radiation. The results of both methods are then very different.
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