Our skin is our largest and one of the most important organs of our bodies. We often abuse it by not realizing that it is porous and absorbs the chemicals that we apply.
Our take: If it’s not something you would eat, don’t put it on your skin!
Sunscreen in particular is something many people do not think twice about applying-despite the harmful chemicals because we’ve been taught to fear the sun rather than practice responsible sun safety.
Chemical sunscreen versus “mineral” sunscreen
Both must be re-applied and can wash off. Chemical based sunscreens such as Coppertone, Banana Boat, etc. work by “absorbing” UV rays. They contain hormone disruptors such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, etc. that have been linked to birth defects. These are toxic chemicals and skin irritants and should be avoided entirely.
“Mineral” sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These work by partially blocking rays. These are probably less toxic than “chemical” sunscreens but they are still absorbed into the skin, both “nano” and “non-nano”. Nano means particles of 10-20 nanometers. Non-nano means particles over 100 nanometers.
Many people think that zinc oxide sunscreens, especially the “non-nano” ones are not absorbed into the skin and are “safe”. This is not true.
Both nano and non-nano zinc oxide is absorbed into skin, which will show up on blood and urine test. What is shocking is that even several days after the initial application, the amount of zinc oxide in the blood can continue to increase.
Both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have been linked to an increased cancer risk. This occurs 2 ways. First, free radicals are generated by UV rays energizing the zinc oxide/titanium dioxide particles. "Zinc oxide may generate free radicals when exposed to UV (ultraviolet) sunlight," May says, "and those free radicals can kill cells."
Secondly, Zinc Oxide has been shown to increase cancer risk and cause DNA damage in cells due to its cytotoxic nature.
Finally, it is known that women absorb more zinc oxide than men through their skin. There is also a link between zinc oxide and ovarian cancer.
So what do we do?? What’s the alternative to harmful sunscreens?
God gave us an excellent feedback mechanism for how to know when we have had too much sun - we begin to burn.
Get to know your limits. Fairer skinned people burn more easily and need less sunlight than darker skinned people to generate Vitamin D.
Slowly increase sun exposure as summer approaches to build resistance.
The body can adapt and build some tolerance even if you are very fair skinned!
However, people with more melanin in their skin have greater tolerance.
Avoid getting burned.
Limiting exposure is the answer, not toxic sunscreens.
Wear hats and other protective clothing.
Sunglasses can actually cause people to burn more easily as they trick our pituitary into producing less melanin.
For a small amount of protection, try applying a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil, both are about SPF 8 and can keep the skin from overdrying which allows the skin to burn easier.
We also love Sun Shield from Earthley (Parsons10 for 10% off)
Remember, you still can get burned when you are in the water or the sky is overcast.
UV exposure increases 10% for roughly every 3,280 feet in altitude, so you will burn easier at higher altitudes.
Also, going into the ocean or other saltwater makes skin more susceptible to burning, so keep that in mind https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10089826/
Dehydration and alcohol also increase ease of burning.
Sunlight is essential for Vitamin D and Circadian rhythm among many other things, some of which we may not totally understand.
Sunlight is not a “bad” thing but it is essential for health and life! The propaganda from the sunscreen and makeup industries have equated sun exposure with cancer but the opposite is true. Getting proper vitamin D is one of the most proactive and protective things to prevent health issues, including cancer.
Alongside that, avoiding toxins in sunscreens is also very important. Instead, use protective clothing and limit exposure.
Overall, getting proper sunlight is one of the most health-promoting things you can do for yourself. The key is to not overdo it and know your limits. Sunscreens, like many man made things, are not better than the original design of God!