According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Americans are developing more and more skin problems like skin cancer, psoriasis, and eczema. But whereas the medical community tends to suggest medication as the first-option fix to such problems, there are several alternative approaches to long term skin health that have little to do with doctor's offices or pharmacies.
Here are 10 natural skin care tips that offer common-sense solutions to some of the most common skin troubles.
1. Higher SPF doesn’t always mean better protection.
SPF rating only refers to protection against UVB rays, those which burn the skin. SPF actually has very little to do with a product’s ability to protect skin from UVA rays, those which penetrate deep into the body, accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer.
High SPF products give a false sense of security and tempt users to stay in the sun too long, and the FDA is actually considering barring SPF above 50. High SPF products also suffer from serious diminishing returns (SPF 100 blocks 99% while SPF 30 blocks 97% of rays).
Physical sunscreens (without petrochemicals) that provide SPF of 30-40 are fully effective at preventing burns, do a MUCH better job of protecting long term skin health and promote natural skin care.
2. Drinking lots of water does little to hydrate skin.
Your skin is more affected by environment than by amount of water consumed. Hanging in the Florida humidity will automatically make skin more hydrated and plump than when you’re hiking in the dry Arizona air.
Drinking water is good for lots of other reasons, so it is still important to drink your 8 glasses, but to keep skin hydrated, choose mineral-based sunscreens with certified organic coconut oil and olive oil and make sure to keep lip balm with beeswax handy.
PRO TIP Use a reusable water bottle (and not single-use plastic water bottles that fill up our oceans and landfills, even when disposed of properly).
3. Spray sunscreens are NOT OK.
People like sprays because they’re easy to apply (especially on kids). However, they pose serious inhalation risks, people don’t apply enough to cover the skin adequately, and they’re loaded with toxic petrochemicals. The FDA has even expressed doubts about their safety and effectiveness but hasn’t banned them. Yet.
Choose a zinc oxide-based sunscreen to protect your family’s skin. Yes, physical sunscreens might be thick and show more white than you’re used to, but you can rest easy knowing you’re fully protected, you’re choosing natural skincare and you’re not trading long term health for short term convenience.
4. Natural oil is good for skin.
We’ve been told to avoid oil and remove it from our skin at all costs, but our skin naturally produces oil to protect itself and removing it with harsh chemicals only causes our sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
Alternatively, if we add a little healthy, natural oil to our skin and use a natural sunscreen and gentle moisturizing cleanser, our glands will calm down and help regulate our skin’s oil production. Read more about natural skincare and uncommon sunscreen ingredients your skin will love.
5. Windows do not block UVA rays.
UVA rays (the ones mostly responsible for skin cancer) travel through most house and car windows. In fact, over 53% of skin cancer cases are on the left arm or left side of the face because of those rays penetrating car windows. When we sit by a window with a good book and cup of tea on a bright winter day, our skin is fully exposed.
6. Avoid powdered sunscreens.
Prohibited by the FDA from being sold over-the-counter, powdered sunscreens are subject to its new drug application process. Powders pose significant inhalation risks, where toxic chemicals (or otherwise relatively harmless compounds) do great harm within the lungs. Here are more types of sunscreen to avoid.
7. Foods can protect against skin damage.
Long term skin damage is mostly caused by exposure to UVA rays. They penetrate deep into the skin causing premature wrinkles and skin cancer by producing free radicals, which are unstable molecules that steal electrons from healthy molecules.
Your body’s natural free radical defenses often aren’t enough to prevent damage effectively. They either need to be boosted, with intake of antioxidants, or free radical production limited with sunscreen.
Many common sunscreens still allow some exposure to UVA rays. Only sun defense clothing and zinc oxide block UVA rays completely. To increase the body’s natural sun defenses, significant intake of antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Doctors recommend daily Vitamin C intake of 1,000 or more mg to maintain effective levels of antioxidants needed to effectively neutralize sun-related free radicals.
8. Sugar causes wrinkles.
Sugar and high glycemic foods create insulin that causes the body to create oil-producing hormones (leading to acne) and worse, which leads to inflammation, which produces enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Read the ingredients list on your food and choose low-glycemic foods .
9. Sunshine is good for you.
Vital to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, getting outdoors may be as important to health as good diet and regular exercise. Yet it’s estimated that more than 40% of Americans may be chronically deficient in the critical nutrient.
Although you don’t want to get a sunburn, you do want natural skincare and UVB rays are the ones that will help produce Vitamin D. Read your sunscreen inactive and active ingredients and choose a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen, and better yet, one that’s enhanced with extra Vitamin D.
10. Which sunscreen you wear is crucial.
Many dermatologists like to say that wearing ANY sunscreen, as long as it’s 15 SPF or higher, is the most important thing you can do to protect skin exposed to UV rays. While well-meaning, such advice is based on inadequate research and is dangerously misleading.
The simple truth is that as Americans have dutifully followed such vague advice (using more and more sunscreens without paying much attention to the heavy doses of toxic petrochemicals they contain), skin cancer rates have only continued to rise.
In fact, since 1975, per capita, inflation-adjusted use has QUADRUPLED (i.e. the average American now uses FOUR times more sunscreen than before) while skin cancer rates have TRIPLED.
Clearly, most of the sunscreens used don’t protect nearly as well as they need to, and the KIND of sunscreen used is vitally important to protecting long term health. Choose a high-quality zinc oxide sunscreen, without any petrochemicals or titanium dioxide, for the safest defense against sunburn and most effective long term skin health.
It’s not essential that your doctor or dermatologist champions any of these facts. As long as YOU have this information, you are empowered to make the wisest choices for your body by bolstering the best of what your doctor has to offer with your own knowledge. Your family’s lifelong healthy skin will thank you for it.
1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your skincare product and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.
2. Buy clean skincare — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our skincare products. Shop Clean Skincare here.
3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying skincare with shady ingredients, please share this post with him/her.