With the summer in full swing, you are going out in the sun and having fun. But because of some bad media attention, we are afraid to leave our house without sunscreen on. This sets us up for Vitamin D deficiency which in turn, can set us up for disease states which include cancer. The very reason the media has warned us to stay away from the sun!
Before the 80s, you never heard anything about the harmful effects of the sun. I grew up without wearing sunscreen, in fact I can't count the amount of times my shoulders were burned. Ouch! Now burning skin is not good, but getting 15 minutes a day without sunscreen is beneficial!
Some myths surrounding the sun:
So my questions is: Is it the sun that is causing our problems or the sunscreens?
Before sunscreen use, we had very little skin cancers because people were working outside and building up a tan (not burning). Starting in the 1950s, the first sunscreens only protected against UVB rays setting us up 30-40 years later for skin cancer. Now (beginning in the 1990s), there is broad spectrum sunscreens that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
I am not against wearing sunscreens, in fact, you SHOULD wear a broad specturm, after you get your 15 minutes or so of Vitamin D. That said, not all sunscreens are not created equal!
Let's take a look at what is in your typical sunscreen:
If you look at the ingredients in typical sunscreens you will see a host of ingredients you can't even say never mind what they mean! I have talked about the skin absorbing what we put on it, right? So why wouldn't it absorb the chemicals in sunscreen?
What you can do:
As with any other label, read the ingredients. Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide should be the main ingredient. Look for sunscreens with minimal other ingredients and make sure you know what these ingredients are or at least can pronounce them! Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) puts out a list every year that can help you in your search.
A few brands that I like:
California Baby, Badger, 100percent pure, Jason. These can be purchased in most health food stores.
And a more recent discovery, scratch momma. She has a website where she sells products made from scratch, but you can also purchase the products. I purchased her homemade sunscreen made with only a few ingredients and I love it! I'm not sure how water resistant it is, but it should be fine.
Just a quick note on the above products. These are products that I have used and have not reacted to, they also pass my "screening" as cleaner products. There may be others on the market that I have not used that are just as good (clean). I tend to stick with products when I like them, but I do not have any affiliations with any of these companies, I am here to raise awareness. You can take this information and start looking at labels. Do your research and find the best products for you.
Sources: The Vitamin D solution, Michael F Holick; Cosmeticinfo.org