Sunscreen Shockers

Posted on July 13, 2008
Filed Under Natural | Leave a Comment

Summer is finally here, even in the northern half of the north hemisphere. Are you enjoying the nice weather? I hope so!

And I hope you’re getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Besides helping us relax, feel good and appreciate life, absorbing sunshine is the best way to infuse our bodies with life-saving Vitamin D.

On the other hand, we’ve all heard about the dangers from sunburn. Moderation is the best choice with sun exposure, and most everything. But what about sunscreen?

Sunscreens are supposed to protect us from UV rays and let us spend longer basking on the beach, right? The higher the SPF, the better, right?

As proof that we can’t outsmart Mother Nature, one only has to pick up a magazine or tune into the internet these days to see frightening headlines about the dangers of toxic sunscreens.

“Four Out of Five Sunscreens May Be Hazardous to Your Health”

“Most Sunscreens Ineffective, Group Says”

“What Makes Sunscreens Toxic?”

“Melanoma Surges Among Young Women”

“The Case Against Using Sunscreens … ”
It’s easy to blow this off as just another media sensationalization until you actually read the horrifying effects of some of these chemicals.

Many of the ingredients are known carcinogens which absorb quickly through the skin. Others cause allergic reactions, create deadly free radicals, or disrupt our hormones.

Studies have linked specific chemical UV filters with the degradation of coral reefs, and male fish transsexualization.  If the runoff containing diluted amounts of a chemical can turn a fish into a transsexual, is that really something you want to slather directly onto your skin, to be absorbed into your body???

So what’s the answer? There are over 100 different brands of sunscreen. Some contain more toxic ingredients than others. To learn more about the good and bad ingredients in sunscreens, set aside some time and visit the non-profit Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep: Cosmetic Database”.

Some of the major offenders to avoid include:

Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3)
Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid)
Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA / PABA Ester)
Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol
Sulisobenzone (Benzophenone-4)

Learn what these chemicals can do to your body and the environment. Read labels carefully. In the next post we’ll go into natural ingredients that afford some protection against the damaging UV-A rays.

Meanwhile, cover up when possible. Wear loose and lightweight long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim. You’ll get plenty of sun the rest of the time.

Who wants skin like leather, anyway?



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