Ahhhh, summertime. The best part of the year in my opinion. The time of the year when no one has to worry about dry skin, applying bronzer or tending to their severely chapped lips. There is sunshine everyday and the beach is more often than not a two minute walk from home. The water is finally warming up and it's about time we get some color on our pale skin! Which brings me to one frustrating aspect of all of this summertime beauty;  To apply oily sunblock or suffer the consequences of severely burnt skin. Which brand of sunblock do we buy? Trying to find the perfect lotion that won't smear everywhere, applies well and doesn't stain our cute beach cover-ups can be tricky. And is this “sun protectant” even beneficial for us? What's that fuss about sunblock being dangerous? What if I told you that there’s a way out of the confusing mess? No sunblock, AND no sunburn. Too good to be true? No way! For me, with the proper
combination of natural oils, a healthy diet, and smart post/pre/and during sun exposure tips, you wont have to stress in the sun! You’re golden! (Literally!)

Tip #1- Diet
The most important diet that i can recommend to help protect and improve your skin is to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The logic behind this this tip is simple. Fruits and veggies have the nutrients to fight off the free radicals from ultra violet radiation. There's one main antioxidant group that has been linked to the defense against UV radiation: Polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and green tea. Studies suggest that long-term consumption of these plant polyphenols can boost our over-all longevity, as well as offer us protection against the development of diseases, including cancers such as melanoma. More specifically, what these nutrients do is combat the harmful free radicals from the sun, all the while allowing your body to absorb many of the benefits from the sun. You need sun in order to produce vitamin d3. The body needs vitamin d3 to carry out many daily functions, so it
is extremely important that we get enough. Unfortunately dairy products are fortified with the wrong vitamin d. This vitamin is d2. This means that when we consume dairy products high in fortified d2, we are not actually supplying the body with the vitamin D that it needs. I recommend to spend at least ten minutes in the sun daily, without sunblock or sunglasses!

Tip #2 - Coconut oil
My next tip to protect and care for your skin during the summer months is to apply raw and unpasteurized coconut oil. This oil has thousands of benefits including its UV-absorbing mechanism. Coconut oil only absorbs about one quarter of the UV Rays you will receive from the sun, but this seems to be the perfect amount for many of us. For years, the Pacific Islanders only used coconut oil for their sunscreen, and many still do to this day! There are many sunscreens on the market that have been scientifically proven to be more cancer causing than the UV rays themselves. Products that include para-aminobenzoic (PABA), benzophenones, cinnamates, oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate and many many more have shown to cause hormone disruptions, skin disease and an increase in the development of skin lesions and tumors. Think about it, your skin is always absorbing whatever you put on it. When you put on chemicals and toxins, the body has no idea what to do with them!
It's the same for ingesting. If you can't eat it, why are you going to put it on your skin? Either way, these harmful chemicals and toxins are entering your body.

Tip #3 - Be Smart
My third tip to protecting your sun this summer may be a little obvious, but even I forget this important rule at times. Listening to your bodily intuition when it comes to sun taking and being outdoors is so vital. If you feel you have had enough sun for the day it is your responsibility to seek shade. I know there are only so many days off of work you'll have to sit in the sun, but a severe burn will not get you far. Trust me. The damage you will do to your skin is irreversible! And all you will wind up doing is suffering while your skin peels, bubbles and looks beet red. Take your time in the sun. Ease into it with a base coat. The more time you spend in the sun the more your individual body will be able to handle it! And you will get that beautiful glow you want!

Tip #4 Natural Vegan Sunscreen
Okay okay, even when we have the tips on how to be smart and have healthy sun exposure without sunscreen, there's still something that is so comforting about applying protection. Am I right?! If it gives you more peace of mind to use sunscreen, please use it. Above all I aspire to always encourage you to follow your instincts! Now, my advice here would be to stay smart when it comes to picking what brand. Use the brands without all of those crazy chemicals I mentioned earlier. Find a brand that is completely vegan without tons of additives. A brand that uses ingredients you can actually resonate with! One brand I have used in the past, and highly recommend is http://www.sapphirebeachco.com/. Their products are 100% vegan, and their sunscreens do not irritate the skin, or organs, and that offer protection against an overdose of harmful UVs.

Tip #5 - Kukui Oil
Have you ever heard of it?! I hadn't until moving to Hawaii and becoming familiar with the brand www.hawaiianbathbody.com. But after testing out this product, and taking a full tour of the North Shore Soap Factory located here on Oahu, I was sold. I make sure to work with brands that produce the highest quality of natural products, especially, when it comes to my skin. Our skin is our first line of defense, as well as our largest organ. We have to treat it as such by staying away from chemically made artificial lotions and soaps we've become all too accustomed to. This brand, locally manufactured on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is my go-to after sun care (and basic skin care) because of their use of locally sourced kukui and macademia nut tree oils. These oils naturally assist in helping sooth sunburnt skin, while at the same time, moisturizing and even helping to protect my skin from all of natures tough elements. I have never had skin so smooth!! Their exfoliants and shower soaps help to remove dead cells from the surface of my skin, but never leave my skin feeling dry. They also have products that assist in helping eczema psoriasis, dry skin, and more! I use kukui oil on my hair as well after a long beach day. It leaves it feeling as though I just got a hair cut! The added moisture is incredible. (And you can even use my discount code of lacey10 at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase!)

Tip #6 - Fresh Aloe (from the plant) 
Last, but not least, is to touch base on the god of all healing plants, aloe vera. The gel like substance found within this plant’s leaves can treat many types of serious burns, including a painful sunburn. The aloe plant has been proven to heal and regenerate cells faster than any over-the-counter products found in today’s pharmaceutical isle. These plants will grow most anywhere indoors and in warm climates outdoors. All you have to do is break off and squeeze the leaves of this plant until its gel is released. Be extremely generous with application of the gel! The aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties will be sure to smooth and sooth damaged, sunburnt skin!

Happy summer and happy sun tanning!