When skin is exposed to the sun, it produces melanin, which shows up as a suntan. Melanin acts to protect the skin from too much sun and pollution.
When you get a sunburn or stay in the sun too long during your first exposure, melanin will form quickly, but it will also peel, leaving you unprotected. Repeated sunburns and overexposure to the sun increase the risk of skin cancer, especially for those with fair coloring.
The sun is necessary for health, but take care when you are outside. Unfortunately, the destruction of the ozone layer forces us to sun less or pay the consequences. In addition to being linked to skin cancer, overexposure to the sun breaks down collagen, the protein substance in the skin that gives it elasticity. The results are wrinkles, lines, and leathery-looking skin.
Here are recipes for sunscreen and sunblock:
1 cup water
3 tea bags (black tea)
½ teaspoon PABA powder
2 tablespoons beeswax
1 cup sesame oil
10 drops vitamin E oil
Yield: 2 cups
1. Make a very strong cup of black tea with the tea bags and water. Cool to room temperature; remove the tea bags, pressing out all the water.
2. Dissolve the PABA powder into the tea.
3. In a double boiler, melt the beeswax in the sesame oil on low heat.
4. Once the beeswax is melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
5. Place the tea mixture in a blender on high speed. Slowly drizzle the oil mixture into it and mix for 5 minutes.
6. Add the vitamin E oil while still blending.
7. Pour into a cleancontainer, preferably one with a spout.
To use, apply generously to your skin and face. Reapply every 2 hours when the sun is hot and high, or if you have been swimming.
1 cup zinc oxide paste
½ cup sesame oil
½ cup orange blossom water, at room temperature
½ cup distilled water, at room temperature
Yield: 2 cups
1. Spoon the zinc oxide paste and pour the sesame oil into the top of a double boiler.
2. Stir as best you can.
3. Fill the bottom of the double boiler ¼ full of water and bring to a gentle boil.
4. Place the top of the pan containing the paste and oil over the bottom and gently heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Add the orange blossom water and distilled water, mixing thoroughly.
6. Store in a widemouthed jar with lid; decorate with stickers, if desired.
1. Dab on the skin. Do not rub in. The more opaque the product is on you, the more effective the sunblock.
Adapted from The Herbal Home Spa, by Greta Breedlove. Copyright (c) 1998 by Greta Breedlove. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from The Herbal Home Spa, by Greta Breedlove.