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Sun: Benefits, Risks and Keeping Your Skin Healthy

By Cheryl Bernardi, Manager at the Spa at Shangri-La Springs

Sun: Benefits, Risks and Keeping Your Skin HealthySun: Benefits, Risks and Keeping Your Skin HealthySummer, as blissful and carefree as it is, also means sun exposure and potential skin damage. We have been told for 40+ years that sun exposure is bad, will cause skin cancer and damage to your skin. However what was not mentioned was that a limited amount of sun exposure has significant benefits, like vitamin D production.

There are many studies that suggest limited sun exposure plays a role in decreasing risks of at least 16 different types of cancer including lung, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers, as little as ten minutes a day. Ironically, recent research shows that vitamin D also improves survival outcomes for melanoma patients.

Vitamin D3 is an oil soluble steroid hormone that forms when your skin is exposed to UVB radiation from the sun. When UVB strikes the surface of your skin, your skin converts a cholesterol derivative into vitamin D3. Limited sun exposure on bare skin also produces nitric oxide and carbon monoxide that cause vascular relaxation, improves wound healing, and helps fight infections among other biologic processes. The carbon monoxide your hemoglobin molecules release in response to UV radiation also acts as a neurotransmitter and has beneficial effects on your nervous system. Like nitric oxide, it causes relaxation and has anti-inflammatory activity.

It goes without saying that sunburns are bad- always. However there are ways to lessen their possibility. Increasing your skins tolerance to the sun slowly over time and boosting your “internal sunscreen” by eating antioxidant rich foods and healthy fats will help negate the effects of exposure. These foods, such as fruits like blueberries, raspberries, kiwi and green tea, cucumber and olive oil strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage. Kiwi offers vitamins C & E helping skin guard against sun exposure. Tea has been shown to reduce sun damage by destroying free radicals and reducing inflammation. Where collagen has broken down, green tea’s enzymatic action can result in firmer looking skin.

Our skincare routine also has an effect on our health. The skin around our eyes and our face is much thinner than other areas on our body and is a relatively small surface area so will contribute little to vitamin D production. It is strongly recommended to protect this very fragile area of your body as is at a much higher risk for cosmetic photo damage. This includes premature wrinkling, reduced elasticity, reduction in moisture retention and age spots.

When selecting a daily moisturizer, avoid those with sunscreen in them and do not use any moisturizer with sunscreen as your evening moisturizer as the chemicals from the sunscreen are doing more damage than the moisturizer is benefitting. To select a sunscreen, review the EWG’s guide so you avoid the most toxic editions. Look for a moisturizer like Moxie Creed that includes antioxidant rich ingredients to protect you from future sun damage and heal and restore from prior damage.  Moxie Creed moisturizer includes the protective kiwi, green tea, cucumber and olive oil listed above. Available locally, exclusively at the Spa at Shangri-La Springs.

The Spa at Shangri-La Springs, a full-service spa with seasoned therapists and estheticians, also offers extensive and significant opportunities to heal, correct and renew skin that has already suffered from the damaging UVA rays. The legendary property, built in 1921, has been successfully addressing the health and wellness of it’s clientele on and off for nearly 100 years. From among several options that focus on skin damage, esthetician Giovanna Silva recommends their exclusive Premium Peptide Illuminating Facial. It treats sun-exposed skin, addressing fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation while the products used protect against free radical damage and reduce inflammation.

The rest of your body is experiencing sun damage too, especially if you live in a warmer climate where shorts and sundresses are more common. Typically our arms, tops of our feet and shoulders are exposed and the sunbathers among us are experiencing nearly full-body damage.  To keep the effects of exposure in check for the body, Shangri-La Springs esthetician Giovanna Silva recommends the Royal Shangri-La Rejuvenation Ritual. This includes a fruit and sugar body scrub to remove the ruddy layer of dead skin, an application of a nourishing and protective organic moisturizer, a custom Shangri-La facial rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and collagen building.  This is followed by an eye treatment to restore elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles with citrus and berry antioxidants and then a revitalizing scalp or foot massage.

Anyone over 25 who is starting to see noticeable changes will experience cumulative benefits of monthly facials, as it supports the skins own healing cycle of cell rejuvenation. “The sooner you start, the longer it will last. It’s prevention and maintenance combined for your overall health” says lead esthetician Giovanna.  Summer hours for the Spa are Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm.
Shangrila Springs


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