Could Your Sunscreen be Unsafe?


We all know that too much time in the sun can have negative effects on our health. UV rays may speed up the skin aging process and contribute to skin cancer. While spending about 20 minutes in direct sunlight will be beneficial in allowing your body to create some greatly needed vitamin D and boosting your mood, you will want to use caution and protect your skin if you plan on being in the sun for any longer. Before you start slathering on your regular sunscreen, make sure to check the label. New research is indicating that sunscreens are typically loaded with toxic chemicals that could potentially cause more harm to your body.

Sunscreen Ingredients

The FDA has approved 17 individual sunscreen ingredients. Most of these are chemicals that are used to absorb or reflect UV light and of these, 9 are known endocrine disruptors. As you rub sunscreen onto your skin these ingredients are absorbed into your bloodstream and travel throughout your body without being detoxified by the liver. They can be detected in urine, blood and even breast milk for up to 48 hours after applying it just once, and it is often recommended to apply multiple applications as most sunscreens lose about 90 percent effectiveness after two hours.

These endocrine disruptors negatively affect hormone activity which can lead to multiple health problems. They have been known to interfere with regular development of fetuses and small children, as well as the natural process of puberty. They are even linked to infertility. These ingredients may put your endocrine system at risk and may even increase your risk of certain cancers as the sunscreens that absorb UV light will actually encourage free radicals to form.

What to look for when shopping for sunscreen

The next time you are in search of a sunscreen check the labels and ensure that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the main active ingredients. These ingredients are minerals that are finely ground and act to sit on skin and block the UV light as opposed to absorbing it. Dr. Arthur W. Perry, MD, FACS, recommends using a micronized zinc oxide sunscreen of SPF 15 every single day and SPF 30 if you will be outside for a long period time. Use an ounce over your body and reapply every 2 hours.

There is no debate that you need to protect your skin if you will be exposed to sunlight for any extended period of time, and in these summer months you want to take extra precaution to keep the skin of you and your loved ones safe. Fortunately, there are alternatives to the standard chemically ladened sunscreens and you can rest easy knowing that your skin and your body will be healthy year round.


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