Updated: Jul 29, 2020
For many years I was the poster child for turning into a lobster at the very minimal sun exposure!
I was always lathering myself up with some of the highest SPF and basically just hoping for the best. I noticed over the past few years since I started eating a more nutrient based diet, my skin no longer burned the way it used to. I was actually able to maintain somewhat of a tan, and if I felt like I was no longer burning out in the hot sun.
Since diving into learning so much more about how important it is to know what ingredients we are putting IN and ON our bodies, I wanted to do some more personal research on sunscreen. My findingd lead me to make a decision for our family to no longer use these standard products due to the list of potentially dangerous ingredients in them!
For decades, Americans have been told that sunscreen use is critical to prevent lasting skin damage and skin cancer from sun exposure. But the FDA has not ensured that the ingredients meant to provide such protection have been adequately tested for safety and efficacy.
Based on existing test data, the agency’s proposal recognized as safe and effective just two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
The FDA proposed that 12 other active ingredients commonly found in sunscreens, including oxybenzone, need additional data from safety and efficacy tests. Those ingredients are used in about 50 percent of the sunscreens available for purchase. The FDA requested the same data that the agency requires for ingredients used elsewhere in the world that companies want to use in U.S. sunscreens..
The FDA’s proposal also recognized two active ingredients, PABA and trolamine salicylate, as unsafe, as suggested by the available scientific literature.
New sunscreen tests from the FDA show that with just a single application at the beach or pool, six commonly used chemical active ingredients were absorbed into the body and continued to be absorbed through the skin for days or longer.
What is most alarming about these findings is that chemicals are being absorbed in significant amounts and have not been adequately tested for safety.
Nearly three weeks after applying sunscreen, it was still possible to detect the chemicals that had not yet been absorbed into participants’ skin. Levels on the skin went down significantly in the days between the first and third weeks, but most likely because the sunscreen was absorbed into the blood.
One major chemical of concern is Oxybenzone and for these reasons:
1)Oxybenzone is allergenic.
2)It is absorbed through the skin in large amounts.
3)It has been detected in human breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine and blood, which means its being highly absorbed and stored by the body
4)It is a potential endocrine disruptor.
5)Children may be more vulnerable to harm from oxybenzone than adults “because of the potential for higher absorption and bioaccumulation.”
In addition, there is the concern of spray sunscreens. Even as of recent, the FDA proposed that all spray products undergo additional safety testing.Sunscreen sprays pose an inhalation risk and may not provide an adequate coating on the skin to ensure proper protection. The number of sunscreen sprays on the U.S. market has been increasing, and more than a quarter of the sunscreens in this year’s guide are in spray form.
The FDA proposed that all spray and powdered sunscreens be tested to ensure they cannot be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they could do irreversible damage. In pilot testing, the agency found that three of 14 sprays would not meet its proposed standard but did not say which products consumers should avoid. The Environmental Working Group recommends that consumers avoid all spray and powder sunscreen products. The EWG also recommends that consumers avoid products that claim an SPF higher than 50+.
Some additional points to take into consideration:
The skin is the body’s largest organ. More importantly, “Substances placed on the skin can penetrate into the underlying tissue and eventually reach the blood stream.”
Most sunscreens contain toxic synthetic chemicals that are linked to various health issues.
500 of the most popular sunscreens may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer. via the Environmental Working Group
There’s no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer.
The FDA has only approved one sun-filtering chemical – avobenzone. What about the rest of the ingredients?
German researchers found that sunscreens might negatively affect the thyroid.
Our bodies need safe sun exposure, which allows us to naturally produce our own supply of vitamin D.
Normal and safe sun exposure is beneficial, not harmful.
So, what happens now when you plan to have prolonged sun exposure? There is a lot you can do to be preventative!
Eat Well – A nutrient-dense diet, void of trans-fats and polyunsaturated fats and higher in omega-3 fatty acids can help the skin protect itself. Also incorporating
Proper supplementation- Rough, dry and prematurely aged skin is a telltale sign of vitamin A deficiency, which often first manifests as rough, raised skin on the back of the arms.Vitamin A is critical to the repair process, including repair from sun burn and damage from toxins. Vitamin A increases the thickness of the epidermis, especially the granular layer (the portion of the epidermis that produces horn cells)
Dress Well – A hat and longer sleeves protect the body without any needed sunscreens or chemicals! For the kids we usually don't go out until later in the afternoon to the pool. If we plan to spend a full day outside, they all have rashguard swim shirts they wear to cover up properly.