Aspen Trees and Natural Sunscreen

This morning, I woke up to fresh snow on the ground here in Vail, Colorado. A few early-season snowstorms have already dusted the peaks white, but today was the first morning when it actually stuck on the ground. It was a wet snow, one that likely won’t last for long once the sun comes out, but the first snow marks the seasonal change for me: beginning of winter!!

In the last few weeks, aspen trees have marked another important seasonal change: the end of autumn. First, their leaves explode with color–fluorescent greens and eye-popping yellows. And then their leaves drop to the ground, leaving behind only naked, ashen branches.

Something about these bare aspens strikes me: their beauty. Long slender trunks, white, and the now-colorless branches look like they’re inviting white snowflakes to join them.

Besides simply being beautiful, aspens also have a function: natural sunscreen. Really? Yes. If you walk up to an aspen trunk and rub your palms along it, a powdery white substance will stick to your hands. If you then rub this powder on your face and arms, it will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. So…it only has a SPF of about 5, but–hey–who can complain when nature give you a free gift?

Want to know more about natural sunscreens and sunburn treatments?
Read my article on the About.com Survival Skills site:
“Survival Sunscreen and Natural Sunburn Treatments”
While most sunburns aren’t life threatening, they can leave you itchy, mildly uncomfortable, or moaning in pain. Sunburns are caused by UV radiation, so it’s possible to get sunburn on cold days and hot days alike. Overexposure to the sun and lack of proper skin covering can lead to sunburn, so plan ahead to prevent sunburn…click here to continue reading

Photo © Traci J. Macnamara.

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