Everyone knows it's super important to wear sunscreen when expecting prolonged exposure to the sun. Some of those with fair skin wouldn't even dare to leave the house without applying a thin layer first.
Okay, so we know that we have to buy sunscreen, but which kind? Sunscreen is sunscreen right? All that matters is SPF right?
That's a big fat no!
The most popular brands of sunscreen contain chemical ingredients that can cause health problems- perhaps not in the immediate sense however, repetitive use has proven that these chemicals build up on the skin and in the bloodstream, disrupting hormones, causing skin allergies and sensitivities just to name a few. Another alarming detail for me as a Functional Nutrition Therapy Practitioner is the fact that many of these sunscreens actually block the absorption of Vitamin D! An essential nutrient for hundreds of functions in the body like calcium absorption, optimal immune function, decreasing risks of cancer and mood enhancing qualities. Why on earth would we facilitate blocking one of the most vital, free & necessary nutrients?
The skin is our largest organ. It covers and protects everything on your body. How you treat it is incredibly important to your health. So just like any other personal product we apply onto our bodies, we must be mindful of the ingredients we lather on.
Now what? To make it simple and brief you'll want to avoid:
Oxybenzone – this is a hormone disrupting chemical which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. It is the most popular ingredient in chemical based sunscreens and only blocks UVB ray, not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays.
Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) – A National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it can induce the development of skin tumors and lesions.
Fragrance – Generally these are petroleum based product that are linked to organ toxicity and allergies.
High SPF – Many of the higher SPFs past 50 do not provide any additional protection and studies have suggested that users are exposed to as many or more ultraviolet rays as those who use lower-SPF products.
Sprays or Powders –These always have additional chemicals added to them for performance purposes. You certainly don't want to breath them in.
Popular Conventional Brands – Guaranteed, the most popular brands are rated the worst in terms of safety! (Even drugstore brands)
Keep an eye out for any other unpronounceable chemical ingredients not listed.
What do I buy? Here's a few things to keep in mind when looking for a safe sunscreen:
Look for mineral based creams that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which do not penetrate the skin and provide UVA protection against the sun’s most damaging rays.
Choose non-nano products that do not have small particles that absorb into skin
Choose sunscreens that are unscented or use essential oils as fragrance
Pick sunscreens with water resistance
Pick broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays
Chose nourishing ingredients that not only have UV protection, but help condition the skin.
I've also recently released a Mineral sun screen called "Sun slather" you can find it Here
This stuff works splendidly, lasts several hours without having to reapply (even when sweating or swimming) and smells amazing - kinda tropical and beachy! It's non-nano, contains fantastic all natural and organic ingredients, well tolerated by those with sensitive skin, and the jar lasts quite a while for just one person (A little goes a long way.)
Whatever you choose, ditch the run of the mill sunscreens and invest in your future health by avoiding all of the unnecessary chemicals. Sunscreen is not required for most people just running errands or spending sporadic amounts of time outdoors. After all, we do want to get our Vitamin D. It only takes a good solid 10-15 minutes of sun exposure daily to get the required amount. Most people don't burn in that amount of time without sunscreen...and if you do, that's another issue we can discuss the why's and hows- just reach out.