Summer is almost here so it is time to start thinking sunscreen again!
First of all, don’t fear the sun!
😎 Studies have shown that short-term exposure to the sun has many benefits: lowers blood pressure, reduces your risk of cancer, boosts your immune system through the increased production of white blood cells, and triggers the release of serotonin to help improve your mood and stress levels.
30 minutes of exposure daily is a considered a fair amount, but many people may need to work up to that slowly. With that said- it’s important to know your personal exposure limits. Sun exposure is not dangerous, but spending too much time in the sun and getting burned are what create the risk for skin cancer.
😎 Vitamin D is an essential fat soluble vitamin produced by the sunlight and activates cholesterol in our skin. Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium for stronger bones, decreases the risk for MS and pancreatic cancer, and improves heart health. The only way to get the most out of Vitamin D from the sun is to be out in the sun for at least 30 minutes between 10am and 2pm every day so it is not an ideal way to get your Vitamin D. See my blog on Vitamin D for more info. Plus if you wear sunscreen on your arms and face you will not reap the benefits of the sunlight.
Studies show that if you get just 20 minutes of sun a day, your body will produce over 200 antimicrobials, killing off bad bacteria, funguses, viruses and parasites throughout your body, and research is now showing that vitamin D can even help fight and kill off cancer cells!
😎 However, you want to make sure that your sun protection is not increasing your toxic body burden, thereby causing a host of other health problems. Typically sunscreens above 30 SPF have many more harmful ingredients, so higher SPF is not necessarily better. It is better to cover up than wear a higher toxic SPF!
For babies under 6 months, sunscreen should not be used; you can instead cover them up in a baby hat and swim shirt with SPF !
When searching for sunscreen, here are some toxic chemicals and preservatives you should avoid:
🚫 Oxybenzone & Octinoxate – Increase production of free radicals which damage skin and increase the risk of premature aging and skin cancer; hormone disrupting
🚫 Homosalate – Hormone disrupting; estrogenic activity (found in many popular department store facial SPFs)
🚫 Octisalate – Penetration enhancer; degrades quickly; doesn’t protect against UVA rays, so must always be combined with other chemicals
🚫 Octocrylene – Increases production of free radicals, which damage skin and increase the risk of premature aging and skin cancer
🚫 Avobenzone – Phototoxic (breaks down in sunlight and damages skin); may produce free radicals and cause DNA and protein damage
🚫 Retinyl palmitate – Breaks down to retinol, a blacklisted ingredient associated with developmental and reproductive toxicity (birth defects) and possibly cancer
🚫 Nanoparticles of zinc and titanium
🚫 Spray sunscreens (due to risks of inhalation); Spray on hands first, then apply to face if that is the only option available
🚫 Toxic preservatives like parabens, phenoxyethanol and methylisothiazolinone
Your body QUICKLY absorbs these chemicals into your bloodstream in under 30 seconds and come with a wide range of health risks. Remember, your SKIN is your LARGEST ORGAN! Treat it as one!
🤱🤰Nursing or pregnant?
There have been studies showing that these chemicals pass into breast milk as well.
For more info: https://www.ewg.org/…/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-ch…/
🌞 Now let’s explore clean sunscreens.
The most effective and safest sunscreens are mineral-based and will contain Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide as the active ingredient. On the contrary, many conventional brands list a chemical (see above) as the active ingredient in their sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens contain natural minerals that work by physically blocking the sun’s radiation by forming a barrier that sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays, causing them to scatter. These ingredients do not penetrate the skin, are very gentle, work immediately upon application, and do not break down in sunlight, so they last longer than chemical sunscreen.
But be sure to check your labels. Just because a sunscreen contains these ingredients does not mean it is free from other harmful ingredients. For instance, conventional sunscreens that claim to be reef safe do not contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, but still contain other concerning chemical ingredients.
🧴 Recommended safest sunscreens:
- California Baby
- Babo Botanicals
- Goddess Garden Organics
- Thinkbaby / Thinksport
- Tropic Skin Shade Sun Stick
- Poofy Organics
- Coola – one of favorites
- Sum Bum
- Badger *They also make an awesome clear Lip SPF ! There sunscreen goes on a bit thick but really works!
- Sunlight facial SPF by Crunchi – my absolute favorite
Download the Think Dirty app to check out ingredients before you buy something. https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/