Your sunscreen contains these toxic chemicals

Dr. Chris Bantock, DC

We know Vitamin D synthesis is decreased with sunscreen use, but that still means we should be protecting our skin when we go outside for long periods of time.  So what should we look for in sunscreens that perhaps we should sway away from and what are better alternatives to many of the sunscreens out there?  I will summarize Environmental Working Group’s guide to sunscreens for 2015.  I recommend clicking the link at the end to see how your sunscreen fairs.

Nearly 80% of the sunscreens on the market will have some potentially toxic ingredient in them.  Those ingredients include oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, pthalates, and parabens.  I say potential because research says they may or may not be harmful when used in sunscreens.  However, if there is a better option that doesn’t have a large question mark next to it, I am more apt to choose that one.  These potentially toxic chemicals are endocrine disruptors that effect endroncrine glands such as estrogen receptors and thyroid receptors.  EWG recommends using sunscreens that are more mineral based such as those containing zinc oxide which still provide great protection without the potential hormone disrupting problems.

How to Choose A Sunscreen:

1) SPF between 30 and 50, greater than 50 SPF does not show more benefit
2) Avoid sunscreens with VItamin A (retinyl palmitate), oxybenzones, parabens, pthalates (fragrances)
3) Protection from both UVA and UVB rays

Additional protection and common sense approaches should be to wear a hat, cover up, wear sunglasses, and to find shade.  Just because you put on sunscreen, even if you are very consistent with it, doesn’t mean you are going to prevent skin cancer.  Your body has its own mechanism to deal with toxic effects of the sun.  So don’t forget to give your body the healthful phytonutrient rich foods, exercise, and relaxation that it needs.

To compare your sunscreen and to look at EWG’s recommendations or sunscreen guide click here.


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