Sun Exposure and Natural Sunscreens Protect Your Skin
Let’s talk about sun exposure and sunscreens. It is said that the sun isn’t healthy for us and we need to use as much sunscreen as possible to protect our skin. However that isn’t true.
Firstly, sun exposure in moderation is healthy as it not only raises vitamin D and serotonin levels and therefore our mood can improve, but it also helps with sleep. Additionally, it helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and certain cancers, as well as metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes 1.
Too much sun exposure of course isn’t good either. Proper covering is important. If you are using sunscreens, make sure you are not using a chemical-laden kind. Regular sunscreens are filled with toxic chemicals that will cause more harm than good. Make sure you know your ingredients.
There are two types of sunscreens: the natural, or mineral based, and the chemical-based kind2. The natural, or mineral based sunscreens are becoming more and more popular, and for great reasons. Their main ingredients are Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are stable in sunlight, offer a good balance of skin protection from both UVA rays (those that cause wrinkles and skin cancer) and UVB rays (those that cause sunburn), and don’t contain any harmful ingredients. They are also effective and ready to protect you the moment they’re being applied on the skin3.
The chemical-based kinds contain harmful ingredients that not only break down if not formulated right when exposed to UV light, but can also cause more harm than good. Chemical sunscreen have been found to accumulate in breast milk and body fat and have been linked to hormonal disruption and early onset of puberty, low sperm count and breast cancer. It has been shown that some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients oxidize under sun exposure, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
Some of the harmful ingredients to watch out for are:
Oxybenzone– a hormone disrupter, and can kill cells prematurely and cause skin damage. Applying chemical sunscreens that include this ingredient while coming in contact with chlorine for example, a toxic reaction occurs and three transformation products are detected. One of these ingredients is Chloroform, a disinfection byproduct and a carcinogen4.
Parabens– an endocrine disrupting chemical, poses major risks for humans by targeting different organs and systems in the body (reproductive, breast tissue, adipose tissue5 etc). are found in lotions and sunscreens alike.
Vitamin A– also known as retinyl palmitate. When found in sunscreens, can actually be toxic when exposed to the sun, as can cause lesions on the skin.
Be aware of SPF over 50+ as they mislead and give you a false sense of security. Apply and reapply every two hours to be safe.
If you plan to be out and be exposed the sun for a longer period of time, you need a broad spectrum sunscreen. “Broad Spectrum” refers to a product’s ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Alba Botanica, All Terrain, Kiss my Face, Goddess Garden Organics, BabyGanics, Sunbum, and anything made of minerals and coconut oil.