Last week I blogged about foods you could incorporate into your diet to naturally protect your skin. I feel as though that is really important because I also feel as though getting some time in the sun is important as it’s the only true source of Vitamin D. I recommend getting 20-30 minutes of unexposed sunlight each day.
If you read that as an invitation to sunbathe without any sun protection for hours on end, you would have read wrong. Each year, more than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the US alone. Outside of the 20-30 minutes daily, it’s crucial that you are protecting your skin.
There are two things you want to be blocking from your skin: UVB radiation and UVA radiation. Almost all sunscreens on the market will do this efficiently.
Here’s the issue: most of these products are packed with chemicals and other worrisome ingredients that yes, may protect you from UVB and UVA rays, but will mess with other areas of your body. It’s like eating pesticide-ridden kale.
Here’s what you don’t want in your sunscreen:
- Oxybenzone: This chemical contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans! It’s extremely toxic and can mess up your immune system, disrupt your hormonal system and cause allergenic effects. It can also interfere with cell signaling, lead to cell death, mess with your endocrine system and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.
- Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate): This is a naturally occuring substance that is essential for a healthy metabolism but too much exposure is incredibly toxic. It can cause cell death and mutations, form tumors and may even boost skin cancer risks.
- SPF 50+: Recent studies have shown that SPFs over 50 are incredibly misleading and potentially dangerous. A high SPF leads you to believe that you can stay in the sun for much longer with equal protection. One study found that SPF 50 protected against 97% of sunburn-causing rays and SPF 100 protected against 98% of sunburn-causing rays- the difference is minimal. The high numbers are a marketing gimmick- your best bet is to apply SPF 30 and reapply every few hours.
True health means being aware of the toxins everywhere. So often, we flood our insides with goodness and then pour toxic chemicals on our outside. These items aren’t as regulated as the food industry and we usually have no idea that our soaps, lotions and fragrances are riddled with toxins and damaging chemicals.
I love these four natural suncreens:
- Keys Solar RX 30+ SPF
- Jason Sunblock 30 SPF
- Badger Suncreen SPF 30
- Alba Sunblock 30 SPF
These products are not too expensive and will keep you truly protected.
Learning to treat your outside as good as your insides is not always easy but it’s equally important. Every day I discover new places toxins are hiding and we can truly never be too careful with our choices. And remember, when it comes to the sun, after 30 minutes, coverage is key. Sometimes a hat and a t-shirt is the best option!