Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

Before you head to the beach, the pool or just a day outdoors you might want to take another look at the sunblock you are using.   The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its 6th annual Sunscreen Guide. The guide rates over 1,800 sunscreens that are on the market. The surprising news is that while the sunscreen that you are using may be protecting you from being burned to a crisp, the chemicals used to make it may be harmful and may not be protecting you from skin cancer.  I hope you will check out EWG’s website, but here are a few of my top concerns and safer options

Sunscreen Concerns:

  • Oxybenzone, a known hormone disrupter. This means the chemicals interferes with our bodies’ natural hormone system by imitating them.  Oxybenzone penetrates the skin which is particularly dangerous for kids because they absorb more of the chemical in comparison to adults because children weigh less.
  • Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol Palmitate). Many government studies show that this ingredient may speed the development of tumors or lesions.
  • Spray Sunscreen can be difficult to apply consistently enough to offer protection, particularly if you are spraying it in a windy area.  Conversely, if you are spraying in a closed area, inhalation of the spray is of growing concern, again particularly with kids.

Safer Choices:

  • Look for Sunscreens that contain Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. Both of these chemical do not penetrate the skin as easily and provide broad spectrum protection
  • Use a sunscreen with a lower SPF, Yes you read that correctly – use a lower SPF, anywhere from 15SPFto 30SPF. Anything that is rated higher adds protection that is inconsequential.
  • Reapply more often and USE MORE!  For your sunscreen to be effective you should be reapplying every 2 hours or after swimming, toweling off, sweating.  Many times we aren’t using enough sunscreen when we are applying. The correct amount is about an ounce.  *Remember that sunscreen blocks Vitamin D absorption. Most people in the US are Vitamin D deficient and may need Vitamin D supplementation. Consult with your doctor
  • Wear Protective Clothing:  Hats, shirts etc offer better protection than your sunscreen.

Check out these links:

EWG Sunscreen Guide

Best Sunscreens

EWG’s website allows you to search for your sunscreen and see where it rates. I’ll be throwing out my shimmer sunscreen and finding something safer.

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