I was out with a couple girlfriends recently, and my one girlfriend took out her sunscreen and began to apply it, commenting that her dermatologist said she had to use it.
It seems to make sense at first glance. After all, she has battled skin cancer, and wants to avoid recurrence.
So, are sunscreens good or bad?
Let’s take a look at 3 things: (1) the sun’s benefit to us (2) the sun’s detrimental affects on us (3) how to best protect ourselves from any potential harm.
First, the sun converts our cholesterol into Vitamin D upon contact with our skin, taking 24-48 hours for our skin to absorb it into our bloodstream. And, Vitamin D is good for boosting the immune system, healthy bones, reducing depression, improving muscle function and much more.
Second, the sun can cause DNA damage, hence the possibility of skin cancer. But, have you noticed maybe with yourself or a loved one who’s had skin cancer, it mostly never shows on the skin parts exposed to the sun? And, have you ever thought about the impact of sunscreen on decreasing skin cancer, and realized that while the use of sunscreen has increased, skin cancer has also increased!
So, how can we protect ourselves? Antioxidants. They are found in bright coloured fruits, veggies, berries and superfoods like chia seeds and turmeric. And what can antioxidants do for us? They protect our genes, our DNA, from harmful exposure to: pollution, computer/smartphone/electronics radiation, stress and of course, sunshine.
Third, let’s look at the sunscreens on the market. We only have to turn to the 2018 report from Environmental Working Group (EWG) and find their recommendations.
Here’s a list of Dr. Axe’s (draxe.com) 5 Sunscreen Risks:
- An unhealthy dose of hormones – oxybenzone, a common sunscreen ingredient, is absorbed by the skin, reaching the blood stream and acting like estrogen in the body. Oxybenzone is linked to endometriosis in older women, as well as lower total testosterone levels in adolescent boys.
- Allergic reactions – oxybenzone can also cause itchy, eczema-like skin reactions.
- Another ingredient, retinal palmitate (form of Vitamin A), is shown to speed skin tumour and lesion development.
- You may have a false sense of security linked to high SPFs, since anything above 50 SPF only protects against UVB rays, not UVA.
- Inhalation is a problem when using spray sunscreens.
And, here are some of EWG’s Good and Most Toxic Suncreens:
GOOD SUNSCREENS of 2018:
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 50
- Badger Sunscreen Cream, unscented SPF 30
- Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- Goddess Garden Organics Facial Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- Neutragena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen SPF 50
MOST TOXIC SUNSCREENS of 2018:
- Banana Boat SPF 100
- Coppertone SPF 70, 50, 55
- Neutroagena SPF 60, 70
Check out the EWG site for complete list.
Meanwhile, you may want to make your own sunscreen. So, here’s a recipe from Dr. Axe (draxe.com):
- 10 drops lavender
- 1 tbsp pomegranate oil
- 3/4 C coconut oil
- 2 tbsp Zinc Oxide
- 2 tbsp shea butter
So, is sunscreen good or bad? Send me your thoughts.