Healthy Tan? Organic and Ethical Sun Care explored.

Is there such a thing as a healthy tan?  When my husband returned to work recently after a few days away climbing Ben Nevis, he was greeted with a wave of compliments – “You look so well”, “That tan really suits you”, “What a healthy glow you have”. He couldn’t help but marvel that exposing his skin to the sun without protection thus increasing his chances of suffering from skin cancer actually gave the impression to others that he looked more healthy.

We just can’t help it, can we? We know all the statistics; we hear all the horror stories. And yet we worship the sun; we crave a tan. There is a tanning salon in every row of shops; gyms that promote health and fitness also boast a couple of sunbeds.

The first hint of the sun appearing from behind the clouds, we are out, baring all and soaking up the rays. We slap the sun cream on the kids and trust the chemical concoction to shield our little treasures from all harm. And do we care what the cream contains; if it has been tested on animals; what effect it has when it is washed away into the rivers and oceans? Probably less about those issues than how long the cream guarantees it is safe to stay out in the midday sun, if we’re honest.

Of course, we could resist the pressure from society to bare as much flesh as possible from May to September regardless of the temperature and state of the weather. We could dress for protection and not as a fashion statement. People who live in the Mediterranean climate do tend to cover up more than us Brits. They stay indoors in the heat of the day. After all, it is only “mad dogs and Englishmen” who “go out in the midday sun.”. Maybe we should look more to challenging and amending our habits than finding ways of accommodating and preserving them. Maybe we should respect the sun and its effects rather than worshipping it full-on. Or maybe we really are running the risk of heading towards the kind of society predicted by Ben Elton in “Blind Faith” where climate change has increased the temperature all year round and everyone regardless of their size and shape has the right to wear the skimpiest of outfits on all occasions – “So much flesh. So much sweating near-naked flesh. Huge women in the tiniest of crop tops and panties, combinations that were basically little more than bikinis…Men in short shorts and trainers, in vests, or bare to the waist. It was often the largest bellies that were the most exposed, thrust forward like great battering rams, proud bellies, bellies of size, topped off with pendulous, quivering, hairy man breasts.” (p23)
Sound familiar? Reminiscent of the beach on a Bank Holiday Monday?

Maybe covering up and staying indoors does not feel like an attractive option. You can’t face even entertaining the notion. The good news for sun worshippers is that a huge choice of ethical sun protection is available.

Green People offer a range of natural and organic skin care products, including a variety of sun care products. These contain a veritable cornucopia of natural ingredients – aloe vera, edelweiss, purple cone flower, green tea and beeswax, providing natural protection from UVA and UVB radiation…. with avocado, olive and carrot seed oils rich in antioxidants to protect against cell damage. Green People sun tan lotions are guaranteed to be free from alcohol, artificial perfumes, petrochemicals, parabens and all other unnecessary synthetic ingredients – so the only potentially unsafe factor in the equation is the sun itself. Their range also includes sun lotion for children, sun lotion with tan accelerant and self tan lotion – all organic, all with the same natural credentials.

You could also check out Lavera’s sun care range. I plan to.

Living in the North East of England and with a holiday planned in the Lake District, sun care is not high on my list of priorities. I am no expert on protection from the sun. I don’t need to be. But for many of my friends, I know it is a cause for concern.. A friend who has suffered from skin cancer herself is now perturbed to hear the latest reports that too much sun tan lotion can damage the skin’s natural defences and be harmful in the long term. Maybe more natural sun protection offers a safer option. Have any of you tried and tested these products? Sharing your comments about them could really help others in their ethical choices. I look forward to hearing from you.

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