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Holistic Summer Skincare Tips

By Hopi Wilder, OMD

As we roll into the heart of the summer, let’s brainstorm on some ways to play outside and stay healthy! It can be difficult to know what to believe about sun exposure. One the one hand, we know that too much time in the sun’s ultraviolet rays is dangerous, yet our bodies also need the sun to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D assists in immune function and anti-cancer properties.

A trucker’s hat or sunhat and a long-sleeved SPF shirt are an excellent choice if you are going to be spending hours outside in the heat of the day. Native Peoples often work or spend time outside in the early morning or late afternoons. This is smart thinking that works with the cycles of Nature. (We could learn a lot about how to tread lightly on the planet if we listened more to traditional societies).

If you’re going to be hanging out by a lake Tahoe or dunking in the Truckee River, instead of reaching for your usual sunscreen, try checking out the Environmental Working Group’s annual sunscreen report. ( According to research done by EWG, sunscreens contain chemicals that stay in the body altering hormone regulation, causing birth defects and cancer.

Homosalate, oxybenzone and avobenzone are three of the worst endocrine disruptors which not only deregulate your thyroid and adrenals, making you fat and tired, but also block male testosterone production. These chemicals get into the ocean and cause male fish to become what’s called intersex, where they no longer mate. Many places including Europe, Hawaii and Palau have cracked down and banned sunscreens with these chemical ingredients. (See Dr. Elisabeth Plourde’s book Sunscreens)

In 2020 the FDA decried oxybenzone as an endocrine disruptor and also increases the risk of breast cancer and endometriosis. The following year there was a recall of sunscreens containing benzenes because they were found to be carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors and caused allergic reactions. We must protect children and not allow these hormone disruptors to continue to be used!

In general titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles are thought to be safer, especially for children. Yet studies have shown that they are cancer causing when sprayed on and inhaled. They are said to alter DNA in humans, not to mention killing coral and plankton from the fourteen thousand tons of sunscreen that are released into the ocean annually. (

So, what is a sun-lover to do? The best solution is to return to a traditional diet high in antioxidants. These are foods are high in Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta carotene. They wonderfully combat the process of oxidation which occurs when UV rays hit our skin and causes us to age. They are in brightly colored berries, fruits and veggies in all hues of purple, red and deep green. And don’t forget garlic!

A study published in Experimental Dermatology in 1995 showed that foods high in beta carotene such as oranges, carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin and red peppers, significantly blocked photodamage from the sun. These foods are also important in forming Vitamin A, which works alongside Vitamin D to keep our immune system healthy.

Another good strategy is to tan slowly and build up the melanin or pigment in your skin. This is actually how we were originally designed to protect ourselves from the sun. It is a myth that melanoma has decreased with the use of sunscreen. It has risen steadily in fact. This is partly because UV rays make up 4% of the spectrum. If you use sunscreen and block these rays, the infra-red rays which make up 47% of the spectrum and penetrate much deeper into your body are sustained for longer periods of time. You don’t have a warning feedback loop. What happens is the more sunscreen you apply, the less your skin turns red, warning you to get out of the sun and you burn more internally. (, Dangers of Sunscreen, 2022)

Lastly, I will mention the importance of a good moisturizer. I love using Dr. Christopher’s Facial Beauty Cream and Weleda’s Skin Food several times daily. For a deep drench when your face is chapped, try applying a healthy saturated fat such as Shea butter, coconut oil or organic, grass-fed tallow.

Choosing a healthy moisturizer is like feeding your face good food. Timing your outdoor activities and protecting your skin with the appropriate apparel are good habits to form. Avoiding toxic chemical sunscreens is also recommended. If you don’t put toxic chemical on your skin, you won’t have to detox them later out of your body. Lastly, try experimenting with different all natural moisturizers or try making your own. Find a natural sunscreen that suits your skin and lifestyle. And have fun in the sun!

Homemade Recipe for sunscreen:

(Apply 30 minutes before going in the sun)

¼ cup olive oil (SPF 8)

½ cup coconut oil (SPF8)

2 TBL shea butter (optional)

3 ox beeswax (optional)

1 tsp carrot seed oil (SPF 38-40)

1 tsp red raspberry seed oil (SPF 28-50)

2 tsp peppermint essential oil (SPF 7)

1 tsp lavender essential oil (SPF 6)

(Becky Plotner, Weston Price Quarterly, May 7, 2023)

Healthy Jello for Hot Summer Days

By Hopi Wilder, OMD

Gelatin, found in jello, is a traditional food that has been eaten around the world for millenia. Gelatin is made when you cook collagen protein. This amazing protein benefits your eyes, skin, hair, gut, heart, brain, tendons, ligaments and bones. BIHCI offers collagen IVs to beautify your skin quickly, but eating collagen regularly can also be a delicious way to nourish yourself.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, providing strength and flexibility. Your fascia, or connective tissue, is primarily made of collagen. Fascia is like saran wrap around your muscles, tendons and bones holding your body together.

If you’re interested in weight-loss, collagen can help. It stimulates the production of a gut hormone called ghrelin, which causes you to feel satiated and stop eating when you’re full.

Studies have also shown collagen assists with healing diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, leaky gut syndrome and to decrease inflammation.

If you want to boost collagen production, take some Vitamin C. You can also infuse your body with collagen by popping a scoop of collagen powder into a smoothie or drinking bone broth. My favorite way of getting a high dose of collagen is by eating healthy jello. Look for grass-fed, gelatin, such as the brand Z!NT.

Here is a delicious recipe I made by combining several recipes:

Healthy Jello:

3 cups apple juice (unsweetened)

1 cup water

4 tbl. Grass-fed gelatin powder

1 cups frozen berries

1 chopped grapefruit


Heat the apple juice in a saucepan until just breaks a boil

Mix the gelatin in the cup of water with a whisk and then add to the hot juice.

Mix it up and pour into a Pyrex pan (9x11 or anything really)

Let is set in the fridge for four hours before serving. Yum!

Here is another recipe for Raspberry Gelatin:


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