Sunscreen: to use or not to use??

sunscreenI truly believe that sunscreen can be potentially good and a necessary accessory when I’m out for long jaunts in the sun, where a ball-cap and clothing fails to protect my barren white legs and wrinkle-prone face (think summertime at the beach). Skin cancer is a very real phenomenon, one which I dare not risk, especially having very freckled facial skin. I personally use an organic sunscreen made by Badger with just Zinc. I’m still up-in-the-air about using Titanium dioxide in a sunscreen, as it’s not known as of yet whether this could cause potential health problems. As stated on the Wiki website: “The safety of the use of nano-particle sized Titanium Dioxide, which can penetrate the body and reach internal organs, has been criticized.[36] Studies have also found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles cause genetic damage in mice, suggesting that humans may be at risk of cancer or genetic disorders resulting from exposure”  Nano-technology and nanoparticles could be a new incubus in itself! Technology may truly be our downfall, in the end. But I’d rather use a sunscreen that is mineral rather than chemical based. The question is, how does one know of it’s origins, unless the product is specifically labelled?

I find it difficult to unearth and believe research online that is factual, informative and above all truthful. How do I know that what I’m reading about is in fact trustworthy and not biased by the ever-motivating profit margin and vested interests of the author / company?  In the end, it comes down to being fully responsible for my own health, through education, cross-referencing ‘facts’ and continually learning, learning, and re- learning. The internet is marvellous for that. Having said that, I preface the below article as information to not necessarily take my word for (or Dr Mercola’s), but rather a start to your own investigation. I would love to hear your feedback and opinions on the subject, and any subsequent relevant fact-finding that you might do, on sunscreens and body care products.

Below is a lengthy excerpt from an article from the Dr. Mercola’s website. I don’t necessarily promote the Doctor’s views (which I find at times seem to be over-exaggerated and biased), beliefs, website or products, but I do find the article interesting.

It’s Time to Expose the Sunscreen Smokescreen!

I’m talking hundreds of sunscreens that I believe are toxic because they contain man-made chemicals … chemicals I believe can cause serious health problems and increase your risk of disease. Here’s why.

The main chemical used in sunscreens to filter out ultraviolet B light is octyl methoxycinnamate. OMC for short. OMC was found to kill mouse cells even at low doses.  Plus, it was also shown to be particularly toxic when exposed to sunshine. And guess what?

OMC is present in 90 percent of sunscreen brands!

But that’s not the half of it. A common ultraviolet A filter, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, has also demonstrated toxic properties.

Furthermore, several studies show that the chemicals commonly used in sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream. Not good. So…

If Your Sunscreen Contains Any of These Chemicals That I Consider Dangerous and Potentially Life Threatening, Do Yourself a BIG Favor…

Dump it in the trash now .

Yes, that’s right. Toss your sunscreen in the trash if it contains any of these questionable chemicals:

Toss your sunscreen in the trash if it contains any of these chemicals I consider to be potentially harmful.

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Avobenzone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Padimate O
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Trolamine salicyclate
  • Octocrylene

[ And two more which I might add]

  • Octinoxate or octyl metghoxycinnamate
  • Octisalate

Potentially harmful chemicals such as dioxybenzone and oxybenzone (two chemicals I just mentioned) are some of the most powerful free radical generators known to man!

And a note to moms … You are undoubtedly very conscientious about caring for your children.  But when you lather up your son or daughter with sunscreen thinking you’re doing the right thing, you could in fact be doing more harm than good.

So check the labels on your sunscreen, and throw them out if they contain any of the potentially dangerous chemicals named above.  After all, your skin is your largest organ, as your child’s skin is theirs.