Tips for Optimal Winter Skin Care and Getting Enough Vitamin D

It is natural to seek out a few moments in the sun as the days get shorter during the winter months.  No matter how tempting it is to layout in the yard to soak up some rays without sunscreen, the reported link between the detection of skin cancer and unchecked exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is too high to be ignored.  According to studies, extended exposure to UV radiation from the sun resulted in the diagnosis of more than 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers.  Skin cancers are fast becoming a leading cause of deaths in the United States with 1 in 5 Americans expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SUN EXPOSURE

There is a dangerously popular misconception that getting sun exposure without the use of sunscreen will eradicate the need to balance out a pre-existing vitamin D deficiency.  Prolonged exposure to the sun does not boost vitamin D levels if there is already diet or lifestyle-based nutrient deficiency in the body.  Instead people are putting themselves at risk of developing skin cancers, especially when they are not using adequate strength of sun protection in the form of sun creams and lotions.  Using mineral or organic sunscreen not only protects against the risk of skin cancers, it also prevents the early appearance of wrinkles and other signs of premature aging.

Research after research keeps coming up with the same conclusion: people must get the adequate amount of sun exposure to boost the healing properties of Vitamin D or face the dire consequences.  The risk of dying from heart disease doubled in those with low vitamin D levels compared to those participants with higher vitamin D levels in the same 8 year period covered by the medical study.

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient to ensure overall health but especially the development and maintenance of strong bones.  A fair-skinned individual can get 10,000 international units of vitamin D by sitting for just 10 minutes in the midday sun.


WINTER SUN FACTS

During these winter months, however, it is difficult to rely on daily outings to fulfill the recommended intake of sunshine for the absorption of Vitamin D, especially if you live North of Atlanta.  UVB rays are the only rays that produce vitamin D when hitting unexposed skin. In wintertime, the sun never gets high enough in the sky for UVB rays to penetrate the atmosphere, so it’s impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun for most of us.  In Chicago, for example, UVB rays are not potentially present until March 25, and by September 16th it is impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun.  Exposure to the sun without wearing sunscreen does not provide any vitamin D benefits, but rather exposes skin to the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays, not to mention photo damage and premature wrinkling.


COMPENSATING FOR VITAMIN D NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES

Altering your diet and adding the appropriate dietary supplements is the only reliable way to ensure that your body is gaining the adequate quantity of Vitamin D.  Improving your Vitamin D3 intake can be as simple as taking a few drops of a Vitamin D3 Liquid supplement daily, our doctor recommends the supplements from Pure Encapsulations.

Despite the numerous health benefits of gaining sun exposure, excessive sun exposure is still the leading cause of skin cancer in the United States.  Doctors detected more than 87,000 new cases of invasive melanoma skin cancer in 2017 alone.  In the case you are diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency, make sure to pair an increased intake of vitamin D supplements and vitamin-D enriched foods with more frequent outdoor activity under the sun.  Wearing organic sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 to 30 is strongly recommended to prevent the development of skin cancer.  


References

http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines

https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/skin-prevention-pdq

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/31/dont-risk-skin-cancer-while-chasing-vitamin-d-boost-authorities-warn

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/heart/articles/2008/06/23/time-in-the-sun-how-much-is-needed-for-vitamin-d

http://www.professionalsupplementcenter.com/Vitamin-D3-Liquid-by-Pure-Encapsulations.htm?referrer=googleshopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMInNL_7_z11wIVFFcNCh3K4QOPEAYYBSABEgK7GPD_BwE

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Help save our coral reefs: ban all products containing oxybenzone.

The crisis is real.   Two weeks ago, scientists from the Nature Conservancy described a dire situation for Hawaii's reefs and marine life.   Hawaii is home to at least 85 percent of the United State’s coral reefs and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that from 2014 to 2015, 56% of the Big Island's coral are bleached, along with 44% along West Maui and 32% around Oahu.  Bleached corals ultimately leads to the death of corals.  The study also shows that the Caribbean has lost 80 percent of its coral reefs in the last 50 years.

Why do we care?

While coral reefs make up less than 1 percent of the earth’s marine ecosystems, their importance to our ecosystem is huge. Corals:

  • shelter 25 percent of marine species,
  • protect shorelines,
  • support fishing industries,
  • provide tourist dollars

What causes coral bleaching?

Climate change, warming waters, is the biggest cause of bleaching in corals, however studies show that chemicals are also a very significant cause.

