Sunscreen: Helpful or Harmful?
Did you know that you could be lathering your body with toxic chemicals that may be even worse for your health than getting burnt by the sun? It’s shocking that a lot of people don’t realize that there are harmful additives everywhere in almost everything we use! We were taught that the sun is the enemy, we should avoid it at all costs, and if we have to be exposed to it then sunscreen is the ONLY answer. We learned this from the sunscreen industry, they use a scare tactic claiming the only way to avoid skin cancer is through sunscreen.
Is the sun so bad?
Sunscreen marketers know that fear is a great motivator, and it’s actually working! People are deathly afraid of getting any bit of sun on them without their sunscreen. Yes, being exposed to too much sun can hurt us, but they have blown this way out of proportion. But, is the sun really that bad for you? Current research is showing people are outside less and putting on more and more sunscreen but skin cancer is at an all time high.
Is the sun as damaging to your skin as people say it is? Too much ultraviolet light can give us bad skin burns and even cancer but If done correctly this light can be very beneficial to your skin and overall health. However, sunlight is very beneficial with the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with the regulations of calcium and phosphorus absorption, which helps with the development of healthy bones and teeth. Also sunlight can penetrate deep into the skin and help cleanse the blood and blood vessels, “Medical literature published in Europe showed that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.”
What’s in the sunscreen you are using?
Now let’s talk about the sunscreen. Does sunscreen prevent one from getting the important health benefits from the sun that we talk about earlier? Sunscreen was created to block the rays of the sun from getting through to your skin. We apply thick coats of sunscreen over large areas of our bodies, reapplying frequently. It’s simple, the ingredients in these sunscreens should not be irritating or cause allergies. For most sunscreens it’s not that simple. Listed below are a few ingredients mainly found in popular sunscreens:
- Oxybenzone – (Endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, cancer)
- Fragrance compounds – (Neurotoxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity)
- Propylene Glycol – (Organ system toxicity, irritant to skin, eyes, and lungs)
- Tocopheryl Acetate – (Cancer and allergies)
- Triethanolamine – (Cancer)
- Benzyl Alcohol – (Neurotoxicity)
How Can You Keep Your Skin Safe and Healthy?
Now that you understand how sunscreen is blocking the healthy sunlight from your skin and of the health damaging chemicals in them, what are some healthy remedies to protect yourself from the sun but still get the benefits of sunlight?
- If you’re still set on using sunscreen to protect yourself but don’t want to expose yourself to the chemicals, there are a lot of natural sunscreens out there you can use to protect yourself.
- Shield yourself – Always come prepared with a hat or umbrella when you are going out into the sun. Also don’t be afraid to wear a long sleeved shirt or pants.
- Build a good base – Try and avoid going to the tanning salon before the summer starts like you may have done. Try spending smaller amounts of time out in the sun until you have built up good sun resistance to it.