Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sunscreen...Yay or Nay?

So a few years ago, I got turned on to the Environmental Working Group (EWG for short).  EWG is a "non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment."

They have a great website ( that has become famous for a bunch of helpful info, including their.... 

  • Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics, where you can find out if your soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, lotions, and makeup contain toxins, allergens, immune system disruptors, carcinogens, or other nasty stuff

  • National Tap Water Database, where you can find out what's really in your water

  • Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, where you can find the "Clean 15"  (foods low in toxins and pesticides) and the "Dirty Dozen" (foods high in toxins and pesticides) so you can make good choices about what Organic produce to buy and where you can save some money and buy conventional
Related image

So...sun exposure.  

We all know that the sun's rays can be excess they can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, burning, scarring, loss of skin elasticity, as well as a host of other issues.  

So knowing this, as an intelligent human being, anytime I was heading outside I'd slap on the highest SPF sunscreen I could find and then bravely bare my skin to the scorching summer sun, confident that I was fully protected!  

But now, with new research, I'm finding that I may have been duped by sunscreen marketing!  😕 

Image result for neutrogena ultra sheer spray

That sunscreen that I was relying on so heavily may not have been as protective as I had thought.  AND, on top of that, many sunscreens contain disruptive (or even toxic) chemicals that can leach into our bloodstream.  Eek!

So EWG did a lot of research about sunscreen.  I read through it.  I've pulled out a few quotes/ideas that kind of hit me....I'm wondering what your thoughts are?

  • "Rates of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the Food and Drug Administration itself – have found little evidence that the use of sunscreens in isolation from other sun protective measures prevent most types of skin cancer. Read more."
  • "Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that combats skin aging. But studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight.... Yet the sunscreen industry continues to add vitamin A to beach and sport sunscreens and other products with SPF."
  • "Nearly every sunscreen sold in the U.S. claims to offer “broad spectrum” protection, which suggests they shield against harmful UVA rays. But many products are too weak to be sold in Europe, where standards are higher."
  • "Sunscreen is designed to be applied to large portions of the body, several times per day. Sunscreen ingredients soak through skin and can be detected in human blood, urine and even breast milk. Several commonly used ingredients appear to block or mimic hormones, and others cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin."

Hmmm.  So sunscreens (exclusively) may not protect against skin cancer?  Companies are adding ingredients that could mess with our hormones and produce allergies?   Ingredients are leaking into the bloodstream?  Some of the sunscreens are too weak to provide UVA protection?  Ugh!  

So now what?  

Don't worry.  All is not lost.  

Everybody has to make their own decisions based on the knowledge they have at the moment.  For me, I'm OK with small amounts of time in the sun (I need my vitamin D and the mood boost, after all!), but on those days when I know I'm going to be out there for awhile, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve (even if it IS a short sleeve!).

So, if I'm going to be outside in the sun for a long time...

  • I DO wear sunscreen and I DO follow the advice of EWG and choose sunscreens that are less dangerous and more effective.  
  • I go out early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is a little weaker
  • If I'm out midday I'll throw on a baseball hat, sunglasses, a light long sleeve shirt or whatever I can find to add a little layer of protection
  • I find a good, shady tree to sit under

How about you?  What tricks do you use to protect yourself from the sun?


No comments:

Post a Comment