Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally – Stay Young Looking!

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The Problem – Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) can burn the top skin layer. Sunburn can cause wrinkling by breaking down the skin’s elastic tissue (collagen and elastin). Ultraviolet B can cause skin cancer, especially in fair-skinned individuals, which have less protective pigmentation (melanin). Here are some things you can do to protect skin from the sun naturally, to make you look and feel younger.

Make Sunscreen Your Best FriendProtect Skin From The Sun Naturally - A photo of a woman's face

Be Consistent: Always make an effort to use sunscreen whenever you plan to stay outdoors, especially during the spring and summer months. Keep sunscreen in a dark and cool place in your car so that you will always have it available. Promptly discard it after the expiration date and sooner if it is kept in a hot environment.

Application Is Key: As a general rule, apply sunscreen every 1 to 2 hours. Use a sport sunscreen if you will be sweating excessively or swimming. Cover all exposed areas of skin with sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and don’t forget to use at least a 30 SPF lip balm. For more information see the Sunscreen article on Wikipedia.

Watch The Clock

Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally - Someone looking at their watch

Exposure Time: Generally speaking, you should not stay in the midday sun without protection for longer than 20 to 30 minutes a day, and only 5 to 10 minutes if you are prone to burn easily. If you have a history of severe sun skin damage (actinic keratosis) or skin cancer, then use an SPF of 60 or higher for a complete block.


Dress Appropriately And AccessorizeProtect Skin From The Sun Naturally - A woman exercising on the beach

Plan your day: If you will not be sunbathing or swimming then cover up as much as practically (and fashionably) possible. Wear a long sleeve shirt and pants if weather permits. Darker colors can block more ultraviolet rays but also tend to be hotter than lighter ones. A wide-brim hat can help protect your scalp, face, and neck. Add sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes, as well as the eye itself (retinal damage can cause macular degeneration).

If you want to protect your eyes and face at the same time then the SolaVisor is one of my favorite pieces of sun wear. It’s very lightweight and attaches to your sunglasses so it does not mess up your hair.

It’s a great idea if you need stylish sun protection. I use one myself and it works great! I highly recommend that you try this visor!

Sun Can Do Unexpected Things To Your Skin!Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally - A drawing of a surprised face

Skin Cream and Lotion Reactions: Various topical (applied to your body) skincare products purchased over the counter and by prescription can react with the sun to cause an allergic reaction with your unprotected skin (photo-allergic reaction). This reaction can cause a severe rash that may spread to other parts of your body.

Medication Reactions: Certain medications that are applied topically, ingested in pill-pill form, and given by injection or intravenously (through an IV) can react with ultraviolet rays to create a toxic chemical compound. This compound can severely damage your skin directly in that area of sun exposure (photo-toxic reaction).

Common medications that can cause sun sensitivity (photo-allergic and photo-toxic) reactions include those to treat the following conditions.

  • Acne: Benzoyl Peroxide, and Isotretinoin (Accutaine)
  • Allergy: Diphenhydramine
  • Inflammation: Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Celecoxib
  • Depression: Doxepin
  • High Blood Pressure: Hydrocholorothiazide and Diltiazem
  • Infection: Doxycycline, Ciprofloxacin, and Levofloxacin
  • High Cholesterol: Atorvastatin, Simvastatin, and other “statins”

If you have a severe sun reaction seek the help of a qualified healthcare provider immediately.

Disease Reactivation: Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can also reactivate medical conditions such as herpes, shingles, or lupus (an autoimmune disorder).

Eat RightProtect Skin From The Sun Naturally - Vegetables that contain antioxidants

Antioxidants – The Skin’s Best Friend: Eat a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can protect the skin from damage (by free radicals) caused by ultraviolet light. They also can help prevent a variety of diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attack.

Foods That Contain Antioxidants

Fruits, including:

  • Mangoes Peaches, Apricots, Cantaloupe, and Tomatoes (technically a fruit)
  • Oranges, Strawberries, and Blueberries
  • Kiwi, Avocados, Blackberries, and Cranberries (dried)
  • Raspberries, Plums, and Pomegranates

Vegetables, including:

  • Squash, Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Spinach, and Beans
  • Green Peppers, Cabbage, and Kale
  • Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Onion
  • Nuts, Seeds, and Whole Grains
  • Spices – such as Pepper, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Clove, and Cinnamon

Fish and Shellfish, including:

  • Whitefish, Tuna, and Salmon
  • Clams, Mussels, Scallops, and Oysters
  • Crab and Lobster
  • Shrimp and Prawn

Lean Meats and Milk (an animal byproduct), including:

  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Pork, Veal, and Lamb
  • Low Fat Beef (90% meat/10% fat)

For more information see Foods High In Antioxidant – Eating Smart For Better Health.

Reversing Sun Damage

Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally - A woman with a bad sunburnNot all skin damage can be repaired, especially in severe cases. Therefore, the best approach to good skincare is to prevent as much sun damage as possible.

Here are some products that can be helpful in restoring skin to its natural look and feel.

  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant has a double benefit. It can both prevent skin damage from free radicals and repair skin by stimulating the production of collagen.
  • Vitamin A derivatives (retinols and retinoids): These derivatives can heal the skin by stimulating the production of skin capillaries and collagen. These are among the most popular compounds, especially with dermatologists.
  • Niacinamide (also known as Nicotinamide or Vitamin B3): Another antioxidant that protects against ultraviolet sun damage and repairs skin by decreasing pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.
  • Azelaic acid: A mild organic acid with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to protect and repair skin by reducing redness and swelling.
  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): Another group of mild organic acids that can exfoliate dead and damaged skin while stimulating collagen production and increasing blood flow.

