Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pick Your Sunscreen

Well, well, well..... After a long hiatus, I'm chiming in again! The beginning of 2011 left me sort of busy with other things and for some reason this blog wasn't on my priority list. Scaling down, de-cluttering my life, meditating and yoga were taking precedence. Less "talk" and more listening, feeling, and observing served me better at that time. I'm still working this balance of course, but I definitely feel like talking again! I want to share lots about meditation, yoga, stopping your mental chatter and finding inner peace/happiness (or whatever you want to call it). However, it's summer and I need to talk about sunscreen ASAP!!!!!!

Shocking news-- Europe makes better sunscreens! They have more filters to choose from when making their sunscreens to protect from skin damaging, wrinkle causing, cancer causing UVA radiation. They also don't use dangerous hormone disrupting chemicals like we do.

Allow me to begin with why the heck you should care which sunscreen you choose. Let's consider your skin. It's your biggest organ, and although it's a very nice barrier and protective layer, it absorbs what we lather onto it via little capillaries into your bloodstream. You should really consider ingredients in skin products the same way you consider ingredients you ingest when eating. I'll also give my personal disclaimer that I certainly don't have a perfect record when it comes to some less than desirable things my body is exposed too....however, on a whole I make informed choices that tend to be kind to my body and the planet. To be honest, I care WAY more about decisions that affect our kids than us adults. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: kids are way more susceptible to toxins. Whether it be pesticides or sunscreen chemicals, when "safe levels" are being tested, they are not testing these levels based on a 40 lb 5 yr old, they are basing these doses and levels of exposure on the average 150 lb adult. This makes a huge difference. I can't help but be concerned when I think of potential cellular damage or genes being "turned on" by some of these environmental toxins, increasing their chances for autoimmune disorders, cancers, asthma, etc. In my non panic mode, I understand we can't protect them from every toxin or every potentially harmful chemical, so I really don't go crazy about it all. However, like Oprah says, "when you know better, you do better", and I know what chemicals to steer clear from for my children. We know the body has a difficult time removing non biological chemicals from the body-- The research is in, listen to it.

So here it is. I'll try to be concise here-- what you want and what you don't want in a sunscreen.

You absolutely do NOT want: (in order of avoidance)

Oxybenzone- This is my number one. It's a known hormone disruptor. It's linked to allergies and cellular damage. It actually enhances skin penetration, aiding in the absorption of other chemicals as well! Also look for these alternative names/chemicals causing estrogenic effects- Benzophenome, Homosalate, Octinoxate.

Vitamin A- Don't use a sunscreen with added Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that can slow skin aging and wrinkles. Great, right? Not so much. Unfortunately, it's now known that in the presence of sunlight is speeds the growth of skin lesions and tumors. According to the Environmental Working Group it's added to 30% of all sunscreens. Look for other names for Vit A-- Padimate O, Parsol 1789.

Parabens- These chemical preservatives are in everything! They are potential hormone disruptors.

What you DO want is a mineral sunscreen.

Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide- These are physical barriers, not absorbed into the skin with good protection from UVA rays. Some people don't like that it stays white on the skin. This brings about a slight problem with the new non white, absorb-able mineral sunscreens. Nanotechnology reduces the size of the particles so these sunscreens go on clear instead of white. The question remains if these nano-particles are now absorbed and if so, what are the health concerns if any? The Environmental Working Group states that 15 peer reviewed studies showed these particles did not absorb in healthy skin.

So, Nanomaterials or hormone disruptors??? Go old skool with white zinc oxide!!!
Second up is nanotechnology for sure. Definitely no sprays either, stick with lotion. (Convenience comes as a cost here.)

Look for Tinosorb S in future sunscreens. It's pending FDA approval. It's been used in Europe for years and has no hormone effects.

In the meantime, here's my favorite au naturel sunscreens--

* Eco Logical Skin Care ****my choice for this summer!***
No nanoparticles!
* California Baby (no fragrance)
* Badger Sunscreen (unscented) No nanoparticles!
* Kiss My Face Natural Sun Stick -comes in blue, pink and white! Mineral sunblock in fun colors! Best for noses and cheeks.
* Think Baby

You can buy any of them on Amazon!

Happy Summer!!!