Now that summer is here, the sunscreen industry makes its biggest profit because everyone are in need of protection from the sun rays, so they can carelessly spend their day on the beach.
However, the most recent reports from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Consumer Records suggest that a number of conventional sunscreens may be harmful for both children and adults. Due to this type of reports, some chemicals were immediately banned in certain formulation.
Why do we need to look at sunscreen safety?
As doctors and media outlets are constantly recommending using sunscreen as a protection form sunburn and the dangerous UV-rays, sunscreen sales have significantly risen over the last decade. Unfortunately, as recent reports have shown not all sunscreens are made the same and some may even be harmful.
What most people are not familiar with is the fact that there are two ways a sunscreen can protect your skin, using either with a chemical or mineral barrier.
Avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, octisalate and octinoxate are among the most commonly used in chemical-based protection. The ability of these chemicals to cross further into the skin and tissue has sparked many questions as:
- Can these chemicals cause hormonal imbalance, especially in children?
- Are there allergy or long-term reactions to these chemicals?
Mineral sunscreens work by providing a physical barrier for protection of the skin and are usually made of ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These mineral options are approved by the majority of dermatologists because they have proven to be a safe option for both children and individuals with sensitive skin.
Moreover, there is wide range of mineral sunscreens that provide water-resistant protection from UVA and UVB rays. However, we recommend reading the labels before you buy the product because not all of them share the same abilities.
Lack of testing
Over 1 400 sunscreens have been tested and sadly only 5 percent of them met the safety standards.
Recently spray options have gained a lot popularity but there must be used with caution. Doctors advice not to use these products on children and for adults to be careful not to inhale the spray and also not to spray on the face. Another disadvantage of spray options is that they contain methylisothiazolinone, which has been named as “allergen of the year” by American Contact Dermatitis Society.
According to the latest reports of EWG the first brand to avoid use of hormone-disrupting chemicals and high concentrations of oxybenzone is Neutrogena.
Safest sun exposure: Cover up
For those who are concerned about the harmful sun rays and want to keep their skin safe the best options are to avoid the sunscreens listed as harmful or unsafe by the EWG and insure they cover up before being exposed to the sun.
Having been faced with loads of misleading information on the internet about sunscreen, the best solution is to avoid sun damage by wearing longer sleeves, wearing a hat and trying to stay in shade as much as possible.
Another disturbing fact is that recent studies have shown that some chemical sunscreens can carry a bigger risk than moderate sun exposure. Therefore, making sure to read the ingredients of the sunscreen before you purchase is an absolute must.
Insure internal sun protection
Supporting your body internally is another important step and you can achieve this by avoiding foods that increase inflammation, as:
- Excess sugar
- Processed vegetable oils
- Processed grains
Making sure to include foods and healthy fats that support skin health is also crucial for internal sun protection.
- Take ¼ a cup of coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea per day. Saturated fat and Medium Chain Fatty Acids are protective against burning and insure new skin formation.
- Take about 2 000 mg of vitamin C a day. Not only is vitamin C a potent inflammatory, it is also good for your immune system.
- Take about 5 000 IU of vitamin D3 per day. Optimizing blood levels od vitamin D is a good way to insure sun protection due to vitamin D having a protective effect against sunburn.
- Astaxanthin, regarded by many as an anti-ageing supplement, according to numerous conducted studies can act as an internal sunscreen.
Bottom line of sunscreen safety
As we have already mentioned many sunscreens offer a false safety and may do more harm than good, solely because of such reasons it is important to be responsible with sun exposure. Avoid using chemical and spray sunscreens and keep in mind that it is always better to go for the mineral options and remember to always check the ingredients listed on the package.