Sunscreen: What you need to know.

On June 18th, 2012 the FDA’s new sunscreen regulations are going to be going into effect. These regulations have compliance dates of 12/17/12. Do you know what to look for in your sunscreen?

Here comes the sun.

The sun isn’t just our enemy, it’s also our friend. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D, which is a necessary nutrient that many people are not getting enough of. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, strengthens our bones, boosts our immune systems and it regulates over a thousand different genes governing virtually every tissue in our body. It also aids in warding off many different forms of cancer, most specifically breast, ovarian, colon and kidney.

For most people, your body can make enough Vitamin D by hanging out in the sun, unprotected, for 10-15 minutes several times a week. This is how our family operates, although I admit that I NEVER go out into the sun without sunscreen on my face.

The sun sends out two different rays. UVA and UVB.

UVA rays cause cancer.

UVB rays are the ones that give you vitamin D, and a sunburn.

The hidden dangers of Sunscreen!

Sunblocks (now called sunscreens under the new FDA regulations since they can’t really “block” the sun) unfortunately contain chemicals that can be harmful to you. The EWG estimates that 60% of the sunscreens on the market contain hormone disrupters. These chemicals, like Oxybenzone seep into your skin and enter into your bloodstream. Octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA) , Benzophenone-3 (Bp-3), Homosalate (HMS) , Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC) and 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC) develop as free radicals in our bodies.

Another chemical that the EWG warns about is Retinyl Palmitate, which is in 41% of all sunscreens. Retinyl palmitate is a form of Vitamin A that when exposed to the UV-rays it increases your chances of developing skin cancer.

PABA, Dioxybenzone, Oxybenzone, and Titanium Dioxide are toxins that are also carcinogens.

Be wary of sunscreen in aerosol form because consumers can unintentionally be inhaling the chemicals into their lungs, causing harm.

Studies have found that prolonged sun exposure with sunscreen actually increases your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Just because you’re lathering the sunscreen on, doesn’t mean you get to hang out in the sun for long periods of time.

Sunscreens are also causing harm to our environment. A shocking discovery made by the National Geographic shows that our sunscreen chemicals are killing coral reefs all around the world.

So what should I look for?

Make sure your sunscreen covers both UVA and UVB rays.  Aveeno Active Naturals is a great brand that has it all.

Make sure your sunscreen’s protection is SPF 30 or SPF 50. Anything less is inadequate.

The “friendlier” sunscreen ingredients are most easily found in children’s products. These are Zinc Oxide (best on the nose, lips, tips of ears, and other most exposed areas), and Avobenzone (3% is the best UVA protection). Titanium Dioxide is a less of an evil culprit when you have to add in another ingredient.

Also, don’t forget the value of a hat, sunglasses, light colored/long sleeved clothing, and enjoying the SHADE!

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