So now that the weather is getting so summerlicious the need for suncreen has come in to effect.
Over the years we have had this constant reminder that too much sun exposure is bad for our health so we avoid damaging our skin by applying sunscreen. Our children are probably the most likely to be smothered in sunscreen because we want to protect their delicate skin, right? But the real question that has been on my mind lately........
Is it realy all that helpful ?
Protection from the sun is important (I get that) but the chemicals we put on our skin can be very harmful, especially to our children. I don't know about you but have you ever really taken a look at the ingredients list in the products we are putting on our children?
Over the years the skin care industry has had to increase the level of chemical compounds in sunscreen in order to raise the sun protection factor (SPF) level. Upon the absorbtion into the skin, sunscreen can actually form the dangerous compunds it was meant to block causing negative substances that lead to skin cancer.
In addition to the cancer risk is the effect that common sunscreens have on the develpoing child. Many sunscreen chemicals have estrogen-like effects. Children's organs are more sensitve to these estrogen exposures and can develop abnormalities.
Limiting our exposure to the sun, especially between the hours of 10-4 when that sun gets super hot and seeking out more healthy skin products that don't contain dangerous ingredients are possible solutions for us to consider. But let's not forget that sun exposure is a GOOD thing. We need sunlight for good health and being in the sun for a short time without sunscreen poses no real dangerous threat. I mean as long as your being sun smart (not at peak times, wearing a hat, protective clothing, seeking shade when needed etc...) you really don't have much to worry about.
So with all that said.... what exactly do we need to avoid when choosing a sunscreen? Here are some nasty ingredients that we want to stay away from:
Benzophenone (benzonphenone-3), hemosalate, and octy-menthoxycinnamate (octionxate):
These chemicals are bad news because they have shown estrogen activity in lab tests. Oxybenzone is aderivative of benzophenone and its linked to allergies, hormone disruptions and cell damage.
To read more on this chemical click here
Parabens ( butyl-,ethyl-,methyl-, and propyl-):
These are preservatives that have estrogenic qualities. They have produced hormonal effects following on laboratory rodents, partically male, resulting in decreased testosterone levels and othe abnomalities. The have also been found to accumulate in the breast tissue of woman with breast cancer.
Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone):
While on the surface of skin these chemicals appear to prevent UV damage but whe absorbed intot he skin thay can damage DNA. There is evidence that the sun's light may cause these chemicals to become reactive and cause free-radical damage when they are absorbed.
This is not widely used anymore because many people were very sensitive to it and ended up wth red, itchy skin.
In general any zinc oxide and titanium are good choices as they scatter and reflect the sun's rays rather than absorb them. When sunscreens leave white streaks on the sun there is a less risk of the substance actually absorbing into our skin.
I have also recently heard about something called Nano particles, these are particles of small dimensions that leaverage the unique physical properties that chemicals exibit at the nanoscale. Thus making the zinc and titanium oxide in sunscreen go on clearer and smoother. The changing properties often result in unpredictable changes in toxicity that are not yet understood. The problem here is that companies don't even label the use of nano particles or any safety information.
To read more on these nano particles press here .
So with all that said I would highly consider checking out the sunscreens we are currently using on our children and ourselves. I had no idea the risk I was putting my child under when I was using the common Coppertone baby sunscreen. Just take a trip to the local pharmacy and check out all the common ones; Banana Boat, Coppertone, Nivea, Aveeno, Neutrogena, Hawaiian tropic, Kiss my face, this list can go on for days.
I recently took a trip to my local health store and purchased Badger All natural mosturizing sunscreen ( I really like!) for my little one.
There is also an organization called Environmental Working Group.....check out the 2010 guide to sunscreen.
Okay...so this post only took me about a week to write (lol) my children have been super CRAZY lately. So there might be some parts that are a bit rush rush, I truly had a lot more to say but the most important information is there for you. I just had a moment to finish this post.....and there goes they little one crying for her mommy, so I have to say bye bye for now.