Now that summer is upon us, it’s that time of year again to make sure we’re picking out a healthy sunscreen!
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Vitamin D is not one chemical, but many. The natural type is produced in the skin from a universally present form of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol. Sunlight is the key: its ultraviolet B (UVB) energy converts the precursor to vitamin D3. In contrast, most dietary supplements are manufactured by exposing a plant sterol to ultraviolet energy, thus producing vitamin D2. Because their function is almost identical, D2 and D3 are lumped together under the name of vitamin D — but neither will function until the body works its magic.”
Did you know that certain chemicals in sunscreens are considered photocarcinogenic? This means that when these chemicals are exposed to light, they become a cancer-causing agent. So it is very important to understand sunscreen, its benefits, and what to look for in sunscreen ingredients. The most natural, and least harmful, ingredients to look for in your sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are commonly found in mineral sunscreens, a good healthy sunscreen option. Mineral sunscreens are made without hormone disrupting chemicals. However, make sure you read the label! Often brands will sell their sunscreens with mineral advertisements, but will include chemical filters in combination with zinc oxide.
The chemical filters that are commonly found in sunscreens can affect hormones. The most common chemical filters used as “active ingredients” in sunscreens include: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. The FDA has not found enough data to determine whether or not many of these ingredients are safe. The active ingredients are very important, but arguably more important are the inactive. They are not listed at the top of the labels, and typically make up 50 to 70 percent of the sunscreen. The most hazardous ingredient to watch for is methylisothiazolinone, which is a skin sensitizer or allergen. This can cause irritation to skin, especially in products that are left on the skin, such as sunscreen.
While it may seem daunting to find the right sunscreen, there are alternative options if you’d rather avoid it altogether. The first option may seem obvious, but wear the appropriate clothing. If you are trying to avoid excessive sun exposure, wear clothing that covers more of your skin to protect yourself. Also, stay in the shade as much as possible to help reduce excessive contact with the sun.
Another option is to slowly build up a healthy tan. Our bodies are designed to naturally protect from sunburn by slowly tanning over time. While it may seem fun to sit out on the beach all day long, especially after our long Wisconsin winters, it is better for your body to gradually tan. Your body builds a natural resistance to the sun this way. Limited sun exposure before covering is the best alternative in order to avoid burning and damaging your skin.
Are you interested in boosting your natural health care routine this summer? Take advantage of our $40 online special to come in and see our office! Your first visit includes a complete health consultation, muscle and neurological assessments, and the doctor’s report of findings. Schedule your first visit with us today!