Sunscreens - Harmful Protection
While sunscreens are intended to protect your skin from the damaging ultra-violet rays of the sun, most have dangerous chemical ingredients that actually make them more harmful than protective. The FDA has approved seventeen individual sunscreen ingredients. Unfortunately, fifteen of them are known endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with the normal function of hormones). Absorbed into the skin, these chemicals quickly find their way to your bloodstream. They scatter throughout your body and can be detected in blood, urine, and breast milk for up to two days after a single application.
The hormones most commonly disturbed by these chemicals are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. Endocrine disruptors, like those found in sunscreen ingredients, can cause abnormal development of fetuses and growing children including early puberty, low sperm counts and ultimately infertility. Endocrine disruptors that act like estrogen can contribute to the development of breast and ovarian cancers in women, and may increase the chance of prostate cancer in men. Imagine the impact the toxic chemicals in sunscreens have when applied to children.
There are two types of sunscreens: non-mineral and mineral.
Non-mineral (chemical) sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.
Mineral sunscreens are those containing zinc or titanium. These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed (thus, are not hormone disrupting), and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals sunscreen.
Toxic chemicals commonly found in sunscreen:
• Para amino benzoic acid
• Octyl salicyclate
• Menthyl anthranilate
Oxybenzone – this hormone disrupting chemical penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. It is the most popular ingredient in chemical based sunscreens and only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D production), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays. Avoid any sunscreen with this chemical, especially for children.
Retinyl Palmitate – A 2009 study released by the National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of direct sunlight, it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
Fragrance – While it may make the product smell nice, this petroleum based product is linked to organ toxicity and allergies.
High SPF – The FDA does not regulate SPF higher than 50 and there’s no scientific proof they work better than lower SPF. Many of the higher SPFs do not provide any additional protection and studies suggest that users are exposed to as many or more ultraviolet rays as those who use lower-SPF products.
Sprays or Powders – Sprays and powders usually have additional chemicals added for performance purposes. These chemicals can be toxic to the lungs.
Popular Conventional Brands – Aveeno, Banana Boat, Coppertone Sport, Coppertone Water Babies, Bull Frog, Neutragena, storebrands (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens), Hawaiian Tropic and many other popular brands are rated the worst in terms of safety.
Choosing a Safe Sunscreen:
• Look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based mineral sunscreens.
• Choose non-nano products that do not have small particles that can absorb into the skin.
• Go for sunscreens that are unscented or use essential oils as fragrance.
• Look for lotion based sunscreens with water resistance.
• Pick broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays.
Help protect your skin by adding these things to your diet:
Resveratrol (red wine, blueberries and red grapes)
Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and fish oil)
Astaxanthin (salmon and fish oil)
Catechins (green and white tea)
Vitamin E (pumpkin seeds, almonds, and asparagus)
Beta-carotene (carrots and red bell peppers)
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Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Organic Excellence does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.