At some point during the summer, you’re going to need to apply some sunscreen. Many of us don’t have dark enough natural pigmentation to protect us from burning after long hours in the hot sun. I’m an advocate of sun exposure, but never of burning since this always signifies DNA damage and cancer causing activity.
The scary part about sunscreens, especially the commercial kind that you see on most grocery and department store shelves unless marked otherwise, is that they contain a lot of chemicals that virtually make their sun screening abilities useless in my opinion because they are so loaded with other toxins that harm the skin.
One ingredient even may help accelerate skin cancer. I can’t even believe this ingredient is still ALLOWED in sunscreens. So let’s talk about this first ingredient. It usually goes by the name of retinyl palmitate in lotions and sunscreens. This is a form of vitamin A, and once the sun’s UV rays hit it, it can have an interaction with the UV light that actually helps create a cancerous environment.
This is perhaps one of the most critical ingredients to avoid (that is sheer opinion on my part). Another one to avoid all together is oxybenzone. This is a hormone disrupting ingredient and may even cause certain types of cancer due to its toxic capabilities once inside the body.
PABA is another substance to look out for in sunblock lotions. It has been removed from many of them today because so many people demonstrated a sensitivity to the compound, but it is still contained in some of the lotions and oils out there. Avoid this ingredient as it is a toxic and allergen-heavy ingredient for many.
In addition to these chemicals, you of course also want to avoid the “usual suspects” that you would hopefully avoid in any other body lotion or even facial lotion or cream. These include parabens and other synthetic or chemical preservatives, petroleums and mineral oils as these can contain toxic by-products, and of course all artificial scents and colors since these can contain any number of harmful compounds to make up that “fun scent”.
When it comes to protecting your skin from over exposure to UV light, the safest ingredient is probably zinc oxide since it sits on the top of the skin as a physical barrier rather than absorb in to the skin like so many other products can. This greatly minimizes any potential toxicity and the potential for toxicity for this particular ingredient is very low to begin with.