How to choose a natural sunscreen

Chemical sunscreens have filters that are shown to have hormone-disrupting and toxic properties.  Utilizing sunscreens containing these ingredients can perpetuate several skin conditions, infertility, allergies or cancers.

As we bid adieu to the winter blues, summer comes with warm weather and its own set of issues. Across the globe, the skin cancer rates are continuing to rise, predicting 132,000 cases of melanoma and 2 to 3 million cases of other skin cancers.

 

Protecting ourselves from the Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiations of the sun is becoming increasingly important. Along with wearing appropriate clothing and seeking shade from the sun, wearing sunscreen can go a long way in preventing skin cancers.

 

 

When choosing a sunscreen, gravitating towards a mineral-based sunscreen can be better for your health and the environment. Let’s find out how!

Protecting your health

 

Avoid chemical filters:

 

Filters are substances that protect against the harsh radiation of the sun.

Chemical sunscreens have filters that are shown to have hormone-disrupting and toxic properties.  Utilizing sunscreens containing these ingredients can perpetuate several skin conditions, infertility, allergies or cancers.

 

When choosing a sunscreen these are some ingredients you want to avoid:

Oxybenzone

Avobenzone

Octisalate

Octocrylene

Homosalate

Octinoxate

 

 

Choose physical filters instead:

 

Physical filters include:

Zinc oxide

Titanium dioxide.

 

These ingredients are safer for your health when compared to the chemical filters. Titanium dioxide provides extensive protection against UVB rays while zinc oxide provides extensive protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

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Avoid ingredients that increase sensitivity to the sun:

 

These ingredients are often added to sunscreens, however, may serve the opposite purpose. Ingredients that increase sensitivity to the sun can also increase the risk of getting a sunburn.

 

These are some ingredients that increase sensitivity to the sun

Vitamin A

Retinoic acid

Retinyl palmitate

Retinyl linoleate

Retinyl acetate

PABA

 

Protecting the environment

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In 2018, Hawaii banned the sales of sunscreens containing the following ingredients:

Oxybenzone or Octinoxate.

The two ingredients are extremely common in chemical sunscreens and have shown a direct or in-direct co-relation to bleaching of coral reefs. They have also shown to increase fish mortality in the ocean. Wearing sunscreens with these ingredients and swimming in the ocean is thus unsafe for the environment.

 

The bottom line – avoid ingredients that you have never heard of or are hard to pronounce. Chances are these are chemicals that are unsafe for your health and the environment. Stick to more natural, mineral-based sunscreens. Wearing protective clothing and seeking shade during 11 am to 3pm when the sun rays are harsh can be vital to prevention.

 

 

Tips to apply sunscreen

 

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  1. Apply sunscreen 15-20 mins before sun exposure
  2. Apply sunscreen thereafter every two hours
  3. Re-apply after swimming
  4. Re-apply after sweating too much
  5. Apply sunscreen on cloudy days as well

 

If you have questions about specific brands, please feel free to reach out.

 

 

References:
PMID: 30062106 , 30484882 , 29086472

 

 

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