Do We really Need Sunscreen?
Does your sunscreen keep skin cancer away, or is it actually causing it? Lately there’s been a lot of information about how sunscreen can cause more harm than good. But why? Well, shockingly – ingredients matter!
Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.
Lab studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones or cause skin allergies, which raises important questions about unintended effects on human health from frequent sunscreen application. The most worrisome is oxybenzone, added to nearly 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in EWG’s 2016 sunscreen database. [Read the full article here for the Trouble With Oxybenzone and Other Sunscreen Chemicals on EWG’s website.]
Here are some tips to keep you safe in the sun, according to EWG – Sunscreen Should Be Your Last Resort:
- Wear Clothes: shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays, reducing risk by 27%.
- Plan Around the Sun: go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky.
- Find Shade – or Make It: Picnic under a tree or take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade, reducing the risk of multiple burns by 30%.
- Don’t Get Burned: Red, sore, blistered skin means you’ve gotten far too much sun.
- Sunglasses are Essential: not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation.
- Check UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent sun exposure.
If you’re going to wear sunblock, you’ll want to make sure it’s a SAFER mineral-based sunscreen, instead of chemical-based. If it works for my FAIR family, it can work for you!
Are you familiar with the EWG? If your not familiar with the EWG ratings, the website has a search engine of most products we use on our skin; such as makeup, face, and body products.
The EWG has a rating system of 1-10. 1 being great the products have low levels of toxin and harmful chemical exposures, as well as endocrine disruptions, and 10 being horrible! 10 means you might as well bathe in lead paint lol!
To learn more about the EWG’s rating system and how to use their web-data base to check your favorite products, you can click here to read more. They also have a handy phone app I use all the time when I am out and about in the stores shopping and want to try a new product out, but don’t know if its a “safe product” or not. I like to stay between a number rating of 1-3, these are numbers I feel safe/comfortable with. However you may feel comfortable with going higher depending on the product.
A good rule of thumb is; if it’s going to stay on your body for awhile (like sunscreen) you should stick with a lower EWG ratings. If its something like hand soap that you immediately wash off then it might be okay to go a tad higher on the EWG rating if you absolutely can’t part with that product.