Many sunscreens have harmful ingredients linked to SKIN cancer. Talk about irony. Do you know what’s in your sunscreen?

VITAMIN D AND THE SUN

It’s currently in vogue to let the rays on your skin and say, I’m getting my sunshine vitamin, aka, vitamin D. Though everyone refers to D as a vitamin, it’s actually a steroid hormone taken in by sun exposure, foods and supplementation. We have vitamin D receptors in ALL of our body cells, so it’s essential, wouldn’t you say?

Research has shown that low vitamin D levels elevate the risks of cancer, even melanoma. To lower your cancer risk, get your Vitamin D levels checked once a year, around December/January where it will be the lowest to gage what your supplementation needs are. Your goal is to get levels of 25-Hydroxy about 60, preferentially around 70-90.

A 2005 research study has shown that women with Vitamin D levels above 60ng/mL had 83% lower risk of breast cancer than those with less than 20 ng/mL. Studies in recent years have shown similar results in breast and colorectal cancers. Even patients who suffered with cancer improved their survival rate.

So yes, get your sunshine in, but be smart about it. Don’t let your skin burn and use safe sunscreen when you know exposure will be lengthy. And don’t forget the kiddos! Their young skin will readily absorb what you put on it, so safer sunscreen is a must.

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN YOUR SUNSCREEN

Oxybenzone: This chemical ingredient is found in 70% of sunscreen. Oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor linked to lower sperm count in men and endometriosis in women. It will also affect your immune system and can create allergenic effects.

Retinyl Palmitate: This ingredient is a form of Vitamin A, which can sound natural and even beneficial in your sunscreen, however it has been found to increase the development of skin lesions and tumors when exposed to sunlight.

Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate) or OMC: OMC is a known hormone disruptor that will affect our reproductive system and our thyroid glands.

Nano Particles: they are found in sprayable sunscreen. They release toxic particles into the air that can be inhaled and are particularly harmful to children. Sunscreens using zinc oxide and titanium oxide are much safer to use EXCEPT when they are nanosized, because those minerals should not be inhaled. For a mineral spray sunscreen look for a NON NANO-PARTICLE product.

BROAD SPECTRUM, SPF, UVA, UVB: WTH?

It can be confusing when facing a display of sunscreen in a store: what does it all mean? SPF 15, 30 or 50? Broad Spectrum must mean it has more protection. What about UVA and UVB? Here’s a summary for sunscreen speak:

SPF: this simply means Sun Protection Factor

Broad Spectrum: this is a claim for protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

UVA: long wave Ultraviolet A. These are rays that will age your skin. They are practically non-detectable but will penetrate deep into the skin and cause free radical damage. UVAs will go through clouds and glass.

UVB: short wave Ultraviolet B. Those rays are responsible for sunburns. They hit the most superficial layers of dermis. UVB do not penetrate glass but will hit reflective surfaces and burn your skin twice.

Let me add a new term for sunscreen: Blue Light. Blue light is trendy right now in the tech world with exposure to computer/phone/tablet screens. Blue light can alter your circadian rhythm by hitting your eyes and lowering your ability to produce melatonin, hence affecting your sleep cycles.

Blue light is everywhere. When it hits the atmosphere, it scatters air molecules. That’s why the sky looks blue. Recent research suggests blue light can damage skin proteins and lipids causing loss of tone, wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation. 

SUNSCREEN: A SOLUTION

As you know, I’m in love with Beautycounter products, but I’m more thrilled with the education aspect this awesome company provides. After all, our mission is to put safer beauty products into the hands of everyone.

Sunscreens will work in two ways: through chemical filters (which are harmful long term) or through a physical barrier (minerals that will physically block UVAs, UVBs and blue light).

The safest options are mineral based sunscreens, applied at interval. 

Beautycounter just introduced CounterSun: a new line of mineral sunscreen infused with anti-oxidant rich California Poppy to provide defense against UVA, UVB and BLUE LIGHT. They come in a lotion, a stick and a spray (using air and not NANO-PARTICLES).

Prices are also very affordable, from $20 to $36. You can check them here. And if you want a sample to try them first, email me and if you’re local to me, it will be my pleasure to provide you one.

I promote Beautycounter because I believe in its mission and social statements. My desire is to provide YOU with the tools to make informed choices. The Environmental Working Group offers tons of information on sunscreens. Dr Mercola’s website is also a great tool to educate yourself on safer sunscreen. I’ve included links below.

Please reach out and let me know if you found this post useful. 

Have a great – and safe – summer!

LINKS:
The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreen EWG (get their guide here before shopping for your next sunscreen