The Scary Side of Sunscreen
So, I was in the supermarket today (For some reason, people always choose to direct their questions to me at food stores. Maybe I give off foodie vibes? :) ) and a fairly young mother was standing next to me, trying to choose a good sunblock for her baby. She looked over at me and began to ask if I knew if one brand may be better for a 3-month old than another. I was about to say I wasn’t sure, but then realized that it was my duty to share the knowledge I had with someone who was genuinely seeking.
She stood there, asking me question after question as I explained more and more…so many questions, in fact, that I decided it was a perfect topic for today’s blog post. It may also be time for you to question just exactly what goes onto your skin, and therefore, into your body.
I decided the best way to address this would be to copy and paste an article that I wrote for Purely Delicious Magazine on this exact topic.
Fun in the Sun??
© Lisa Testa – Purely Delicious Magazine, Summer 2009 (www.PurelyDelicious.net) Copied with Permission
Exposing our skin to natural sunlight is a vital part of maintaining good health. When sunlight interacts with our skin, our bodies produce Vitamin D. Although natural Vitamin D is found in a few non-vegan food sources (egg yolk, shrimp, salmon, tuna, and cod liver oil), it cannot be properly assimilated or utilized without the help of some sunlight. Even in ancient times it was widely known that sunbathing was healthful and restorative for the body. Modern studies support this tradition, with findings stating that healthy exposure to the sun can increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, and enhance the immune system.
Modern studies also tell us that the ozone layer, a protective shield in the upper atmosphere which absorbs the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, is thinning and even non-existent in many places. Polluting the air with CFCs and other harmful chemicals has deteriorated the earth’s natural sunblock over time, which means that we need to provide our own protective barrier in the form of sunscreen.
Parents have been lathering sunscreen on their children for years, regularly re-applying throughout the course of a hot, sunny day. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that many commercial sunscreens are laden with harmful chemicals that are directly absorbed into the skin. These chemicals have been shown to have three devastating effects on humans:
They generate free radicals which increase cellular damage and lead to cancer.
They have strong estrogenic activity, which means that some of these chemical interfere with normal sexual development.
They are synthetic chemicals which are foreign, and therefore toxic to the body. These toxins accumulate in the body’s fat stores and what’s worse, travel from generation to generation. DDT, Dioxin, and PCBs, for example, have been banned in the United States for many years yet when a newborn baby’s blood is tested, it will have alarmingly high levels of these toxic substances…Scary!
In order to protect yourself and your family, you must carefully read the labels of any products going directly onto the skin. Check sunscreens specifically for the following chemical ingredients: Avobenzone, Benzophenones, PABA and PABA esters, Cinnamates, Salicylates, Digalloyl trioleate, and Menthyl anthranilate. At first sign of these names, the sunscreen should be disposed of, and a natural replacement should be sought out.
On top of all of this, there is no FDA regulation on sunscreen. Although they have been promising to do this since 1978, regulations have not been made, meaning that many sunscreen lotions do not even do what they profess! Not only are you covering yourself in chemicals, you may be covering yourself in ineffective chemicals. This is yet one more reason to seek out a natural alternative.
Check out this website to see how your sun block measures up: http://www.ewg.org/cosmetics/report/sunscreen09. You may be shocked at what you find!
Everyone loves summer fun in the sun…lying on the beach, lazily floating around in a swimming pool, playing games at the park, or maybe packing your favorite picnic to be enjoyed in a sunny spot somewhere. However, there’s nothing fun about skin damage, cancer, DNA damage, and toxic build-up. Protect your family from the sun’s radiation AND sunscreen’s harmful chemicals…Use a natural sunscreen with effective ingredients and relax in knowing that you can be safe and stress-free while you have your fun in the sun!
Have a great day, all! Please feel free to send along any comments or questions this may have generated. I know it is a controversial issue, but certainly one that I felt warranted some discussion.