Over the last few years, the dangers of sun exposure have put a scare into all of us who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. With melanoma, the most lethal kind of skin cancer, on the rise, the FDA urges us to slather on sunscreen any time we will have skin exposed to sunlight.
But is this need for sunscreen truly as urgent as they claim or are the chemicals in popular sunscreen brands causing more harm than good? Is sunscreen healthy or harmful?
According to scientific studies, melanoma fatalities actually decreased after spending time in the sun’s UV rays. Another proof that sunscreen isn’t as helpful as we are lead to believe is that melanoma sores often occur on skin that has not been exposed to the sun. In fact, it’s been confirmed that workers who spend their days outside have fewer cases of melanoma than indoor workers, which proves that lots of time in the sunshine has protective effects on the skin.
So, what harmful effects does sunscreen have on us?
Is sunscreen healthy or harmful?
First of all, common commercial sunscreens block our ability to absorb natural sunlight, which allows our bodies to produce Vitamin D. Our bodies need Vitamin D to reduce our body’s ability to ward off 16 different types of cancers, including breast, prostrate, lung and ovarian. Clearly, Vitamin D deficiency is a serious issue.
And of course, many commercial sunscreens include toxins that, rather than protect us from harmful sun rays, penetrate our skin to cause cancers we are trying to avoid! For example, oxybenzone, a common chemical in sunscreen, has been found to cause hormone disruptions and cell damage that leads to various forms of cancer. This chemical absorbs into the skin, enters the bloodstream and wreaks havoc. Oxybenzone acts as estrogen in the body; it impacts sperm production in animals and has been connected to endometriosis in women. And this is just one of the toxic chemicals found in most commercially-sold sunscreen.
So what are sun lovers to do? Well, luckily, there are alternatives!
- Invest in a safer sunscreen: One that utilizes zinc and titanium minerals instead of oxybenzone. These mineral particles block the sun’s rays without penetrating the skin and don’t interfere with your body’s ability to use the sun’s rays to produce Vitamin D. We have three favorite options for non-toxic sunscreen
- Cover up: If you are going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, rather than applying more sunscreen, even the safer type, cover up exposed skin with a hat, shirt, and long pants or go sit in the shade for awhile. I have a giant beach hat that I love!
- Add coconut oil: Who knew that applying coconut oil before enjoying time in the sun could moisturize and protect your skin from premature aging? There’s no end to the benefits of coconut oil! I love this brand of coconut oil, and if you use coupon code: REALFOOD at checkout you will save 10% off your entire order!
- Eat your veggies: And other healthy, raw foods. Since they provide the omega oils your skin needs to protect itself from sunburn, which is after all, one reason to wear sunscreen in the first place. All of those yummy antioxidants found in vegetables also help your body fight off free radicals caused by sun damage. Just another way vegetables keep us healthy.
Have you been wondering is Sunscreen Healthy or Harmful? Are you going to take a second look at your current method of sun protection? Or have you already been using some great non-toxic methods? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!