Well, it's the unofficial start of summer! Are you as excited about it as I am? It is definitely my favorite time of year.
With summer comes a lot of sun, and with sun often comes a lot of sunscreen. But is your sunscreen safe? Are you doing more harm to your body than good by slathering on the sunscreen?
Many people are surprised to learn that the most common sunscreen brands are actually very toxic and harmful to your body. The worst offenders are the most popular brands such as Banana Boat, Coppertone and coming in at the worst is Neutrogena.
But how can sunscreen be toxic? Isn’t it protecting me from skin cancer? The answers may surprise you.
Overall people have become so afraid of the sun that we are very deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is critical for building strong bones and a healthy immune system that keeps your body strong and able to fight cancer. The best way to get Vitamin D is to be in the sun everyday. When you slather on sunscreen you are preventing your body from making your own Vitamin D, causing a serious deficiency in your body.
If you are more prone to burning, sunscreen is definitely a necessity but finding one that is not toxic is key. If you tend to use a lot of sunscreen it is also important to supplement your Vitamin D to keep your immune system and bones healthy.
So what are some of the issues with sunscreen?
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
This ingredient is a form of Vitamin A. When it is exposed to sunlight on your skin it has been shown to speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. It is typically listed as an inactive ingredient so it's very alarming that it is even allowed in sunscreen to begin with if it does not have a purpose to protect us from the sun. Could it be that sunscreen is actually causing the rise in skin cancer and not the sun? All the popular brands such as Nuetrogena, Coppertone and Banana Boat all contain suspect ingredients making them the top brands to avoid. (source EWG)
Oxybenzone is the next ingredient to look out for. It is typically used as a UV filter in sunscreen but is a hormone disrupter and common allergen. It gets into your bloodstream via your skin and acts like estrogen in your body. It is typically found in non-mineral sunscreens and should be avoided as studies have linked it to health issues, particularly in women. (source EWG)
Spray sunscreens have been one of the worst inventions of all times. Not only are they annoying to be around when someone is applying them, they are not really a safe and effective choice. They make it very easy to miss spots or not apply enough or evenly and also pose serious inhalation risks from the spray itself.
Super High SPFs
Any SPF over 50 is not really doing anything for you. High SPF gives people a false sense of security that they can be in the sun for a long time and can potentially leave you exposed to damaging and harmful UVA Rays. It's best to select a safe SPF 50 or below and reapply often.
So what kind of sunscreen should you use?
It's best to find a mineral only sunscreen, that uses zinc oxide or titanium oxide. They tend to offer good protection from harmful rays and don’t have a lot of toxic ingredients. EWG is a great source for find safe and effective sunscreen. I highly recommend using them as a guide to find safe sunscreen as well as safe beauty products. EWG has a list of the top sunscreens that you should be using and has also rated the worst sunscreens and kids sunscreens. They have also rated almost every beauty product out there so you can check to see if it is safe for your body or not. The rating system is very simple and is a great guide to use for everything. Items are rated 0-10, 0 being the least toxic, 10 being the most. Ideally, you want to find sunscreen and beauty products that are rated 0-2. Some of the sunscreen brands I like are Alba, Badger and Beauty Counter.
There is a new company that has sprung up called Beauty Counter. They are committed to providing safe and non toxic cosmetics and body products. I have just started using them and really love everything so far. It makes me really happy that every product is rated 0-2 on the EWG scale so I don’t have to worry about putting toxins on my body, but can still enjoy quality products. They have makeup, body care, face care and sunscreen.
Enjoy your summer, get some vitamin D and keep your body safe from harmful ingredients in your sunscreen.