Natural Sunscreen VS Commercial Sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen VS Commercial Sunscreen

If you have ever suffered a sunburn, it most likely is an experience that you don’t want to repeat! Companies that manufacture sunscreen recommend slathering it on your body—at least on your face—daily and even every few hours when there is exposure to the sun. This recommendation is supposed to prevent aging and skin cancer, however, this approach is less than healthy. Blocking the sun’s rays deprives the body of vitamin D—absorbed through the skin and even eyes!—essential for mood, maintaining healthy immune system and even lowering blood pressure.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and is the first defense against “invaders”. What you put ON your body is just as important as what you put IN your body! Besides blocking the UV rays that are essential to our overall health, sunscreens can contain one or more of 6 common toxic ingredients that should be avoided. Not only do they absorb into your skin—and into your body—and remain detected in blood, urine and breast milk for long periods of time—but they can also negatively impact the environment.

Ingredients to avoid:

  1. Oxybenzone: Absorbs and filters UV light. This chemical penetrates the skin and is a hormone/endocrine disrupter as it acts like estrogen once it reaches the blood stream.
  2. Octinoxate: Filters UV-B rays. This fat-soluble chemical seeks body fat and is readily absorbed. It is known to disrupt endocrine, thyroid and reproductive systems by mimicking hormonal activity and reducing blood serum thyroid hormone levels. It is also linked to miscarriage in female offspring.
  3. Retinyl Palmitate: A form of Vitamin A, this is common in SPF-containing moisturizers and lip balms. When exposed to sunlight, this chemical breaks down into free-radicals and by-products that have been linked to the development of malignant cells and skin tumors.
  4. Homosalate: A salicylate that prevents direct UV ray exposure. It helps sunscreen penetrate the skin, and then causes a hormonal imbalance—particularly impacting the estrogen system. It can accumulate in your body faster than your body can detoxify through the liver, increasing the toxic burden. This leads to cancer—specifically breast cancer.
  5. Octocrylene: An oil soluble liquid that does not dissolve in water. This chemical contains a high concentration of Benzophenone, which is a mutagen, carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. Although it is banned in food products and food packaging, it is still allowed in some sunscreens.
  6. Parabens: synthetic compounds commonly used as preservatives. They mimic estrogen, potentially encouraging abnormal breast cell growth. They are also linked to disrupting thyroid levels.

It may not seem like much, if you only use commercial sunscreen certain times of the year or only on your face. However, we need to consider the body’s toxic burden with all the “little” exposures over time: pesticides when you eat conventionally grown food, chemicals used to purify your tap water, mercury in your dental fillings, poor diet, stress. Think of your body like a cup and all those “little” exposures as drops filling the cup until it overflows and then you are pushed into disease. It is important to eliminate as many exposures and reduce the toxic burden on your body in order to stay healthy!

Natural sunscreens made without toxic chemicals are safer, however, some may include nano zinc oxide (or zinc oxide) which has particles small enough to go deep into the layers of the skin. That is not safe and leaves the top layers of the skin unprotected. It is best to look for one that contains non nano zinc oxide, which has larger particles that lay on the skin.

Being safe in the sun:

  • Work up the amount of “sun time” you have in small doses. Get a tan gradually, allowing the skin to acclimate to being in the sun. It IS healthy to have sun exposure every day to build up your Vitamin D!
  • Use shade and clothing to cover up from the sun
  • Eat less processed foods that include vegetable oils and seed oils because they are linked to cancer. Eat a diet rich in fat soluble vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3 rich, nutrient dense foods.
  • Use natural, mineral based sunscreen at times when it is necessary. A little goes a long way!
  • Natural sunscreens aren’t meant to be used the same as commercial ones and should only be a last resort. Avoiding the most intense midday sun and using clothing and shade to avoid sunburn is best. However, when sunscreen is necessary, avoiding chemicals is of high importance!
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