How to Protect Your Skin From The Sun Without Sunscreen

The sun is an amazing healing modality. But too much sun exposure can be dangerous for some people. And unfortunately, most chemical sunscreens are filled with toxic ingredients. So how do you protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen? Keep reading to find out!

I am a huge advocate for daily sun exposure. I love the sun. I like to tell people that I am solar-powered and the fact is I truly am and so are you.

The sun is the ultimate source of all life on earth. Every single plant, animal, and human being on this earth needs sunlight in order to survive and thrive.

Woman lying in the sand in the sun on the beach.

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Benefits of Daily Sunshine

Daily sun exposure can boost your mood, support liver function, increase your energy, improve your sleep, and so much more.

But many people deprive themselves of the healing benefits of the sun because they are worried about skin cancer, aging, or getting burnt.

We have been led to believe that the sun is dangerous and we should shield our skin and eyes whenever we are in its presence.

But recently I’ve come to the conclusion that the sun is our friend, not our foe.

I’ve written an entire post on this subject. You can read it here – The Power of the Sun: Healing Benefits of Sunlight.

To sum it up, I personally believe the sun is not the primary cause of skin cancer and accelerated aging.

The sun is blamed for skin cancer but what if it’s not the UV rays from the sun that are toxic but rather our own bodies that are toxic because of the things we put in it and on it.

Many people’s diets consist of highly toxic processed foods and foods high in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids). Unlike our ancestors who consumed real/whole foods, our bodies are full of toxic substances.

Foods high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like nut butters, nut milks, seed and vegetable oils can be really bad for the body when consumed often.

And many people are consuming these types of foods in very large quantities.

PUFAs are highly unstable and begin to oxidize when they are exposed to light, heat, and oxygen. So as you can imagine this is not good for the human body which is very warm and requires oxygen. 

You can read this post – What Are PUFAs & Why You Should Avoid Them – to learn more about the dangers of PUFAs.

And besides the toxic substances that we are ingesting into our bodies, think about all the toxic substances that we are putting on our bodies like chemical sunscreens, sunblocks, and lotions.

Potential Dangers of Sunscreen

Sunblock blocks UV rays and sunscreens are designed to absorb UV rays. Both are typically filled with highly toxic ingredients.

But sunscreen that is designed to absorb UV rays can be especially dangerous because some sunscreen ingredients can generate free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

This can indirectly cause DNA damage in your cells. This study suggests that sunscreen that is designed to absorb UV rays can increase the number of free radicals and oxidative stress on and in the body.

Most chemical sunscreens contain benzophenone which is a dangerous free radical generator. The EWG has a great article highlighting the dangers of sunscreen ingredients.

Chemicals and PUFAs in and on the body in combination with sun exposure are a recipe for disaster.

It’s kind of like gasoline and a match. A match on its own isn’t dangerous. It can actually be used for good. You can use it to light a candle for light or to light a campfire for warmth.

But if you light the match near something that has been soaked with gasoline it can cause absolute devastation. But is that the match’s fault or the gasoline’s fault?

There is also a lot of evidence that points to chemical sunscreen and artificial indoor lighting possibly causing skin cancer.

But I don’t want to go much into the possible causes of skin cancer because I’ve written extensively about it in this post – The Power of the Sun: Healing Benefits of Sunlight.

So if you want to learn more about why I believe what I believe please go read that post. There are many sources and studies linked there.

Anyway, even though I am an advocate for daily sunshine and I am not a fan of sunscreen/sunblock that doesn’t mean I believe excessive sun exposure without sunscreen is beneficial to everyone.

A healthy body is going to react differently to sun exposure than an unhealthy body.

Sun exposure can actually cause harm to an unhealthy/toxic body. Remember the match and gasoline analogy?

The key to protecting your skin from the sun without sunscreen/sunblock is being mindful of your sun exposure and healing your body from the inside out so that you can tolerate the sun for longer periods of time.

I am not advocating for all-day sun exposure, especially during the hottest part of the day.

The sun is an amazing healing modality but it is also extremely powerful. Just like with all things, even good things, it’s all about moderation.

How To Protect Your Skin From The Sun Without Sunscreen

So how can you protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen and experience all the amazing healing benefits of the sun? Keep reading!

Stop Consuming PUFAs

There are a lot of problems with PUFAs but the main one is that they are highly unstable and begin to oxidize when they are exposed to light, heat, and oxygen. 

PUFAs are in almost everything and are pretty much unavoidable but there are some foods that are unnaturally high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Below are some of the worst offenders.

  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Canola oil
  • Fish oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Walnut oil

Seed and vegetable oils are rancid oils and they do not belong in the human body! And a person who consumes a diet rich in PUFAs is going to have a difficult time tolerating the sun.

So if you want to protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen you need to eliminate or cut down on your PUFA consumption.

You can read this post – What Are PUFAs & Why You Should Avoid Them – to learn more.

Supplement With Vitamin E

PUFAs also deplete vitamin E levels in the body and can increase your need for vitamin E by six times. 

Vitamin E is so important. Its main role is to act as an antioxidant and decrease free radicals in the body that can damage cells and cause cancer.

Vitamin E is also essential for skin health. It helps to soften the skin and protects the skin cells from damage.