Summing It All Up

Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally - Summing It All Up on an abacusThe sun can be warm, comforting, and a prime ingredient of summer fun. Reversing sun damage is much more difficult than preventing it, to begin with. It is important to protect your skin at all times form the harmful long term effects of ultraviolet radiation. For the most complete protection, the best approach is to use a combination of the various methods described above. People of all age groups can benefit from these recommendations.

Tell Us What You Think!

Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section.Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally - Depiction of a smart idea

  • Do you have any important tips or suggestions?
  • How do you protect yourself from the sun?
  • Do you know anyone with severe skin damage? What was their solution?

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18 thoughts on “Protect Skin From The Sun Naturally – Stay Young Looking!”

  1. As far as protecting skin from the sun naturally, is there a natural sunscreen that you recommend? I worry about the plastic compounds in some of them being worse for me that the UV radiation itself.

  2. These are great tips! I think we (generally) underestimate the powerful effects of the sun on our skin. I like to wear sunscreen when needed and I include a hat if I am planning to go on a hike or be outside for a length of time. Another part to keep in mind is covering your skin or wearing sunscreen even on colder days where the sun is shining. When we don’t feel hot we don’t think about what is happening as the sun shines down!

    • Hi Heidi,
      I most certainly agree with you. Most people tend to ignore the sun in the colder months but any exposed areas of skin (probably less at lower temperatures) must still be protected from ultraviolet radiation.

  3. Amazing how we didn’t worry about these things while being out in the sun for hrs as children. Good interesting read. I’m not one for sunbathing but as you said, we can all benefit for the information that you’ve provided. Good read.

    • Hi Brandin,
      It’s extra important to protect children from ultraviolet light because their skin tends to be more sensitive. Also, if you start unprotected sun exposure at an early age you will be statistically more likely to develop skin cancer.

  4. I am much more conscious of this now as I am getting older (should have been in my younger years too (teens, 20s and 30s) or rather the whole way along but…). I live in Australia so you can imagine what our climate does to us. I am not particularly vigilant about putting on sun screen, but I am getting better. In terms of covering up. I walked today and actually wore a long sleeved top (the first time ever). Thanks for your list of antioxidants too. What we put in definitely shows on the outside. Thanks for your article, I’m determined to be more thoughtful about these things.

    • Hi Martine,
      Thanks for your kind comment! Australia is somewhere I would LOVE to visit someday! It’s never to late for sun protection. It’s particularly challenging to cover up when your’e in a hot climate but keeping well hydrated with cold beverages helps.

    • Hi Martine,
      Vaseline is an excellent emollient (skin softener) and I sometimes recommend it for dermatitis, like MILD eczema or MILD psoriasis. However, it does not effectively block ultraviolet light for prolonged periods of time. It isn’t much more effective than a sunscreen with an SPF of 15. If you have fair skin or are going to be in the strong sun for an extended time period I would suggest using a product with an SPF of at least 30. If you need a total block then use an SPF of 60.

  5. Although my skin is darker. It’s extremely important for me to look after it. I actually use a sunscreen every day mainly because I enjoy going outdoors. Darker skin can take on more sunlight, however we still have to be careful with sun exposure as well. It’s good to know that most of the tips apply to most skin types.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thank You for these additional comments!

      Your approach to skincare is excellent. Everyone should avoid prolonged unprotected skin exposure to ultraviolet light. Taking great care of your skin is one of the best things you can do to avoid skin cancer and make yourself look younger as you age.


  6. I actually picked up a few tips from your article. I think it still applies to most skin types due to the fact that the sun can damage any skin. It may take a little longer to damage darker skin, however I can tell you that I have had sun-burn especially when I was younger, so it had been very important for me to look after it even now that I am older. 

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your great comments!

      People of color have more melanin (pigment) in their skin and are therefore more “sun-resistant” but you are absolutely correct in saying that ultraviolet rays can cause actinic damage to any skin type. This damage causes wrinkles and can also create precancerous lesions (actinic keratosis). It is always important to protect yourself with sunblock unless you are in a tanning booth, which does not emit ultraviolet radiation in the harmful spectrum.

      Have a great summer & stay safe!


  7. The solarvisor looks great, it has a cap and sunglasses at the same time, pretty cool 😉

    Regarding sunscreen, which brands are organic or environment friendly? Many have toxins and when you go swimming in the ocean, those toxins are left in the water and may damage coral reefs and sea life in general. So, if you have any recommendations for natural sunscreen, that would be great 🙂

    I live in the semi-desert, and now that the summer is starting, it is getting very hot … During midday I stay out of the sun and I sometimes wear long pants and sleeves. I need to buy a hat to protect my face, but I also like the solarvisor. I eat healthy food, so I am glad to see that most of the food I consume made it to your list.

    Very interesting and helpful post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

      Yes, the SolaVisor is really comfortable and affordable. It stays on my head really well and does not make my forehead sweaty like some of the other brands I have tried.

      It’s great to hear that you are so environmentally conscious! Our precious coral reefs are rapidly becoming endangered. Here is an excellent article that has 21 organic sunscreen products:

      If you live in the semi-desert and have fair skin then I would caution you to use an SPF of at least 50.

      Have fun in the sun and be safe!



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