It may seem like second nature to apply sunscreen before going outside. This is preventative health, right? Wrong. Using sunscreen is not a good way to limit your sun exposure. Many scientists studying skin cancer have come to the conclusion that the use of sunscreen chemicals may be increasing the incidence of cancer. Chemical sunscreens have free radical generating properties. They also have strong estrogenic actions that could cause serious problems in sexual development and adult sexual function. With experts’ recommendations to apply generous amounts every few hours, you absorb a fair amount of toxic, synthetic chemicals. It is hard to believe these chemicals will not have any effect on our systems. As opposed to the long list of chemicals still allowed in sunscreens in the USA, in 1997 Canada changed the rules to allow only Avobenzone, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to be used as sunscreen in products. Here’s the information on them:
Avobenzone – the only chemical sunscreen allowed to be sold in Canada has questionable safety since it easily penetrates the skin and is a strong free radical generator. Check your labels. It’s in almost every sunscreen on the shelf.
Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide – physical sunscreens. These come in more than one form. Harmful and Helpful.
Harmful forms leave no white residue on the skin so, they are cosmetically pleasing. They are put into sunscreens in a “nano particle” form. Nano particles are named for their extremely small size (a human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide). Nano particles can pass directly from your skin into your bloodstream, tissues and cells. These particles are activated by the sun to produce free radicals and cause DNA damage to skin cells. Unfortunately, this is the form available in most sunscreen products.
Helpful forms are larger sized particles or “microionized” particles. These are forms that leave a white residue on the skin. If you think of the lifeguard with the white zinc oxide on his nose, you’ll get the idea. There are currently sunscreen products available that contain microionized zinc and titanium to block the sun combined with other ingredients that are antioxidants to the skin. These are not as thick as pure zinc oxide and therefore do not leave an obvious white shield on the skin.
Of course a sunburn is never good but, you should be getting a fair dose of sun on your skin daily. This is one of the best ways to get your Vitamin D which is essential to disease prevention and health. Sunscreens block your skin’s ability to make Vitamin D.
Have a Healthy Sun Plan
At the beginning of the season go out gradually and limit your exposure to 10 min per day. Progressively increase your time in the sun. The pigment melanin that develops in your skin is protective.
When you can’t limit sun exposure, spend at least 10 minutes in the sun and then apply a sunscreen that is chemical free and nanoparticle free (zinc and/or titanium dioxide based – like the one we have on sale at the clinic)
Cover up with a wide brimmed hat and clothing.
Omega 3 fats are important for prevention of a wide range of cancers. Make sure you are getting enough of the right one for you.
Eat plenty of whole fruits and vegetables to protect against sun induced damage
Supplement with a high quality antioxidant combo specific for your body.
To see if your sunscreen is safe visit: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/
Safe sunscreens are in stock and on sale for a limited time!
Kid’s and Regular Goddess Garden Sunscreens SPF 30 – Organic Version:
103 ml baby: $18 (reg $ 24)
103 ml cream: $15 (reg $20)
180 ml cream: $20 (reg $26)
180 ml spray: $23 (reg $29)
Have a safe and healthy summer!
Dr. Lisa Vecchi, Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Acupuncturist