It’s important to supplement with vitamin E to rebuild your vitamin E levels if you’ve consumed a diet high in PUFAs.

Even if you cut out PUFAs completely, which is extremely difficult to do and I don’t recommend attempting unless you want to completely stress yourself out, it’s really difficult to increase your vitamin E levels quickly with just food alone.

A high-quality vitamin E supplement is essential to undoing the extensive damage PUFAs have caused. Plus, vitamin E helps to minimize the harm of consuming PUFAs in the future.

This is the vitamin E supplement I use and recommend. Use the code HAPPYHEART to get 15% off.

Stop Using PUFA Filled Skincare Products

PUFAs in and on the body can be extremely damaging to the skin. It boggles my mind how so many skincare products are filled with skin-damaging oils.

Avoid skincare products that contain PUFA oils like sunflower, soybean, safflower, walnut, and grapeseed. Especially if you plan on going out in the sun.

Not only do these oils generate cancer-causing free radicals when exposed to heat and light but they also cause accelerated aging.

Consume Pro-Metabolic Foods

Pro-metabolic foods are whole foods that are rich in bio-available nutrients. A pro-metabolic diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help to heal and protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen.

Pro-metabolic foods like grass-fed beef and shellfish are loaded with copper which promotes the production of collagen and elastin and also helps to enhance the function of antioxidants which help to protect skin from oxidative damage.

Shellfish and grass-fed beef are also rich in zinc which is also important for skin health.

Orange juice and potatoes are rich in vitamin C which protects the skin from UV rays and helps synthesize collagen. Vitamin C can also help repair sun damage.

And retinol (vitamin A) can be found in beef liver and raw milk. Retinol works as an antioxidant and can prevent damage from sun exposure.

You can read this post – What is the Pro-Metabolic Diet / Pro-Metabolic Eating – to learn more about the benefits of consuming pro-metabolic foods.

I truly believe that what you put in your body is more important than what you put on your body when it comes to skin health and cancer prevention.

Use A Nourishing Skin Cream

It’s also important to keep your skin well moisturized before and after sun exposure. While applying coconut oilshea butter, or cocoa butter to your skin will not prevent sunburn, they can help to nourish and support your skin.

I’ve also created a DIY all-natural sunscreen alternative that is filled with skin-nourishing ingredients. Please keep in mind this is not sunscreen nor does it block UV rays.

Jar of sunscreen alternative on counter.

I use it before and after a long day in the sun and my skin loves it!

Try Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment that occurs in trout, microalgae, shrimp, and other sea creatures. It is a powerful antioxidant. Some say it acts as a natural sunscreen when consumed internally.

I personally have never tried it but this study suggests it can in fact protect against UV rays.

Avoid Midday Sunshine

If you live in a very hot climate where the UV rays can be very intense, it’s best to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day which is usually between 11:00-3:00pm.

Wear a Hat

Wearing a hat is a simple and effective way to protect your head and face when you have to be out in the sun for a prolonged period of time.

Utilize Shade

Shade is your best friend when you have to be outside for a prolonged period of time. One of the easiest ways to protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen is to under a tree or use an umbrella for shade.

I never go to the beach without my beach umbrella or beach tent.

Take off Your Sunglasses

Melanin is your body’s natural sunblock. When your skin is exposed to sunlight melanin production increases. Melanin is your body’s natural defense from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

There is a theory that when your eyes are exposed to the sun, like your skin, it sends a signal to your body to create melanin which prevents you from getting burnt.

Sunglasses may be blocking the receptors in your eyes from sending a signal to your body to produce melanin.

Cover Up

The absolute best way to protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen is to cover up. Whenever we go to the beach or river we always pack long sleeve rash guards. That way we can still enjoy the water all day without getting a sunburn.

Listen To Your Body

Plants and animals are intuitively drawn to the sun. When the weather outside is sunny, you can’t deny that most people would rather be outside than sit indoors under artificial lighting.

Just like plants and animals we are naturally drawn to the sun.

But we are also drawn to shade and relief from the sun when our bodies have had enough.

Never force your body to remain outside when it is obviously uncomfortable. Always listen to your body! It knows what it is doing.

It’s also important to build a tolerance to the sun slowly. Especially if you are prone to burning.

Start by spending 20 minutes in the sun per day and increase your time in the sun a little more each day until you’re able to spend an hour or more in the sun without burning.

I know the topic of the sun and sunscreen and skin cancer is a controversial topic. Many people believe in the power of sunscreen and rely on it fully for sunburn protection and skin cancer prevention.

My concern is that it is not as effective as we have been led to believe and often gives people a false sense of security.

Also, the fact that diet is completely ignored when it comes to skin health and sun protection is very concerning to me.

Since I started eating pro-metabolically my skin has never looked better. The age spots on my hands have started to diminish as well as the fine lines on my face.

I also spend hours every day working in my garden (without sunscreen in Southern California) and never burn. I tan easily and my skin looks bronzed and glowy.

So instead of relying on sunscreen to protect us, it’s best to be very mindful of our time spent in the sun and nourish our bodies from the inside out.

I hope these tips help you protect your skin from the sun without sunscreen. Please let me know if you have any questions!

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