Sunscreen: Is it as safe as we are led to believe?

0127866001589905887.jpgIt’s that time of the year again…

hot and sunny weather has arrived in the Midwest, at least for a little while. 

During your participation in summer outdoor activities it may behoove you to be armed with a little bit more critical information when reaching for the sunscreen. 

While there are certainly some instances where sunscreen may be prudent, 

these products are widely overused and contribute to widespread Vitamin D deficiency. 

Did you know that In an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) pilot study, four commonly used active ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed into your blood at levels that could potentially pose health risks?

The four ingredients evaluated include: avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule. 

All four chemicals were found to enter the bloodstream at levels above the presumed “safe” level after a single day of application, and remained at high levels in the system for at least 24 hours after the last use.  

Think of the potential consequences for those using these products every day of the year.  

I know you are wondering, okay.. Well what in the world do I use then? 

It is a commonly held natural health expert’s opinion that if you follow sensible sun exposure guidelines to prevent burning, these products are rarely needed.  

One option is to get out of the sun or wear clothing the moment your skin starts to turn light pink. 

If that simply is not an option for you, Your best bet is a lotion or cream with zinc oxide, as it is stable in sunlight and provides the best protection from the UVA rays.

Remember that sensible sun exposure is ideal on a regular daily basis.  Here are five sensible tips for enjoying the sunshine safely:

1.       Give your body a chance to produce essential Vitamin D before applying sunscreen.  40% of the body should be exposed for short periods daily. 

2.     Stay out just long enough for your skin to turn the very lightest shade of pink.  Protect your face from the sun by using a safe sunscreen option or wear a hat, the skin on the face is thin and more prone to sun damage (premature wrinkling). 

3.      Keep in mind that in order for sunscreen to be effective, you must apply large amounts over all exposed areas of the skin.  This means that the product should not trigger skin allergies and must provide good protection against UVA and UVB radiation.  It should also not be absorbed into your skin, as the most effective sunscreen acts as a topical barrier. 

4.      Consider the use of an “internal sunscreen” like astaxanthin to gain additional sun protection.  In one study, subjects who took 4 milligrams of astaxanthin per day for 2 weeks showed a significant increase in the amount of time necessary for UV radiation to redden their skin.

5.     Consuming a healthy diet full of natural antioxidants is another highly useful strategy to help avoid sun damage.  Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and animal based DHA omega-3 oils in your skin, which are your first lines of defense against burns from the sun. 

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