A word about sunscreen….

It is time for sun and everyone is talking about what works, what is safe and the difference between chemical and not chemical. We have sorted out the question marks and given some examples below. There is nothing better than a t-shirt and a hat and below are some surprising truths about sunscreens:

1. There is no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer

2. There is some evidence that sunscreens might increase the deadliest form of skin cancer for some people

3. There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they are better

4. Too little sun might be harmful, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels

5. The common sunscreen ingredient vitamin A may speed the development of cancer

Mainstream or “chemical” sunscreens work by using chemicals to absorb UVB and UVA rays. Drawback: People are sometimes sensitive to the chemicals.

*Natural or “barrier” sunscreens use the active ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to form a barrier between the skin and the sun. Drawback: Natural sunscreens often look really white and thick when you put them on and take a while to absorb (not always the best look, I admit). Chemical sunscreens with synthetic active ingredients need time to be effective — up to 30 minutes. That’s because chemical sunscreens have to soak into the skin before they begin to work. Furthermore, sunscreen chemicals have been found to pass through the skin and mimic the effects of estrogen, which may disrupt the delicate balance of the body´s natural hormones.

So, are natural sun screens completely safe? The shocking truth is the fact that both chemical sunscreens (avobenzone, methoxycinnamate, padimate-o and the like) and physical sunblocks (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) have been found to generate free radicals when exposed to sunlight, which then can attack the nuclei of your skin cells and cause mutations. That´s right: they can cause skin cancer.

So… what to do, well our advice is to use natural ones, they are for sure better than the chemical ones, in our opinion BUT don’t rely on them. A healthy and sound approach is the absolute best thing.

Finally, don’t believe what the marketing and labels say – below is an example:

Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50

Hawaiian Tropic’s website claims “Less Chemical Sunscreens” for this baby sunscreen stick. Truth is, it contains two chemicals to that don’t belong on a baby’s skin – the hormone disruptor oxybenzone and a form vitamin A called retinyl palmitate. A recent federal government study shows retinyl palmitate may speed up the growth of skin tumors.

The final straw? The UVA protection factor for this sunscreen is less than 10 – a far cry from the 50 SPF plastered on the package.

EWG (Environmental Working Group) top-rated sunscreens all contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choice for people who are looking for the best UVA protection without any sunscreen chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A and none are sprayed or powdered.

We of course have a natural sunscreen at Grand and NK, The Organic Pharamcy. I use it myself!

//Anna

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