Are You Ready for Summer?

So happy to have had the opportunity to spend some time in Barcelona a few years ago… Here I am with two of my daughters enjoying the beautiful weather and sights…

Dr Cabeca with daughters

This city is filled with amazing beauty, but even on this and any vacation, I have my family’s health on my mind. First thing is how I will keep my daughters protected from the sun! Packing for this trip was a challenge knowing we would spend a majority of our time outdoors, walking the streets of Barcelona and enjoying the sun on the beaches.

Sun protection is so important…but getting some sunshine is so great for you too!

Do you routinely slather on gobs of sun screen…thinking you are protecting your skin?

… well, let me provide a few recommendations about that…

Protect your Body’s Biggest Organ

It’s not your heart. Not your brain. Nor your lungs.

Your SKIN is your biggest organ.

Just like your other organs, if you want your skin to take care of you for life, you have to take care of it.

And yet… many people treat their skin so carelessly. So roughly.

Can you imagine leaving your kidneys out to burn in the sun for hours?

Or spraying harmful chemicals all over your liver?

“Of course not!” you think.

But if you’re going out in the sun without any protection (pleazzzze stop doing this!), or with the kind of protection that does as much harm (or worse)… you may as well be doing the same thing.

But what type of protection is best?  

You need some sun for its powerful immunity benefits…and then cover up!

Watch this video that I did a few years ago…

and you’ll learn that people need some sunshine for the vitamin D and other health benefits…and then people need to cover up. Wear a hat, a loose light-colored shirt, rash guards and the like to reduce your exposure to damaging UV rays. And don’t forget to protect your eyes! Wear polarized sunglasses.

I always say to play in the shade once you’ve gotten a bit of healthy sunshine. Bring an umbrella to the beach. 

Use caution with infants as they do not yet have enough melanin in their skin to protect them. I cringe when I see parents with babies in backpacks while they walk around in the sun! Protect these little loves.

And then, yes, slather on the skin protection as an additive strategy (not as your ONLY strategy…and also make sure the sunscreen or block is not toxic!)…

Consider what the Research Shows about Sun Screen

“Every major public health authority – the FDA, National Cancer Institute and International Agency for Research on Cancer – has concluded that the available data do not support the assertion that sunscreens alone reduce the rate of skin cancer (FDA 2011a, IARC 2001b, NCI 2011).” 1

I talk a bit about this in my video as well. You really need to cover up, play/exercise during hours where your exposure is reduced, and be sun smart.

And then, when you do use sunscreen or sun block to add-on some additional protection, please be aware that many sun screens contain dangerous chemicals…which your largest organ – your skin – readily absorbs!

The average American is exposed to 126 unique chemicals in their personal care products alone, every day. Now consider that your skin is basically an absorbent and permeable sponge for so many synthetic chemicals that we come in contact with daily. And studies have shown that many of these chemicals do not break down, but simply accumulate in your body. (Source: Environmental Working Group).

You cannot shut out all external poisons, but you can limit what you eat that could be toxic, and you can help your immune system and skin cope with the heavy burden of chemical buildup by using skincare products that are truly organic, non-toxic and that don’t contain chemicals that literally disrupt hormone function in your body. I want to make sure you’re ready to face the warmer, sunnier weather and take good care of your skin, so it can take care of you.

My sun protection suggestions (after you get a bit of sun…and after you cover up!)?

  • Look for skin protection that is made from zinc oxide. It works well, naturally blocking UV rays…and a side benefit is that it causes fewer allergic reactions than other formulas. It does leave a little “white cream residue”, but it’s worth it.
  • Stay clear of products containing synthetic estrogen compounds and toxic chemicals. Check out the endocrine disruptor info on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website. You can download a tip sheet as well here on their sunscreen page.
  • Don’t use products that can penetrate your skin! You can read more about that on the EWG site as well. Why would you want anything absorbed into your skin that isn’t 100% natural? (by the way, this goes beyond sunscreens…you should read the labels for your other skincare and personal care products, too!)
  • Use SPF 15-50. Why? Because the FDA says numbers above 50 are misleading…read about that here
  • I always test any skin product I use prior to applying it over my body! This is especially important for small children.

In the video I mention a few skin protection products that I like. The EWG site also provides rating info.

And here’s hoping you’ll be out enjoying your own beach day real soon!

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Dr. Anna Cabeca

Dr. Anna Cabeca

Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine expert and founder of The Girlfriend Doctor. During Dr. Anna’s health journey, she turned to research to create products to help thousands of women through menopause, hormones, and sexual health. She is the author of best-selling The Hormone Fix, and Keto-Green 16 and MenuPause.

Learn more about my scientific advisory board.