Overcoming Nature: Efficient Sun Block Methods And Natural Burn Remedies

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Since the dawn of modern man, it was understood that in order to assure the survival of our species we need to overcome nature and to use it to our benefit. Amongst of the primary goals set by our primitive ancestors were those of understanding nature and benefiting as much as we can from doing so. But there’s a true saying that states: that which creates can also destroy. And this is absolute fact. Every prepper or survivalist will agree to the fact that aside from being beneficial if “harvested” correctly, nature can also work against us. There are many things that we, as specie can withstand, but nature’s wrath is not one of them. Take alternative power for instance: winds can be harvested as an alternative energy source; so can the sun rays. Solar power is a cheap and very efficient way of powering your home, and not only. Even more so, without sun, no life would be possible. But for human beings at least, overexposure to the sun’s radiations can cause a vast array of health problems and even death, by means of skin cancer.

If you’re thinking that you’re safe as long as you avoid overexposure and apply sun screen, you’d be right. But what will you do when you find yourself in a scenario where neither of these two precautions will be an option? In a survival scenario, especially if you find yourself in a torrid climate, UV protection will be just as vital as food or water. Whether you’ve survived a nuclear war or you’ve found yourself stranded and lost, you won’t have nowhere near enough professional sunscreen on you to last for as long as necessary (if any at all). In this case you’ll need to improvise. And luckily, there are a few ways of solving the problem.

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The Aspen tree (Populus sp.)

The Trembling or Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a pretty common species in Northern and Western US. They have plenty of “siblings” all across the glove too, like the Chinese Aspen (Populus adenopoda), the Korean Aspen (Populus davidiana), the Japanese Aspen (Populus sieboldii) and the Eurasian Aspen (Populus tremula) of Northern Europe and Asia. What makes them excellent as a sun protection method is the high SPF (sun protection factor) of the white powder that engulfs their trunks. The powder’s SPF is about 5, which can be pretty efficient; the powder will help, but it won’t work as a regular sunscreen lotion; even if you use it, avoid overexposure to the sun’s rays as much as possible. Rub your open palms on the tree trunk and the white powder will stick to your hands. Next you can spread whatever stuck to your palms all over your skin, face included (don’t worry, it’s not harmful). You can even save some extra powder in a container for later use. Apply frequently for the best effect, especially if you’re sweating heavily. The sweat will remove the powder from the skin’s surface, so apply over and over again if you have to.


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The mud bath

Many wild animals roll around in mud order to cool down and to apply to their bodies a pretty efficient UV barrier. If elephants and hypos can do it, so could you. Smear yourself with mud, all over the surface of the exposed skin. Even if you have little clothing or none at all, it won’t be a problem as long as you have some mud in your vicinity. Engulf yourself in a generous layer of mud. It will be restrictive to movement at first, but it won’t take long for it to dry and crack. Once it’s cracked, it will fall piece by piece off of you, leaving behind residue. This residue is about as efficient as the mud itself as far as UV protection goes, so don’t be in a hurry to reapply the mud, as long as you’re not sweating profoundly. Dirt is also an option, if you can’t find any mud, but it’s not as efficient.

An anti-UV diet

It’s true that the best way of blocking the sun’s UV rays is on the outside, but a proper and balanced diet will help a lot your tolerance. So if the DIY sunscreen fails, there’s always a last bastion of defense which is comprised of what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Vitamin D is the main vitamin to consider if you’re aiming to fight UV rays. It’s normally found in oranges, egg yolks, tuna, cheese, soy milk, cereal and more. Lycopene is another chemical compound that helps boost tolerance to UV and it’s normally found in tomatoes, carrots, watermelons and papayas. It’s even more efficient when processed, so if you add tomato sauce / paste to your diet will be even better than eating the tomatoes raw.

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How to cure sunburns

If you’ve suffered sunburns, the first thing to do is to get out of the sun as soon as possible. Find shade or shelter and stay there until nighttime. You can find caves or large trees that make shade; if there aren’t any in your area, just take off your clothes and spread them on poles (or something similar). In extreme situations (like desert areas) you can even go as far as burying yourself in the ground. If you water at your disposal, soak a piece of cloth in the water and apply it on the burned area. Repeat the procedure as soon as the soaked cloth stops feeling cool to the touch. If there’s no source of water available, there are a few plants that might help:

1 – Aloe vera (Asphodelaceae Family): it’s probably the most renowned plant when it comes to soothing burns of any kind. It’s a plant adapted to arid environments, so it holds large reserves of water. Just break the stem open and apply the gel like substance directly on the burn. To take the gel out of the plant, but put it on like a natural bandage.

2 – Peppermint (Mentha piperita): it’s a pretty common plant that grows pretty much anywhere. If you’re stranded in the wilderness, look for it in the regions surrounding great lakes, as it’s a moisture-loving plant. If you can, boil the leaves down into tea and let it cool. Once cooled, apply directly on the burn. If making tea is not an option, grind the leaves into a paste and apply it on the burn. It has antioxidant properties and it will soothe burning sensations and itchiness.

3 – Jewelweed (Impatiens Genus): it’s a very common plant in North America, but it can also be found in Northern and Central Europe as well. It’s usually found in creek banks or in other equally shady and moist areas. It’s a weed that normally grows about 5 feet tall and can be recognized by its blue-green leaves and yellowish buds. It’s to be applied the same way as the Aloe vera. You can sooth the burned areas with the jellified substance found in the stems.

If you’re planning on going or a trip or expedition, be sure to always pack some sunscreen on you. And to play it even safer, add some to your survival kit as well. However, if SHTF and sunscreen is not an option, you can always turn to the tips and precautions discussed so far. Before applying plants to a burned area, make sure you’ve identified the species correctly, as some plants might worsen the situation.

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