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Safe Sunbathing

It seems that covering the skin with a sunscreen causes two problems. Firstly it delays sunburn, a warning sign that it is time for us to head for the shade, and secondly, it reduces our body's ability to produce Vitamin D, the vitamin that suppresses the growth of melanoma cells.

Researchers think a solution may be to use a sunscreen that has vitamins, minerals or other nutrients like herbs added. They also suggest taking supplements to boost our protection from within.

Don't Hide from the Sun - Some Exposure is Essential to Good Health
Sunlight plays a vital role to our bodies physical and mental good health. Not only is it essential for the production of Vitamin D but deprivation of sunlight can cause Seasonal Effective Disorder, which makes us feel depressed and fatigued. There are also studies which appear to show that if we restrict sunlight from our lives too much we are at increased risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer.  So follow a few simple rules and enjoy the sunshine.
Here's What the Experts Recommend
Avoid the exposure during midday hours
Choose a sunscreen with added nutrients (see below), apply 30 - 60 minutes before exposure, and re-apply often.
Take Vitamins C, D and E, and Beta Carotene along with Selenium, Calcium and Zinc to give your sunscreen a boost and help prevent skin damage. Remember the nutrients that help prevent sunburn, can also help to heal it.
Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and flavonoids - all the things needed for healthy skin and good healing.
Drink Green Tea. In a recent study, it was shown to be beneficial. Tea can also be applied topically to sooth sunburn.
Tips On Choosing Sunscreen and After-Sun Skincare Products

Worldwide research studies on the effectiveness of adding nutrients to sunscreens to protect the skin from sun damage is ongoing Those listed below have shown positive benefits and the nutrients are worth looking out for when buying sunscreen and after-sun skin care products, or to be used on their own. Others are age old herbal remedies that have stood the test of time, and are worth considering.

Vitamin C - This powerful antioxidant is one of the skin's major defenses against sunburn. It is also important in tissue repair. The sun destroys the skin's store of Vitamin C.
Vitamin E - Vitamin E acts as a natural sunscreen. It is an antioxidant that aids tissue repair and the healing of scars. Experts say it will also help ease sunburn.
Selenium - Selenium has been found to be effective in preventing sunburn. Lotions containing selenium have been around for many years as treatments for a variety of skin problems including fungal infections and dandruff.
Zinc - Zinc has long been a treatment for minor burns and skin irritations. Life guards appreciate the value of zinc to protect their noses - it may look funny, but it works. It is now available in an almost invisible form in some sun blocks.
Aloe Vera - The value of Aloe as a protectant from the sun is still being studied, but it is well known for it's healing powers when we do burn. Aloe's action on the skin may also prove to reduce the chance of skin cancer.  
Witch Hazel - This household remedy helps to heal wounds and is an anti-inflammatory. It can be used for sunburn & other minor burns. It is also used to treat swelling and bruises. In a recent study it showed promise as a beneficial addition to sunscreens and after-sun skin care products.
Calendula - This herbal remedy reduces inflammation, and is very soothing to sunburnt skin.
Lavender Oil - A few drops of lavender oil added to almond, wheatgerm or sunflower oil relieves sunburn as well as other minor burns & scalds.
Baking Soda - Another common household product that can help soothe sunburned skin. Dissolve a 16 oz box of Baking Soda in lukewarm water and soak in the tub for half an hour.
Tea - Allow a pot of strong tea to cool, soak cloths with the tea, then apply to sunburned areas. Leave on for 30 minutes.