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We all know the dangers of UV exposure. Ultraviolet rays can damage skin, aging it and even causing skin cancer, but conventional sunscreen can also be dangerous, and often contains toxic chemicals. The FDA has not created rigorous standards for sunscreens, and many contain chemicals that can absorb into the bloodstream, cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, and may even release free radicals when exposed to sunlight! How, then, can you protect yourself against the damage the sun can cause?

* First, eat foods that provide protection from the inside out. Fortunately, many of these foods, like strawberries, watermelon, red grapes, citrus fruit, and tomatoes, are probably already on your summer menu! Other foods that boost sun protection and healing in your skin include almonds, pomegranates, leafy greens, carrots, turmeric, and flax seed.

* Next, use clothing and shade to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat! Dress in light clothing that prevents your skin from being exposed to UV rays, and sit in the shade- whether this means picnicking under a tree or putting up a beach umbrella.

* Plan your outside time around the sun. Early morning and late afternoon are the safest times to play outdoors, so find an indoor activity to occupy your time during the middle of the day, when the sun is highest in the sky.

* As a last resort, choose a natural sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group offers an annual sunscreen guide, to help you make a good decision about which sunscreen to choose. * If you’re feeling ambitious, you can always make your own sunscreen. Using all natural ingredients like olive or almond oil, coconut oil, and beeswax, you can mix up a sunscreen with UV protection you can feel good about putting on your skin.

At our clinic, we embrace an integrated approach to wellness, treating patients as whole people, and treating their health from the inside out. To that end, we like to give our patients useful information, on a variety of topics, from sun protection, to diet tips, to health news. For more information about how we can help you live a healthier life, call today for your free consultation.