“Climate change plays a big role, but it does not explain totally what is happening...It is our opinion that pollution plays a large role. The problem is that we lose a percentage of coral reefs every year, and very rarely do we see a recovery." - Craig Downs, executive director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory.

Approximately 14,000 tons of chemical sunscreens are unleashed into reefs around the world each year.  These chemicals get into the water via swimmers and wastewater from coastal septic systems.  Studies estimate that up to 10 percent of the world’s coral reefs are killed by certain chemicals found in sunscreens.  This certain chemical is oxybenzone, one of the most common UV filters found in over 3,500 products in the US.  Oxybenzone has been proven to deform the DNA in coral at the larval stage, making it unlikely to develop properly.  Oxybenzone as well as octinoxate, another common UV filter, are also shown to force the algae that live within coral colonies to eject themselves from the corals.  Algae provide corals not only their color, but also their nutrients. Without algae, corals lose their color and food source, and ultimately die.

Data published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology shows that oxybenzone is toxic to coral at incredibly low concentrations of 65 parts per trillion, or put into perspective, this equates to one drop of oxybenzone in 6.5 Olympic-size swimming pools.  Researchers show the highest concentrations of oxybenzone are in Trunk Bay, an area in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, where oxybenzone levels were discovered at 1,400,000 parts per trillion.  Concentrations in Hawaii have ranged from 800 parts per trillion to 19,000 parts per trillion.  Case in point, these are insanely high concentrations of oxybenzone and they are having hugely negative impacts on their reefs.

What is being done?

Hawaiian state senator, Will Espero, proposed a bill that would ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate across the islands.

This past February, a    According to Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources, "researchers have found oxybenzone concentrations in some Hawaiian waters at more than 30 times the level considered safe for corals." The beaches of Maui, specifically, have already suffered the consequences, reports Scientific American.  "The use of oxybenzone-containing products needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral reef conservation is a critical issue," said Craig Downs. The European Union's International Chemical Secretariat has already declared oxybenzone as a threat to human health and called for it to be replaced with another, safer ingredient.

 

In the US, oxybenzone continues to run rampant in our sunscreen and personal care products.  We can all do our part by banning products that contain this harmful chemical.  Read labels, use chemical SPFs free of oxybenzone and/or octinoxate and use mineral sunscreens (made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide - the National Park Service says mineral sunscreens have not been found to harm reefs).  We clearly have a crisis on our hands, our reefs are in danger, so we hope you’ll join us in our movement to practice safe sun and avoid products with oxybenzone and octinoxate.

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Oxybenzone: Why Soleil Toujours always stays away from this potentially toxic chemical

Sunscreen is the single most important part of any skincare regime. It is the most effective solution for anti-aging and protects against cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays. But what if your sunscreen was doing you more harm than good? Oxybenzone is an ingredient used in over 40% of sunscreens that can cause hormonal imbalances, birth defects, and allergic reactions (EWG’s Worst Scoring, 2017). This compound has the ability to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. A study done by the U.S. Center for Disease Control showed that oxybenzone was found in 97% of the people tested (CDC: Americans, 2008). Further studies that the more oxybenzone present in pregnant women the more likely they are to give birth to underweight girls. Babies born underweight are at a higher rate for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other severe health complications (CDC: Americans, 2008). Not only that, but oxybenzone can be found in the breast milk of new mothers, causing their children to ingest this harmful chemical. Allergic reactions are also commonly linked to oxybenzone, causing photoallergic contact dermatitis due to sun exposure (CDC: Americans, 2008). In fact, it was crowned “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2014 (Vazirnia, MAS, Jacob, 2015). Soleil Toujours uses safe and gentle mineral based SPF, not chemical based. Oxybenzone and other similar chemicals are never used in our products, so slather yourself up and enjoy the sun!

Unfortunately, oxybenzone isn’t just harmful to humans. Recently, research has discovered that oxybenzone is extremely detrimental to coral reefs. Biologists discovered that oxybenzone reacts to DNA in the same way gasoline would. It halts the reproduction and growth of coral and causes deformities in the tissue which can lead to the destructions of entire reefs (Yuhas, 2017). Research found that even a drop of oxybenzone in the amount of water contained in six and a half olympic-sized swimming pools can damage coral, yet humans contribute to contamination of 25 to 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen chemicals each year (Yuhas, 2017) (Sun, 2016). Soleil Toujours is working towards ending the spread of the harsh chemicals by using safe, natural ingredients, and when you indulge in our products, so are you!


"CDC: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical." EWG. N.p., 25 Mar. 2008. Web. 07 July 2017.

