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Healthful Sun Exposure

Summer is officially here and the weather in the UK has been absolutely glorious!

As a natural skincare brand I'm sure you're expecting me to give you the lowdown on the best non toxic sunscreens available in the UK. I would honestly love to do that, but I'm not.

Whilst most sunscreens are loaded with questionable ingredients, I'm yet to come up with a really great list of clean sunscreens that work for every skin tone (zinc oxide is notoriously white and ashy - even on my skin tone) and so, whilst I continue to work on that content, let's talk about healthy sun exposure instead.

Now, every dermatologist in the country is going to tell you that sunscreen is the number one way to slow down visible skin ageing, and they're right. UVA rays penetrate the skin, causing damage to collagen in the dermis that leads to the early formation of wrinkles, and it also causes pigmentation on the surface of the skin. And yet, sun exposure is vital for disease prevention and optimal health.

Our bodies are designed for sun exposure. Study after study is showing that sun exposure, both to UVA and UVB rays is beneficial to our overall health. Sun exposure stimulates vitamin D production, and a growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of multiple cancers - including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancer (yes, really), autoimmune diseases like Type 1 Diabetes, and in preventing osteoporosis. Sunlight lowers your risk of heart disease, is necessary for healthy vision, and boosts your serotonin level - a neurotransmitter thought to play an important role in depression (winter blues is actually a real thing).

So, what's a girl to do? The answer is simple really. Go for healthy sun exposure and cover your more delicate facial skin with a hat and sunglasses to balance the need for sunshine with the benefits of keeping collagen in tact for longer. Daily sun exposure is so important for our health, so make sure you get outside in the sunshine daily if you can, and expose your limbs to the sun.

"Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from late March or early April to the end of September, especially from 11am to 3pm."

NHS UK website

What is crucial though, is that you do not get sunburn, no matter what your skin tone. And yes, darker skin can indeed burn. If your skin starts to turn the subtlest shade of pink, it's time to move into the shade, cover up and put on a hat. Once skin starts to become pink, your body will start to shut down your vitamin D production, thereby negating the benefits, and you start to risk the skin damage we mentioned earlier.

Now, speaking of hats and whilst we wait for that clean sunscreen edit - we've teamed up with Stylist, Personal Shopper and Founder of Stylists and Shoppers, Carlene Noel - to bring you her top pick of the most practical and stylish hats on the high street. Carlene teaches her clients that they can feel comfortable in their clothes without compromising their style. Today she is lending her expertise to help us look great this summer whilst we're out enjoying a healthful dose of daily sunshine, without compromising our skin.

"Whether you prefer a big floppy hat to protect your face and neck or an on-trend visor allowing your hair to breathe, I've selected something for everyone, even keeping your littles in mind".

Carlene's pick of the top hats available this season:

1/ The White Company @ Selfridges 4/ Hush @ John Lewis

Christy’s Panama hat - £89.00 Woven raffia visor - £35

2/ Kley @ Debenhams 5/ Cos

Floppy hat - £35.00 Broderie Anglais Hat - £39

3/ And Other Stories

Structured straw bucket hat - £23

And for the kids:

1/ Matalan 3/ Next

Boy’s cap - £5.00 Boys 2 pack fisherman’s hats - £11

2/ Monsoon 4/ H&M

Girls floppy hat - was £12 now £6 Girls hat - £7.99

Find Carlene on instagram @carlenenoelstylist and @stylistsandshoppers, at or email

Do you get your daily sunshine? Tried and tested a great clean sunscreen? Share below!

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