While it will be a long time before the hot, summer days come, it`s still not too early to begin thinking about the way in which we can protect our skin. Coating the skin with sunscreen is the key option for most people and this is not surprising at all given the marketing campaigns that encourage them to do so. But, although we desperately need protection to avoid sunburns, blocking out the skin is not a good idea. While the sun offers many health benefits for the body, such as supplying it with enough vitamin D, we still fear it and choose to cover ourselves in hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Multiple studies have shown that what we put on the skin rapidly ends up in the bloodstream. Sunscreen in particular has been studied by many researchers worldwide, who assessed its ingredients and their effects on the body after application. According to a study done at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada, there is a notable penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin, which means that all of the chemicals contained in the sunscreen eventually end up in the tissues within the body.
Another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has found that once participants swapped conventional personal care products for cleaner products experienced a notable drop in hormone-disrupting chemicals in their bloodstream. These chemicals include triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and oxybenzone, all of which are typically found in sunscreens.
It turns out that we need to be quite concerned about the ingredients used in sunscreens, despite the fact that most studies are funded by corporations who profit from the sale of these products, which makes the studies themselves pretty much irrelevant. But, just think of the recently published study that revealed that Johnson & Johnson had been using cancer-causing ingredients in baby powder and you`ll see how concerning this issue is.
But, although the public is kept in the dark and there are only a few trustworthy studies, as the one mentioned above, we still know that the most ingredients found in sunscreens are toxic. Here are some of them:
This chemical is probably the most troublesome of all, as it is associated with cell damage, hormone disruption, and cancer.
As reported by the Environmental Working Group:
Commonly used in sunscreens, the chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.
A study done at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Zurich found that it may mimic the effects of estrogen within the body and thus encourage the growth of cancer cells. Another study published in e Journal of Health Science by the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan has determined that UV stabilizers in sunscreens exhibit estrogenic activity in an MCF-7 breast cancer.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate)
According to a study done by the U.S government, retinyl palmitate may accelerate the development of skin tumors when applied topically in the presence of sunlight. As reported by the National Toxicology Program, “Retinyl palmitate was selected by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for photo- toxicity and photocarcinogenicity testing based on the increasingly widespread use of this compound in cosmetic retail products for use on sun-exposed skin.”
This term refers to various detrimental hormone-disrupting chemicals outlined in this article, such as phthalates, parabens, and synthetic musks.
Sun Exposure Can Protect You From Cancer
A few studies have already confirmed that the adequate amount of sun exposure can protect against skin cancer. Humans need sunlight exposure for vitamin D. While a few studies have linked sunburns to melanoma, the truth is that the skin becomes less resistant to sun over time, building a natural immunity. As a matter of fact, it has been scientifically shown that people already diagnosed with melanoma who received greater amounts of sun exposure than did others who received less actually had a lower mortality rate.We are designed to receive sunlight, and the only thing that can be done to prevent sunburns is using natural sunscreens. It is important to understand that the sun offers a wide range of health benefits, so using natural alternatives ensures you are reaping these benefits safely!