Sunscreen: Friend or Foe?

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Warmer months are on their way!  I have a strong belief that sun protection should be worn daily, and most health organizations agree that you should do this even if it’s cloudy.  Do I put it on every day?  Nope, I forget on a pretty regular basis, but we all have to change in our own time and work on our downfalls.  Despite not always doing what I should, I do still acknowledge that I should be wearing it daily.

Whether you use it daily or only when the sun threatens to crisp up your skin like some overcooked southern fried chicken…at some point you are going to want to use it, especially on the delicate skin of your kids!  The problem is that these days sunscreens and sunblocks are chock full of all kinds of scary chemicals.  Hoping for examples?  Well aren’t you just in luck, I totally have examples!

Oxybenzone
This ingredient is highly absorbed into the skin and there are concerns that it may cause hormone disruption.  Numerous studies have also found health concerns including endocrine disruption, cell damage, and cancer caused by oxybenzone.  In 2008 the CDC did a study that revealed that 97% of Americans are contaminated with oxybenzone.  There was another study linking it to low birth weight in girls born to mothers who were exposed to oxybenzone during their pregnancy.  Even though we’re talking about sunscreen, be aware that this potential hormone disrupter can be found in other products such as moisturizer, perfume, lipstick, conditioner, and anti-aging creams.  If you are replacing your sunscreen with a more natural brand, be sure it includes at least 7% zinc oxide in place of this ingredient.  Zinc oxide creates a barrier on the skin for UVA/UVB rays rather than absorbing into the skin.
For more information on this toxic ingredient check out http://www.ewg.org/analysis/toxicsunscreen

Artificial Fragrance
If the fragrance in the natural sunscreen you find is from plant sources then you should be good to go.  However, if it’s just listed as “fragrance” or “parfum” it isn’t mandated by federal law to have to say that it contains any toxins if it does.  Some artificial fragrance ingredients have possible cancer risks and are known to cause allergic reactions.  If you’d rather be safe than sorry then you can either make your own sunscreen or you can always choose a natural alternative that is fragrance free!

Now that I have you trembling in your flip-flops it’s time to put your mind at ease and let you know of some great alternatives to these nasty chemicals!  I love doing just about anything homemade, so when I found out that you can do this for sunscreen as well I jumped aboard the train and began researching.  Well, because that’s what us internet moms do!  I haven’t tried any of these out myself, but I’m going to link you all to some sites that include recipes for homemade sunscreen.  Some of my local mom friends over at Jacksonville Natural Mamas swear by homemade sunscreen, and I encourage them to post a comment here with their own recipe if they want to share :).

http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Sunscreen/
http://wellnessmama.com/2558/natural-homemade-sunscreen-recipe/
http://www.easy-aromatherapy-recipes.com/homemade-sunscreen.html
http://www.crunchybetty.com/ask-crunchy-betty-homemade-sunblock-and-skin-protection
http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2009/01/homemade-sunscreen.html

 

Now if you’re not the make-it-at-home type person there are always options out there that don’t contain nasty stuff in there.  If you check out this link: http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2011sunscreen/all-sunscreens/
Some of the top picks include:

Hara Body Care Sport SPF 30
BurnOut Kids Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30+
Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Green Tea Sunscreen, SPF 30+ 
Adorable Baby Clear Baby Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+

 

At that link you can also type in the brand you buy and see how it stacks up to some of the higher rated ones!

Well, that’s the end of another post.  Hope it helped someone out there, and hope to see some great feedback to this one!  Keep safe mamas and other folk too :). 

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