"OXYBENZONE." OXYBENZONE || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | EWG. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2017.

Sun, Wendy. "Do the Chemicals in Your Sunscreen Damage Fragile Coral Reefs?" EWG. N.p., 6 July 2016. Web. 07 July 2017.

Sunscreens, EWG's 2017 Guide to. "EWG's 2017 Guide to Safer Sunscreens." EWG. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 July 2017.

 

Vazirnia, Aria, MAS, and Sharon E. Jacob, M.D. "Review ACDS' Allergen of the Year 2000-2015." Review ACDS' Allergen of the Year 2000-2015 | The Dermatologist. N.p., 2015. Web. 07 July 2017.

Yuhas, Alan. "Slathering on Sunscreen at the Beach? It May Be Destroying Coral Reefs."The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 07 July 2017.

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Vanity Fair: Protect the Skin You’re In with Broad-Spectrum SPF Products

What’s the one thing you should never leave the house without? Sun protection, of course. Sun damage is a very real thing, but making SPF a part of your daily routine is the first step in preventing it. These five brands carry foolproof products for everyday use that will protect your skin now and later. Who needs a real tan anyway?!

  1. Soleil Toujours: Soleil Toujours is our one-stop-shop for all things sun. Start your morning with the Mineral Sunscreen Glow S.P.F. 30 for a lightweight, tinted glow that will leave your skin hydrated and protected until sunset. Then, finish off your morning beauty routine with a spritz of the Organic Set + Protect Micro Mist S.P.F. 30, to set your makeup and to calm and hydrate your skin. ($39 and $36)

  2. Revision: Intellishade is a three-in-one formula that conceals, corrects, and protects (with S.P.F. 45, no less) for a full day of wear. This tinted moisturizer will not only blend with and even out your skin tone but will moisturize and work to combat signs of aging. And, with every purchase of the original or its matte counterpart, the brand will plant a tree to help protect the national forests. Doesn’t get much better than that! ($56)

  3. Shiseido: A little bit goes a long way with the Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Foundation Broad Spectrum S.P.F. 20. Smooth over entire face each morning, and watch as your skin becomes increasingly brighter throughout the day. The Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Foundation Broad Spectrum S.P.F. 20 comes in 13 different shades and will leave your skin with a natural-looking, sun-kissed glow. ($60 and $45)

  4. Amarte: After applying all your lotions and potions in the morning, use the Natural Finish BB Cream S.P.F. 36 as the final skin-care step to prep, protect, and polish your face. Or, if you are going au naturel for the day, apply Ultra Veil S.P.F. 50+ to your face and neck for the ultimate water-resistant sun protection. ($65 an $56)

  5. Clé de Peau Beauté: All bases are covered, from face to lips, with the UV Protective Cream Tinted S.P.F. 50+ and UV Protective Lip Treatment Broad Spectrum S.P.F. 30. The tinted cream will leave your face looking Photoshop-flawless in your shade of choice, and the moisturizing lip treatment will plump and protect for hours on end. ($85 and $65)

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Winter Sun Facts + Tips

While we all may remember to wear sun protection during the summer and in warm climates, many of us overlook doing so in the winter months. Winter sun can be just as damaging if not more damaging as summer sun.

FACT:  The higher the altitude, the more intense the sun’s rays. UV radiation exposure increases 4-5% with every 1,000 feet above sea level. At an altitude of 9,000 to 10,000 feet, you’re exposed to 35-45% more ultraviolet radiation than at sea level.

TIP: Use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF30 or higher and apply 30 minutes before hitting the slopes. Apply at least a teaspoon of sunscreen to the face liberally and evenly to all exposed skin.  We recommend...

FACT: Snow reflects up to 80-90% of the UV light from the sun, meaning that you are often hit by the same rays twice, increasing the risk for skin damage. Grass in comparison reflects only about 3% of sunlight.

TIP: Carry a travel-sized sunscreen and lip balm with you on the slopes and reapply on the chairlift and reapply every two hours, and immediately after heavy sweating/towel drying.

FACT: More than 90% of all skin cancers are associated with sun exposure. 1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Additionally, over 80% of premature aging is caused by the sun.

TIP: Use a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher - lips are very sensitive.

FACT: Even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds.  Both snow and strong wind can wear away sunscreen and reduce its effectiveness. Using the recommended amount and reapplication is vital.

TIP: Wear ski masks as well as sunglasses or goggles that protect the eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around the eyes -  common sites for skin cancers and sun-induced aging.
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