Building a Healthy Relationship with the Sun


The benefits of exposing ourselves to the sun’s rays are numerous and multifaceted for our physical, mental and emotional health. And we’re still uncovering more reasons to get outside and bathe our bodies in the light. It’s also true that too much sunshine without the right inputs or preventive measures can damage our outermost layer and trigger early signs of aging. At CAP, we have always promoted a nuanced approach to health, and our attitude towards the sun is no different. In this blog, we share the practices that keep us in harmony with the sun, so that we can reap all the benefits of soaking up her rays, with little to no downside. Cultivate a relationship to living light that breeds radiant health and glowing skin. Not to fear, the sun is on our side. 



Watching the sunrise has been a spiritual practice rooted in many cultures throughout our human history. It is this exposure to early morning light that signals the hypothalamus in our brain to wake up and also stimulates our pineal gland to produce serotonin, the happiness hormone that naturally elevates our mood.





Since all plants survive and thrive in the sun, they have each developed a unique set of mechanisms for protection. We recommend products that rely on potent plant extracts to lend our skin their learned wisdom. 


A product we developed specifically to maximize the benefits of sun exposure is the serotoner, a hydrating mist that contains a precursor to the “feel-good” hormone, serotonin, maximizing the serotonin we naturally receive from the sun. The serotoner also relies on desert botanicals, which have learned to survive in the hottest and sunniest conditions, offering our skin their adaptive abilities. We think it's the perfect product to use pre-sun to protect and fortify our skin and post-sun to soothe and calm.


If you’re going to be spending the day outdoors, we also recommend a vitamin C serum, as topical vitamin C has been shown to optimize the efficacy of our SPF. A C serum that we reach for often is Marie Veronique’s C-Therapy Serum or Vitamin C, E + Ferulic Acid Serum.


As a final step in  our AM routine, we  apply a mineral based sunscreen to our face, even on cloudy days, to protect our complexion from both UVA and UVB rays. Our favorite natural, plant-powered SPFs for face are: Plumscreen, Every Tone SPF or Everybody Loves the Sunshine.





Food has an amazing capacity to change our internal landscape, and therefore how our skin reacts to the sun. We like to nourish our body with an abundance of  colorful fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and fiber because these nutrient-dense, pigment-rich foods help protect our skin from within — acting as an internal SPF


For breakfast, we like to lean into fruits high in antioxidants (especially lycopene), minerals and vitamins to support our capacity to better receive the sun’s rays. Lycopene, an antioxidant that gives fruit its red color,  has been shown to absorb both UVA and UVB radiation. And a diet rich in lycopene can offer our bodies a 30% increase in all over sun protection (!). To bump lycopene intake, opt for red fruits like watermelons, tomatoes, strawberries and raspberries. 


To complement our breakfast, we love a cup of matcha, as green tea has sun protection from the inside-out and reduces overall inflammation. Lending our skin an abundance of vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, matcha has been shown to reduce the effects of radiation while also boosting our mood


For lunch and dinner, we let fresh, seasonal vegetables  guide us, incorporating them into big salads, wraps and bowls. In high summer, the abundance of brightly colored produce all contribute to helping our skin take in the extra daylight. Other sun synergizing superfoods to prioritize include turmeric, dark leafy greens and berries.


Beyond a general supplement regimen, you may want to consider pearl powder, the finely ground powder of  pearls used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat skin discoloration, burns and sunspots. Our favorite pearl supplements  are Mother of Pearl which is the pearl in its pure state and The CAPsule, a daily ingestible for radiant skin that marries  pearl powder with matcha and other healing herbs created in collaboration with our friends at Mount Sunny.   


When our body is well taken care of and fueled with organic, high quality plant foods, everything works better, including our skin’s relationship to the sun. 





The majority of our  human history was spent outside, and during that time, our skin developed adaptations to produce beneficial nutrients from the sun. Optimal vitamin D synthesis takes place from morning until noon. Let some sun shine on your arms and legs during a walk, yoga, or a hike when the sun’s rays are gentle enough not to burn our skin, but potent enough for optimal synthesizing. 





If you’re likely to be outside for longer periods of time, you may want to apply a natural mineral-based sunscreen, rich in plant oils, to prevent sunburn. Since sunscreens prevent our skin from receiving any benefits from the sun’s rays, we should be sure to wear them if our bodies have already reached maximum exposure for the day.


To raise natural stores of vitamin D, go SPF free for 10-15 minutes, sitting outside in direct sunlight. Depending on your skin tone and how close you live to the equator, this time may vary. If you start to get too hot or sense you might be getting red — seek shade.


It is important to note that mineral sunscreens should be used instead of chemical sunscreens because natural SPFs reflect both UVA and UVB rays, while chemical sunscreens only immobilize UVB rays. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UVB rays and turning them into heat while allowing UVA rays to penetrate our skin. Exposure to UVA rays without the protective features of UVB rays have been linked to wrinkles and skin cancer. In short, chemical sunscreens disable our skin’s natural warning systems — the onset of a sunburn — and make us more susceptible to long term skin damage, unknowingly overexposing our skin to UV radiation. Mineral sunscreens on the other hand block both UVA and UVB  rays, protecting our skin from the sun when our skin has had enough. 


The best natural sunscreen, besides zinc-based sunscreen and the food we eat, is our skin’s natural melanin production. This means  having a tan actually protects our skin from sun damage. It makes sense that when our body spends more time in the sun, it responds with a natural protection mechanism. An elegant solution. 


In order to gradually build up a tan, start exposing your skin to the sun during spring, so that when summer rolls around you have a good base of natural protection.


Nearly 75 percent of adults and teenagers are vitamin D deficient, which is why it is important that we NOT fear the sun and always cover up. Lack of vitamin D can exacerbate a variety of health issues, while getting enough D greatly improves our overall health. 


On a more emotional and mental level, sun exposure triggers the release of the joy-promoting, mood-boosting hormone serotonin, flooding our body with an overall sense of  calm— essential for balancing and uplifting our mood.





Ensuring adequate amounts of vitamin D means striking the perfect balance with our food intake, supplements and sun exposure. Humans can obtain vitamin D in three ways: absorbing it from the sun, consuming it via food sources and supplementation. 


The form of vitamin D we make when exposed to sunlight is D3, or cholecalciferol, which is also found in animal-based foods like: fatty fish, liver, and egg yolks. D2, Ergocalciferol is found in supplements, fortified foods, mushrooms and a few other plants. Whether you eat animal products or not, you may want to consider supplementing during winter months or if you live far from the equator. When looking for a vitamin D supplement, opt for one that contains D3 (the more bioavailable form) in tandem with K2 to ensure calcium is absorbed where it's needed.





Gaze at the sunset to let your internal clock know that it is time to slow down, unwind and get ready for sleep. This ancient tradition will likely make you feel calmer and more connected, and the practice is easy and rewarding.





Use products that help your skin heal, hydrate and regenerate with the power of plants. You may want to utilize a retinol to reduce redness, hyperpigmentation, discoloration or early signs of aging. Finish your evening routine with a favorite oil mixed with serotoner to lock in moisture and fortify your skin from the outside-in. And don’t forget to thank your skin for all it does for you. It's your front line of defense, fortify it. 



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