It’s that time of year again… time to stock up on sunscreen…
But before you do, did you know that your sunscreen could be doing you more harm than good? In this article I want to focus on why you should consider ditching your sunscreen.
Popular belief says that the sun is dangerous and that to avoid cancer and premature aging we should wear sunscreen. Not surprisingly, many of us still think that our best defence against the sun is sunscreen.
But here’s the thing… these very same products could actually cause us more damage. All of the conventional sunscreen products have harmful chemical ingredients that bake into our skin as we toast away in the sun. Some of these ingredients can actually cause more skin lesions and even cancer. Many of these chemicals also act as oestrogen in the body which may be the cause of many of the hormone-based concerns that are increasingly popular.
Here’s a list of the most harmful ingredients found in these products:
- retinyl palmitate or vitamin A
Now here's why you should go in the sun without protection:
Sunshine is good for us. In the right amount sunshine is actually essential - it makes us feel good by increasing our serotonin levels, gives our skin a beautiful glow, it is also energising and healing, but more importantly it helps our body produce vitamin D.
This vitamin - also called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is actually more of a hormone than a vitamin. Vitamin D plays a key role in almost all our physiological functions and is absolutely vital to vibrant health. It prevents most cancers, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, depression and seasonal affective disorder, ah and it decreases risks of winter flu.
The best way to receive this vitamin is through the sun, but most of us are deficient because of no sun exposure during the winter and too much sunscreen in the summer. Here’s the thing, when you slather SPF all over your body you actually block your body’s ability to produce vitamin D.
The most effective way to produce vital levels of vitamin D is to expose large surfaces of skin such as chest, arms and legs for 15-30 minutes everyday, without protection. If this is not possible for you, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.
So here are some strategies for safe sun exposure:
- build up tolerance to the sun gradually without sunscreen
- when you start to feel the burning sensation on your skin (your body telling you "enough sun") get in the shade or cover up with a nice hat or a shirt
- when you are going to be in the sun all day use a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen
- after sun exposure apply aloe vera or coconut oil to nourish your skin
- avoid the harsh sun between 1 and 3 pm
- and don’t forget to protect your delicate eyes with sunglasses
Important: avoid getting burned at all costs!!!
And this is what you can eat to protect your skin:
- antioxidant-rich food such as berries, grapes, cacao and goji berries
- yellow, orange and red foods such as tomatoes, carrots, oranges, bell peppers, turmeric, ginger, salmon, shrimp, etc.
- coconut oil and grass-fed butter
- drink matcha and green tea for its powerful antioxidant activities
- take a good quality omega 3 supplement that has EPA and DHA
Any product that has a long list of chemical ingredients that I don’t recognise or can’t even pronounce is enough to make me avoid it completely.
In this modern life our bodies are bombarded and burdened with toxic chemicals all the time. Some of the exposure to these toxins is beyond our control and unless we live an isolated life somewhere remote we will be constantly in touch with toxicity through polluted air, cigarette air, chemical cleaning products and off-gassing building materials, just to name a few.
Fortunately, there are other toxic things such as beauty products, food and water where we have more control over. We can greatly reduce our exposure to these toxins by optimising what we eat, drink and apply on our bodies - this includes sunscreen.
After all, the problem is the accumulation of toxins overtime, so minimising the toxin load on the body will result in a healthier and happier body.