Ready or not, bathing suit season is upon us, and that means it’s time to break out the sunscreen. Have you ever stopped to investigate the ingredients in the SPF that you’re rubbing on yourself and your children’s skin (the biggest organ of elimination)? Before you invest in a highly-toxic, mainstream brand, get the facts!
- Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical. The chemical suncreens typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral suncreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
- Laboratory studies of several chemical sunscreens indicate they may mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system. They can be toxic to the reproductive systems and interfere with normal development.
- The most problematic of the sunscreen chemicals used in the U.S. is oxybenzone, found in nearly every chemical sunscreen. EWG recommends that consumers avoid this chemical because it can penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions and may disrupt hormones. Preliminary investigations of human populations suggest a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and its metabolites in the body and increased risk of endometriosis and lower birth weight in daughters.
- The CDC found that 97% of Americans have oxybenzone in their blood.
- Products containing this ingredient should not be used on babies and kids. The spray chemical sunscreens are of particular concern because of the risk of inhalation.
- Mineral sunscreens rate the least toxic on the Environmental Working Group safety scale, especially those that contain UNCOATED minerals (not coated in chemicals.)
- Zinc oxide is one of only 17 active ingredients currently approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. Upon application, zinc oxide particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, where they scatter, absorb, and reflect ultraviolet radiation, protecting the living skin below. Zinc oxide is unique among sunscreen ingredients in that it is truly a broad-spectrum blocker, protecting from UVA, UVB, and even UVC. Titanium dioxide is another mineral active ingredient you may see in other natural sunscreens. While it protects from UVB rays very well it does not protect from UVA as well as zinc oxide does.
- Research now shows that taking the powerful antioxidant Astaxanthin helps protect the skin against both UVA and UVB lights. In a recent scientific study, subjects showed a significant increase in the amount of time it took for skin to redden after taking 4 mg of Astaxanthin daily for three weeks. Astaxanthin is 100 times stronger than beta-carotene and 1000 times stronger than lutein in preventing UVA light-induced cell damage. In 2002, the Journal of Dermatological Science published a study showing that Astaxanthin is even able to protect against alterations in human DNA induced by UVA exposure. If you and your family members are going to spend large amounts of time in the sun this spring and summer, consider taking Astaxanthin for a few months.
- Did you know that applying coconut oil on the skin protects against both sunburn and cancer? Unprocessed coconut oil doesn’t completely block the UVB rays that are necessary for Vitamin D synthesis, but it does protect the underlying tissue from the damage that excessive exposure can cause. Coconut oil can allow you to get that nice sun-kissed look without reddening or burning! Consuming coconut oil regularly also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.
If you’re looking for a safe, non-toxic sunscreen, the Longevity Nutrition Shoppe carries the Badger line, and they’re all 15% off in April (2015)!