If you’re like me and enjoy the warm rays of the summer months, but are concerned about the risks associated with sun damage and skin cancer, look no further! Here are some “sun facts” I bet you didn’t know!
1. Sunscreens do not provide all-day protection. Sunscreens offer users a false sense of security, often fooling them into believing they can stay in the sun longer than if they didn’t apply sunscreen. According to Dr. Steve Taylor, a New Zealand physician and sunscreen expert, “No one should think that their sunscreen gives them anything more than two hours protection at best. “Sunscreens give us a false sense of security that we are protecting our skin from the suns raging rays when, in fact, we’re encouraging more of them! As with most everything, over-indulgence is not a good thing … sunbathing included!”
2. UVB rays are needed for Vitamin D. UVB rays are beneficial for converting the cholesterol in the skin into Vitamin D, a vitamin necessary for bone health and immune function. If we’re concerned about the sun’s rays, then why suggest the sun? That is because Vitamin D is found in very minimal quantities in food. The best time to get the benefits of UVB rays are before the hours of 9 am. and after 4 p.m. Dr. Brian Clement of Hippocrates Health Institute recommends at least 30 minutes during those times—daily.
3. Sunscreens contain chemicals that are unsafe. Sunscreens and sunblocks were created to protect us from the sun, but in doing this, affect other parts of the body. They contain numerous chemicals that not only disrupt the endocrine system, the thyroid and the immune system, but interact dangerously with the rays from the sun. Sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and generate “free radicals.” Remember, we combat free radicals with antioxidants) Free radicals interact with and damage the skin, which can sharply increase the risk of skin cancer. There are many chemicals used as ingredients in sunscreen, including the troublesome oxybenzone, but none are safe. Looking for a safer alternative? Try a sunblock instead. If you get confused like I do, think of it in these terms: Sunscreens are absorbers, while sunblocks are reflectors. Sunblocks, especially those including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are highly protective; they block UVA ultraviolet light by reflecting radiation off the skin’s surface.
4. Avoid sunscreens with nanotechnology (penetration enhancers). Nanotechnology is a development where nano-particles are able to penetrate human skin more rapidly and much more deeply. The use of nano-particle titanium dioxide and zinc oxide has not been studied long enough to know if there is a known health risk, but research on animals suggests that nano-particles evade some of the body’s natural defense systems and accumulate in the body. Two chemicals used to filter ultraviolet rays—octyl-methoxycinnamate and benzophenone 3—are penetration enhancers that cause the sunscreen to soak into deeper skin layers after application leaving the top skin layers vulnerable to UVB radiation and reacting to UVA light in those deeper layers to generate again, those damaging free radicals.
5. Never use a spray sunscreen. The Food and Drug Administration announced last month that it was investigating the potential risks of spray sunscreens. Of particular concern is the inhalation of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. While a good protectant from the sun, the FDA is investigating the damaging effects to the lungs, especially for children. All dry-mists have been taken off of the store shelves until the FDA investigates further. Good riddance! They’re nothing but air pollution!
Bonus tip: Concerned about all the talk over sunscreens? Try sun-protective clothing instead. Solumbra a sun-protective line of clothing, created by Shaun Hughes after he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, offers 97 percent from UVA and UVB rays, without the controversy!
Written by Laura Bushey, MAT, Certified Health Educator and Personal Holistic Chef with Kitchen of Life. To find out more helpful tips find us at: www.facebook.com/kitchenoflifewellness.
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