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How to Make Sure Your Sunscreen Isn’t Causing More Harm than Good

I first became weary of sunscreen on a trip to Miami with an ex-boyfriend’s family.  The sun was crazy hot on the beach and my boyfriend’s father, a chemist, never put on sunscreen.  Curious, and a bit humored by his quirkiness, I wanted to know why.   He responded “I don’t put that crap on my body.  I’d rather have the sunburn.”  A professional chemist who refused to put on sunscreen because of the “crap” – my eyebrows rose.

Turns out, he was correct in his concern.

Most sunscreens are loaded with chemicals that disrupt hormones and can even promote free radical damage in our body.   Some reports show that many sunscreens actually RAISE our skin cancer risk. (1)

So here is a brief rundown of some sunscreen ingredients and formulas to especially look out for:

Oxybenzone is a chemical common in sunscreens that is linked to hormone disruption and may play a role in cellular signaling and mutations.  It can absorb through the skin in significant amounts and according to the CDC, it contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans. (2)

High SPFs can be very misleading in that they offer marginally better protection from sunscreen and disrupt the balance between UVA and UVB rays.  Essentially, high SPF’s may be a couple percentages better at preventing sunburn, but are no better and possibly worse at suppressing other types of sun-damage – think skin cancer and wrinkles.   Additionally, these products may have higher risks to health because they require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals.

Spray sunscreens are convenient, especially for your little ones anxious for some pool time.  But there is pretty conclusive evidence that they are not worth the risk due to the potential dangers to the lungs when inhaled. (3)

For the last few years, I have been extremely conscious about the amount of time I spend in the sun.  For normal summer days, I rarely wear sunscreen so I can get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.  (Check out this post if want to know Vitamin D health benefits).

When I am out in the sun for longer periods of time, I make sure I get some umbrella time and always wear a hat.  When I do apply a sunscreen, I make sure it is mineral based with either non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

My number one choice is Beautycounter’s Protect All Over Sun Screen (it’s Allure’s and one of EWG’s favorites as well).  I am a consultant for Beautycounter and choose Beautycounter because there is no other company as transparent and strict in their ingredient selection process.  Period.

If you’d like to try the Protect All Over Sunscreen, you can order this on my personal website here (skincare ->sunscreen) or if you already shop with a Beautycounter consultant, please use their link to purchase 🙂

Happy – and safe – sunning!

xo, Brooke

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