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Journal

Summer summertime....sun protection

Ambi Sitham

 Sun protection - because I can't spend the entire summer napping on a tree in the shade, as tempting as that sounds!

Sun protection - because I can't spend the entire summer napping on a tree in the shade, as tempting as that sounds!

Hello lovely ones and happy Summer Solstice to those of you who like me reside in the Northern Hemisphere!

If you want to know more about my Summer Soulstice ritual and enjoy a Soulstrology Solstice Soundbath then please check out the Soulstrology Membership.

Onwards to summertime sun protection....

I live in LA where it is pretty warm all year around and I have learnt some tough lessons about sun protection in the almost six (gulp - time flies!) years I have been living here.

My first lesson was when I first came out here for a three month summer sabbatical in 2011.

Before I left London my facialist conducted this skin analysis test which was said to measure the degree of bacteria (yuck) fine lines, pigmentation issues (very familiar with that!) and sun damage. 

I had minimal sun damage at the time, literally barely anything, which was unsurprising when you think that I am a) dark skinned meaning I have more melanin in my skin and b) I lived in England which isn't known for it's glorious sunshine (although London in the sunshine is just the most wonderful place to be).

So off I trotted for my sabbatical and naturally as I was delighted to be in warmer climates I spent a lot of time outdoors - hiking, by the beach - just walking out and about (making me a weirdo in LA where barely anyone walks!).

I tried to use sunscreen most of the time but given my dark melanin heavy skin I didn't worry too much and barely used more than a factor 15.

Over the summer I noticed that I had developed these weird pigmentation patches all over my body in the parts which had been exposed to sunlight and it was pretty bad on my face (which has always had blotchy pigmented skin).

When I returned to London after my sizzling sabbatical I headed back to my facialist for a much needed session and she conducted the same skin analysis (with this strange machine you shove your head in!) and found that my sun damage had increased by 30% and my pigmentation had significantly worsened (she didn't do the analysis on my entire body so was focused solely on my face).

We were both pretty horrified.

Obviously I had been aware of visible changes but to get the formal confirmation freaked me out especially as I knew at this point that I wanted to move to LA permanently (that's a whole other blog (s) or should be a book!)

Anyway, roll on a year and many trips back and forth the pond resulting in me finally officially moving to the City of Angels in August 2012 and I have been living here since.

During this time I have had other experiences with my pigmentation (and a few dodgy moles) which have taught me the importance of proper sun protection.

Wherever you are in the world, whatever season it is, I wanted to share my favorite sun protection products, which not only work but are all also as non toxic as I have currently found and are found on Amazon and so you can order them from the comfort of your home and get them delivered right to your doorstep!

And as a heads up, yes, I am an Amazon affiliate - but these are all products I have purchased myself and continue to purchase for myself and my family - I just love them, will continue to buy them and wanted to share them with you all!

Here is my favorite sunscreen for the body - I use this when I know I am going to be out in the sun for a long time and exposing my entire body which tends to be on holiday and rarely when I am at home.

It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which is impressive, especially when on holiday and you are dipping in and out of the pool and ocean where ironically a lot of people experience the most sunburn (you can't feel the sun as much when in water but the sun can still get to you!)

It is oil free but I do find it a teeny bit greasy when you first apply it and you almost want to leave it on for a few minutes to soak in before putting your clothes on. However the slight greasy effect fades and then you just feel super moisturized which I love (who wants crocodile skin?! not me!) and in terms of sun protection it works really well on both me and my fair skinned, red headed hubbie.

The same brand has the most awesome sunscreen for the face which I try and use everyday after moisturizing and under my make up. It is factor 50 (just like the version for the body) and seems to last for hours without needing to be reapplied (unless you've sweated a ton or have dived into the pool or something and even then you get that 80 minute reprieve of protection).

Now for general day to day moisturizing I LOVE this body lotion with SPF which I use year around in LA. It is paraben, phthalates free and is free from synthetic fragrances (which mess with me).

It also has alpha hydroxy acids which help with exfoliate my skin (I get those weird bumps on my skin officially known as keratosis pilaris so regular exfoliating is a must for me and using this everyday has certainly helped).

It smells sooo good and is super moisturizing but also has a built in SPF 15 protection.

Some people find it a little greasy (friends when I have lent it to them) but I adore it, the more moisture the better for me - I mean I don't want to be an oil slick but I love being properly moisturized!

If I am not exposing my entire body to the elements and am largely covered up and just running errands this body lotion works perfectly.

I also discovered this handcream with SPF which I find anti ageing (it's the sea buckthorn) and super moisturizing plus it has an SPF of 40 which is a pretty good rating.

I am such a big fan of this hand cream as it protects my hands from further UV damage whilst also helping reduce some of the damage (dark spots, fine lines) which I have as a result of not covering up.

This bottle lasts forever and I keep it at home and  use it but bought the mini travel version to carry in my bag (I wash my hands a gazillion times a day - oh the joys of being an OCD Virgo rising - and always want to moisturize afterwards!)

Finally, I noticed that normal lip balm wasn't sufficing to protect my lips and they were getting chapped and with some lip burn/dark patches - eek.

As I love the Supergoop brand I bought their acai lip balm which not only glides on beautifully, tastes good and has SPF 30 protection but also the acai is really moisturizing plus helps fight free radicals and repair oxidation damage. It's a winner and a little goes a long way!

All of the above products have worked so well for me and whilst I am not saying that they don't have any chemicals (or nasties) in them, they do seem to be both relatively toxin free and  importantly are effective - they actually do the job of protecting your skin!

Soaking up the summer sunshine is wonderful but I still think we should protect ourselves from unnecessary sun damage and even worse...(still waiting to hear about one dodgy mole...eek).

If you decide to try out some of the products, drop me a note in the comments below and let me know how you find them!

Also, please shout if you have other fave products that you recommend because I am a product junkie (shhh don't tell my husband - actually who am I kidding - he sees all the Amazon boxes!!) and I love trying something new :)

Happy Summer Solstice, enjoy the sunshine...with a little protection :)

Love,

Ambi x