Summer is right around the corner. However, here in CO it feels like summer is never coming. While I love the rain and snow, I’m really ready for the pool and the sunshine! With that said, it’s time for us to start prepping for a healthy, safe, and fun summer. Here we are going to talk about some of the harshest chemicals our bodies see in the summer. Sunscreen
With rising cancer rates, and everyday scares about melanoma and skin cancer sunscreen has become a daily use in many homes in America. There are many reasons this is a good thing;however, let’s look at the not so good things first. Sunscreen actually blocks the good and the bad UV rays- that means our body is not able to synthesize any Vitamin D from the sun. Also, 2/3 of sunscreens on the market have been tested and shown potentially hazardous ingredients. Since our skin is the biggest organ on our body- it’s really important to know what we should be placing on it to keep us and our families safe. The Environmental Working Group has some great research on sunscreens that are safe to use, and which ones we should stay away.
A few of the EWG recommendations are as follows. 1.) Stay away from aerosolized sunscreen. It is toxic to the lungs and poses a risk to kids 2.) Stay away from SPF higher than 50. SPF refers on to protection from UVB rays, not UVA which do just as much damage- so people think the higher numbers think they are more protected, when in fact you stay out longer and place more risk on yourself and family. 3.) Stay away from oxybenzone. This substance, which is found in over 40% of sunscreens actually enters the body and plays with hormone levels, such as estrogen. Anything that interferes with hormones is bad news. Stay away. 4.) Stay away from retinyl palmitate. This is a substance found in night creams and anti-aging creams which actually speeds up the growth of skin lesions and tumors. The FDA has yet to rule on whether or not to allow this ingredient in sunscreens and currently 20% of them have it in it. 5.) Fragrance- as we’ve discussed before, artificial fragrance can lead to further hormone disruption, upset with cell growth and development and a whole host of other problems.
Now that we’ve looked at all the things to stay away from, we need to look at which sunscreens are safer to use. You want to look for sunscreens that do not have any of the chemicals listed above. Also for kiddos (babies especially) you want to stay away from Titanium Dioxide and use only Zinc Oxide. In our house we use the baby Badger sunscreen and LOVE it. It is a little thicker but no harsh chemicals, and safe to use for extended periods of sun exposure. Many recommendations allow for no sunscreen at all, for short amounts of time so that our bodies can actually produce and synthesize Vitamin D. Within reason, sunscreen does not need to be used every day. Make sure to start your summer right by finding the right sun protection for you and your family! For further list of high quality sunscreen, EWG has a great list of graded and approved sun protection for all your needs.