Pretty much everyone I’m kin to would rather be outdoors than indoors. It seems tan lines are in our genes, so there wasn’t a lot of importance around protecting our skin or wearing sunscreen while I was growing up. In fact, many of us have paid the price as we have aged. Freckles, sun damaged skin, and worst of all twice a year dermatologist appointments to get spots removed and checked for cancer are the effects of this lifestyle.
Sun Protection Priorities Change When You Have Kids
When I had Jock, I vowed to myself that this kid would be covered in sunscreen until he turned 18. First off, I chose 18 because I read that most skin cancer is contracted from a sunburn that you receive between 0 and 18. Source Secondly, he needs to be making wise decisions on his own by or BEFORE then.
The first time I went to buy sunscreen for Jock I was ordering online. There were sunscreen products from $3.00-$50, and this was all new to me. I didn’t even know where to start, so I began to research sunscreen to find out what I needed to use.
Spring weather has sprung, and the time has come to replenish our sunscreen collection. I want to share the highlights of my research, so you make informed decisions on your purchases. The information I included was information that I found repetitively.
The Sunscreen Information That Got My Attention:
#1. The Food and Drug Administration has not reviewed evidence of potential hazards of sunscreen filters – instead it grandfathered in ingredients used in the late 1970s when it began to consider sunscreen safety. Source
#2. Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. The most common sunscreens on the market use chemical filters.
#3. Chemical filters typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Source
#4. AVOID the chemical, oxybenzone if at all possible.
#5. Studies suggest that the chemicals found in chemical filters cause thyroid issues, skin allergen issues, and sex hormone issues in male and females contributing to sperm count reduction, reproductive organ growth/forming, issues, and endometriosis. Source
#6. Due to the chemicals used to cause the skin to absorb the product, traces of the chemical appeared in the breast milk of women who use the chemical products. Source
#7. Common chemical filters appear to be endocrine disruptors, and a large number of studies in animals and cells have shown that the chemicals affect reproduction and development. They alter reproductive and thyroid hormones, although the evidence seems mixed for some studies (Krause 2012).
#8. 40% of sunscreens are found as possible contributing factors to causing skin cancer. The Vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate, often used in sunscreens speeds up the growth of cancerous cells by 21%. Source
#9. Spray sunscreens cause more risk factors because we end up inhaling the chemicals. Many sources. Here is one.
#10. Many variables affect how much Vitamin D we need, so experts seem reluctant to give a definitive. But survey after survey suggests Americans are Vitamin D deficient. Researchers feel it is due to the skin cancer safety alerts over the last 20 years. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. We get our Vitamin D from the sun and a few foods. To read more on Vitamin D and thoughts on Vitamin D supplements see the site.
#11. Whatever type of sunscreen you decide to use, you need about 1 fl.oz. applied to the body every 1-3 hours. Whichever time the brand recommends. That is about the amount of a filled shot glass to give you a visual. source
#12. 1 in 3 diagnosed cancer cases is a form of skin cancer. Sunburns are BAD, so we have to take some kind of action to protect our families from the sun.
Call to Action
I’ve heard kids call it sunscream! By the time you get the suits on, apply the sunscreen, and get to the water… it is sunSCREAM! If not the kids, then the parents. In all seriousness, it is hard to know which is worse the chemicals or the sun, so the key is moderate and smart exposure.
As you can see, like most parenting decisions, we need to make informed choices that best serve our family using the information and results that studies produce about sunscreen, so I encourage you to research further on your own if you still have questions. I have provided some links below, so you can research further if you feel the need.
The first step is to check your existing sunscreen collection to see if it contains oxybenzone (hormone damage and linked to endometriosis), avobenzone (may damage sperm), octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, (previous 3 found in mother’s breastmilk) or octinoxate (hormone-like activity, reproductive/ thyroid/ behavioral alterations in animals), and look for retinyl palmitate, (speeds up the growth of cancerous cells). Then make a decision on whether you’re going to keep or dispose of your sunscreens accordingly.
Indeed, we would like to believe that we have a government agency who protects us and tells us the truth about what we put in and on our bodies. Unfortunately, this same agency did not enforce that cigarettes have labels to caution against cancer until almost 7000 research studies showed evidence of cancerous results! That’s not 7000 people. That’s multiple digit people in 7000 studies!
The Choices I Made After the Research:
Test your sun safety knowledge.
Other informative articles:
An article in Time Magazine: Is Sunscreen Safe? gives a nice overall synthesis of what we’re dealing with when making sunscreen decisions, and it is informative.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS