Often, we put on sunscreen without a second thought to what is in it. (By the way, give yourself 10-20 minutes of sun exposure before putting it on to help boost vitamin D. In Canada, it’s not if we are low, it’s HOW low we are.) Just don’t burn if you know you burn easy!
Often, we put on sunscreen without a second thought to what is in it. (By the way, give yourself 10-20 minutes of sun exposure before putting it on to help boost vitamin D. In Canada, it’s not IF we are low, it’s HOW low we are.) Just don’t go unprotected too long if you know you burn easy!
It may surprise you that like many cosmetic products, sunscreens have a lot of nasty, toxic chemicals in them that are absorbed right into your skin... Your skin, afterall, is your largest organ!
So what? These toxins can cause weight gain/retention, fatigue, depression, irritability, mood issues, prostate/testosterone issues in men, and menstrual problems in women – among other nasty things like cancers and just feeling crappy in general.
Here are some of them to be aware of and avoid if possible:
Oxybenzone – This chemical absorbs and filters UV light and is therefore a common ingredient in sunscreen, despite causing relatively high rates of skin allergies. It also penetrates the skin at very high rates and acts like estrogen once it enters your bloodstream, disrupting your endocrine system, reducing sperm production, and potentially causing endometriosis.
Retinyl Palmitate – A form of Vitamin A, this chemical is used in a large number of sunscreens and SPF- containing moisturizers and lip balms because it is believed to slow skin aging. But, when exposed to sunlight, it has been shown to speed the development of malignant cells and skin tumors because UV rays cause the compound to break down and produce destructive free radicals. It is fine in supplements however.
Octinoxate – Octinoxate is also readily absorbed via the skin and also disrupts your endocrine system by mimicking hormonal activity that can affect the reproductive system and thyroid.
Octocrylene – This is yet another ingredient that is easily absorbed by the skin and produces free radicals that can cause mutations and damage cells when exposed to UV rays.
Parabens – Parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly added to cosmetics and body products because they prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria. They are dangerous because, like so many ingredients in this list, they disrupt hormone functions, potentially leading to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Five common types of parabens have been banned in the EU, and the FDA is under pressure to ban them in the U.S.
Homosalate – This common ingredient also helps sunscreen penetrate your skin and disrupts hormone balances. It can accumulate in your body faster than your body can detoxify it through your liver, lingering in your body and increasing your toxic burden.
So what to do about it?
I like to emphasize more natural sunscreens, and you can even make your own at home if you have the time and patience. (Lots of things around the home work well for sunscreens! A quick internet search on home - made sunscreen will turn up lots of great results. Even plain zinc oxide (or found in zincofax, found in baby diaper rash cream, etc. works great (the white stuff), and there are other recipes including coconut oil, shea butter, black tea, and a few other natural oils.)
If you’d like some suggestions, or to check your sunscreen, visit www.ewg.org/skindeep for a huge database on the ratings for different cosmetics and sunscreen manufacterers - and even suggestions on good ones. Be careful what you put on your skin; again, your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything you put on it.