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Dangers of Conventional Sunscreen

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Ready for Summer

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I spent the last 6 days on South Padre Island, TX on the beach, by the pool, riding my beach cruiser, playing volleyball and SURFING!!! My first time ever to surf and I am so completely addicted. I am such a water bug. I was a competitive springboard diver in college and water just feels like “home” to me! Riding waves on a surfboard, even better!! I can’t wait to get back to the ocean and do it again!!

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Spending 6 days at the beach = major sun time. It’s very important to protect your skin but did you know that most conventional sunscreens are quite toxic and even include ingredients that can speed up the development of cancer-related skin issues?

“No federal regulations for sunscreen

Like other beauty products, the FDA has no regulations for sunscreens, meaning manufacturers are under no legal obligation to disclose their ingredients or prove any claims made on product labels. So while that “waterproof” sunscreen you plucked off the shelf says it offers “all-day protection,” it’s unlikely that the manufacturer can back those claims up with solid evidence.

Misleading SPF claims

When buying sunscreen, you’re more likely to reach for a product offering SPF 75 than SPF 30, right? Because the higher the number, the more protection it offers, right? Not exactly. Many conventional sunscreens offer SPFs up to 100, but studies have shown that SPFs higher than 50 don’t offer any more protection—and could even lure consumers into a false sense of security and cause them to apply sunscreen less often. Don’t fall for the numbers game. SPF 30 sunscreen is adequate for most people. Just remember to apply it every two hours!

Cancer accelerant

Many conventional sunscreens contain a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate that can speed up the development of cancer. Sunscreen manufacturers use vitamin A for its antioxidant, anti-aging properties, but this compound also has photocarcinogenic properties, meaning it can cause cancer-related tumors and lesions when exposed to light.” – source

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Here are some helpful tips to help you chose the best non-toxic sunscreen:

“Avoid spray or powder suntan lotions with nano-scale zinc oxide.

Micronized and nano-scale zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreen provide strong UVA protection, and while these ingredients have not been found to penetrate healthy skin, powder and spray products are inhaled. You can actually inhale these small particles and they can potentially damage your lungs. The EWG is unclear as to the extent of damage nano-scale oxide causes but much of Europe is currently phasing out its use according to EWG.

Avoid oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone, on the other hand, is a widely utilized ingredient that rates poorly due to high absorption through skin, high rates of allergic reactions, and growing concerns about hormone disruption. Some animal studies indicate we should be concerned about oxybenzone because it is found to have weak estrogenic effects in fish. What some experts suspect happens is that the body interprets the presence of the chemical as some sort of hormone according to EWG. Numerous other studies have linked oxybenzone to health concerns including endocrine disruption, cell damage, and cancer.

Avoid fragrance.

As with other cosmetic products it’s best to avoid fragrance unless the fragrance is plant based. A loophole in federal law doesn’t require companies to declare any of the dozens of toxic chemicals that a single product’s fragrance mixture could contain. Artificial fragrances, which frequently contain phthalates, can also trigger allergic reactions and other health problems. Be mindful of the hidden dangers that “fragrance” or “parfum” listed on ingredients labels can pose, and always choose fragrance-free products.” – source

So which sunscreens are the best? Here are a list of my favorites:

  1. Badger Company, Sport Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 35 – Great for activities like biking, surfing, volleyball, etc.
  2. Dr. Mercola, Natural Sunscreen with Green Tea, SPF 30 – Another great one for activities but will turn the skin white due to zinc oxide. I recommend applying in thin layers.
  3. Alba Botanica, Even Advanced, Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 – EXCELLENT for the face, goes on nice and smooth. Moisturizes and smells fab! Great for everyday use
  4. Alba Botanica, Coconut Dry Oil with SPF 15 – Sometimes you want to get your tan on and this stuff will do the trick! It’s coconut oil infused with SPF 15. I LOVE this stuff! Gives you a nice even tan without burning and also hydrates the skin to prevent future peeling or dryness. BONUS: It smells like a tropical paradise – Simply awesome!
  5. Monoi Tiki Tahiti, Coconut Oil – This stuff smells amazing and although it’s infused with sunscreen I typically use it as an after sun moisturizer. It is SO hydrating and feels absolutely amazing on sun-kissedskin! Smells great, feels great, what’s not to love?!

You can find most of these products at your local health food store or for the best prices, check out iherb.com. They’ve got the best prices and fast shipping – they ship to over 180 countries, including APO addresses! Feel free to use my discount code WAG472 to get $5 OFF your first order + free shipping on orders of $20 or more!!

Happy (safe) Sunning!!

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13 Responses to “Dangers of Conventional Sunscreen”

  1. Anonymous May 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Thank youuu 🙂 I was looking for the right sunscreen for sooo long already 🙂

  2. Anonymous May 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    thank you Linda! I was just reading another article about the acceleration of cancer…..freaky. I appreciate the suggestions on the sunscreens.

  3. Lisa May 31, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Do you have any suggestions for baby sunscreen?

    Also, I just looked up the Alba sunscreen on EWG Skindeep and the rating is not very good (6). Badger gets a great rating (the baby one too) but I know nothing about the brand. Might give it a try. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Linda May 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

      Badger would be great for adults and baby. I know the Alba one does not rate as well but when it comes to my face I have to go with something that won’t make me breakout. Alba is pretty clean, not perfect but the best I’ve found for MY skin. I’ve got to be realistic, so it’s a trade off. If you find something better please let me know!

  4. Anonymous May 31, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Linda, I wanted to share with you and many others what Mary Kay has to offer.
    Mary Kay® Sun Care Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30*

    Yard work, daily errands, vacations – now you have UVA/UVB protection for everything under the sun. Very water-resistant and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes, Mary Kay® Sun Care Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30* is a lightweight, oil-free sunscreen for face or body. Enriched with antioxidant vitamins and free-radical scavengers, it absorbs quickly, leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized – part of a total Skin Wellness® regimen. If you are interested let me know, I will greatly help.

    • Kathy June 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      One of Mary Kay’s first ingredients is OXYBENZONE!!!! Clearly you are more interested in selling this terrible product than reading this article. Mary Kay is one of the worst offenders when it comes to ingredients-that’s why they try to keep most of them hidden-hence they aren’t shown to the public.

  5. Kibby May 31, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Thanks, LINDA! Very helpful! With my outdoor work – landscaping – I am always wanting to protect my skin but at the same time use a product that is BENEFICIAL to it. I’ve been using coconut oil and it has helped. will look into the #4 recommendation! I have noticed that the cleaner I eat, the less I sunburn – and I have light complexion. Glad you had a fabulous time PLAYING – much deserved! XOXO

  6. Yadsia @ShopCookMake May 31, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this. The other day I needed to but sunscreen and had no idea what was safe enough. So I ended up buying one that I’m not even sure what’s in it. I’m going to buy one from the list you provided after some more research.

  7. Pem May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Very informative & just in time for me. Thank you!

    • Linda May 31, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      you’re welcome! 🙂

  8. Lillian June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I must be in the water to beat the Texas heat! I use the Alba sunscreen but I’ve never seen the dry oil spray. I love anything coconutty, so I’m about to splurge on some iherb. Can’t wait to sniff the Monoi Tiare Tahiti, sounds yum.

  9. Lisa June 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Thanks Linda!
    It always shocks me that the goverment never tells people this information and still allows such harmful toxins and chemicals into products let alone claim they have to use them for their saftey.
    Its appalling , so thank you for looking out for us and spreading the word!
    Lisa x

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