What’s In Your Sunscreen?

Skin, it the largest organ of your body and can soak up anything you put on it! If you wouldn’t eat it, why would you lather it all over your body? Many common sunscreens contain ingredients that when absorbed through the skin can have some mighty toxic effects, such as disrupting your hormones, causing allergic reactions or skin irritations, releasing free radicals when exposed to sunlight and some have been linked to cancer. Don’t forget, if it’s harmful to you it’s also harmful for the environment!

Summer is a time to be outside and staying in the shade can be tricky! It’s important to be mindful of the toxins in sunscreen and remember which toxic ingredients to watch out for. With so many options to choose from, I am sure you are wondering which one is the safest. While shopping for sunscreen for my upcoming vacation, I took a look at many different options. I decided on All Terrain’s AguaSport SPF 30. It scores a 1 on EWG’s site meaning that it is very low in toxicity, not too shabby!

Toxic ingredients to avoid in sunscreen

Para amino benzoic acid, Octyl salicyclate, Oxybenzone, Cinoxate, Dioxybenzone, Phenylbenzimidazole, Homosalate, Menthyl anthranilate, Octocrylene, Methoxycinnamate, Parabens, Fragrance and Retinal palmitate (a form of vitamin A).

What to look for in a sunscreen

  • There are 2 types of sunscreen, non-mineral and mineral. Mineral based sunscreens are recommended. These typically contain zinc or titanium, do not breakdown in the sun, and are not absorbed through the skin. They are also more effective at blocking UVA rays, which are the most damaging rays.
  • Non-nano products. These products do not have the smaller particles which can be absorbed into the skin.
  • Unscented or essential oil based fragrances.
  • Broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

Tips for time in the sun

  1. Spend 15-20 minutes in the sun every day! The sun is essential for a healthy body and needed to produce vitamin D in the body – which is important for the immune system, to help fight cancer, and our improve our mood – just to name a few.
  2. Don’t wait until you burn to cover up, start to cover with light clothing or seek shade before your skin starts turning pink!
  3. If you have fair skin or will be spending long periods of time outside, choose a low toxin sunscreen such as the All Terrain brand.
  4. If you do get that dreaded burn, a combination of aloe, coconut oil and vitamin E helps sooth the skin!
  5. A diet high in antioxidants helps to protect your skin before and after exposure!
  6. If you avoid sunlight all together, it’s important to take a high quality vitamin D3 supplement such as the Designs for Health Vitamin D Supreme.

For more information on the dangers of sunscreens and to learn more about safe products, visit the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Sunscreen Guide.