With all the conflicting information about sun protection there is confusion and controversy about what to use for a sunscreen. I have come to the conclusion that no sunscreen is better than any sunscreen at all and I adhere important guidelines to prevent getting sun burned.
Here are the 8 reasons why I never use sunscreen:
1. Where is the proof?
The FDA, the National Cancer Institute and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have concluded that the available data does not support the claim that sunscreens alone reduce the rate of skin cancer (FDA 2011a, IARC 2001b, NCI 2011) The FDA states it is,
" …not aware of any studies examining the effect of sunscreen use on the development of melanoma."
2. I’m not afraid of the sun.
According to the National Cancer Institute, The rates of melanoma have tripled since 1970. The cause of this deadliest form of skin cancer is mostly blamed on exposure to the sun, yet there is decreasing number of people going to the beaches during the summertime each year and a higher rate of skin cancer. Despite all the bad press linking sun exposure to skin cancer, there's almost no evidence at all to support it.
3. Sunscreens are toxic.
In the past 30 years Sunscreen sales have increased by about 40 times. http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/sunscreen-manufacturing.html
Most SPF sunscreens (FDA approved sunscreens) contain chemicals that have been linked with causing cancer chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Oxybenzone is added to almost 70 percent of all sunscreens. Experts assert that oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer. "Mineral" sunscreen ingredients (zinc and titanium) usually contain micronized- or nanoscale particles of those minerals, which are known to be toxic and disruptive when absorbed in the human body. Free radicals are released as toxic sunscreen chemicals break down in sunlight. Plus- people who rely on sunscreens have a false sense of protection and tend to burn, and burns are linked to cancer.
SPF sunscreen products reduce or prevent natural Vitamin D production. Vitamin D is produced by our skin's response to UV radiation primarily through sun exposure and when using a sunscreen that UV radiation is blocked. Vitamin D is vitally important since it affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body. A healthy supply of vitamin D promotes bone growth and prevents illnesses such as breast and colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders, depression and it reduces the spread and reproduction of cancer cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
6. Sun exposure can help prevent cancer.
To the surprise of many, studies have shown that sun exposure helps prevent skin cancer. Here is an example where the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation of short wavelengths (UVB) has been linked to a decreased risk of melanoma in this study of outdoor workers compared to their indoor counterparts. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19155143
7. I trust nature.
There are natural alternatives to toxic sunscreens. Some of the oils I use to take care of my skin both in and out of the sun are: Red Raspberry seed oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil and shea butter. These oils can provide the best of both worlds by allowing the production of Vitamin D while offering protection from the burning rays of the sun. They also contain a slew of healthy for the skin nutrients such as: Vitamin E, polyphenols, Vitamin C., Vitamin A, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These natural oils also have healing properties including: anti-inflammatory, protection from skin from cancer, wound and scar tissue repair, anti-aging, prevent fine lines, moisturize and preserve healthy radiant skin.
8. The sun is healthy.
There are countless benefits to exposing your skin to the sun without SPF sunscreen products impeding the natural assimilation process. Here are some of the benefits:
-Enhances mood and energy by the release of endorphins
-Treats skin diseases, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and scleroderma
-Enhances skin barrier functions
-Induces nitric oxide (NO), helping to protect your skin against UV damage
-Promotes wound healing
-Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Important guidelines for healthy sun bathing:
- Gradually increase your exposure to the sun. Start with 10 minutes and then gradually increase your time in the sun every day. As your skin produces more melanin (what makes you tan) your skins natural protection level increases.
-Keep well hydrated before, during and after time spent in the sun.
- Eat a diet high in fruits, veggies and whole grains. Animal protein, animal fats and junk foods may enhance your cancer risk while in the sun.
- Avoid using soap within 24 hours of exposure. (I recommend avoiding it always) Soap is alkaline and strips the natural protective outer layer of your skin called the acid mantel. Every time you wash using this sudsy, foamy, stuff it completely washes away your sebum (the natural oil your skin produces), which is, the best sun protection there is.
- Use natural oils like Red Raspberry to protect and nourish your skin before, during and after exposure. Dehydrated skin burns very easily. It is important to use skin care products that are naturally hydrating. Avoid any product that contains mineral oil since this is a toxic petroleum derived ingredient and it dissolves your skins sebum. Reapply your natural oil product every hour and always after a swim.
-Get out of the sun immediately if your skin begins to feel tight or dry and look pink.