5 Toxic ingredients to avoid in your sunscreen

Summer is in full swing and you know what that means?? Sun, beach and sunscreen. But before you slather on the Banana Boat or the Coppertone, there are many toxic ingredients that you could be putting on your skin.

As I have mentioned before, it is not just what you put in your body that you need to be aware of but also what you put ON your body when it comes to toxic chemicals.

First off, the sun is not our enemy. Now mind you, this is coming from someone whose birth sign is ruled by the sun and whose favorite flower is the sunflower, but also by a daughter whose father passed away from stage 4 Melanoma cancer. I was torn, I mean on one hand I couldn’t be away from the sun, always soaking it in, and then on the other checking every speck on my skin after I came in from the outside. It toys with the emotions, but truly the sun is our friend.

Some of the ways the sun is our friend:

  • Enhances the mood by the production of the feel good hormone known as serotonin

  • Improves the immune system

  • Produces endorphins which you know are responsible for promoting relaxation

  • Also helps the production of melanocyte-stimulating hormone responsible for skin pigmentation as well as contributing to sex-drive and appetite regulation

And of course the sun is our main source of Vitamin D which is needed for our immune system and studies show that in order to get the full effect of Vitamin D we need to be outside in the sun without sunscreen between 15-30 min depending on your skin color - hint, fair skin only needs 15 min in the sun.

But if you will be outdoors all day, on the beach or the boat, it is advised to protect the skin from too much sun. When you are looking for sunscreen there are a few ingredients to look out for and avoid, especially for hormones.

  1. Oxybenzone - this mimics estrogen in the body, but also interferes with testosterone production and even disrupts the adrenal hormones

  2. Octinoxate - most widely used UVB absorbing agent in sunscreen, it produces estrogen-like activity and may also target thyroid function. It has also been detected in breast milk

  3. Homosolate - another common UVB absorbing agent that acts like estrogen in the body. Studies show that homosolate increases the amount of pesticides we absorb through the skin - allowing more toxicity in our body.

  4. Parabens - an endocrine-disrupting synthetic preservative found in cosmetics including sun screen. Parabens can be tricky to find on labels, look out for the names like methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben.

  5. Retinal Palmitate (A form of Vitamin A) - You might think that vitamin A is good for my skin so what is wrong with this? Well according to EWG, Retinal Palmitate may speed the development of skin tumors or lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight

Again, don’t let these ingredients deter you from buying a good natural sunscreen and most definitely try and go outside in sunlight (without sunscreen preferably) as there are more benefits than not. For a list of clean sunscreen you can buy, go to EWG.org/sunscreen to find out the right one for you.

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