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What’s In Your Sunscreen?


My dog enjoying the sunshine.

What do I love? Sunshine! What do I not love? Getting burned while enjoying the sunshine. Being that I was blessed with fair skin, I have to limit my sun exposure to no more than 15 minutes. Let me tell you, it is not long enough to enjoy those glorious rays- but I can promise you that I do enjoy every single second! As you have probably guessed, there is no way I’m putting typical sunscreen on my skin. Commercial sunscreens contain toxic ingredients such as:


· Oxybenzone- This “penetration enhancer” assists other chemicals to penetrate the skin. (1) This chemical can cause eczema-related allergic reactions that might spread beyond the applied area. Studies show oxybenzone can cause hormone disruption in the endocrine system and it causes cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.


· Homosalate- This UV-absorbing chemical can mimic bodily hormones. Since our bodies cannot expel this chemical to match the rate of absorption, it accumulates to toxic levels over time.


· Paraben Preservatives- These preservatives may cause irritation and allergic reactions along with serious chronic and acute side effects. The chronic effects are known to mimic and disrupt hormones as well as cause reproductive toxicity. As a suspected carcinogen, it has connections to breast tumors, skin cell damage, and oxidative stress on the body’s tissues. (2)


· Octocrytene- This is a synthetic ultraviolet absorber and sunscreen agent. When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, octocrytene may produce oxygen radicals that cause cell mutation and induce indirect DNA damage. Octocrytene may have contributed to the increased occurrence of malignant melanoma in sunscreen-users when compared to non-users. (3)


· Retinyl Palmitate- This form of vitamin A might speed up the development of skin tumors when applied in the presence of UV light. Avoid using products with “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol” on the bottle label and avoid using.


· Octinoxate- This is the most widely used sunscreen ingredient because it helps other ingredients absorb into the skin. Studies show this chemical can disrupt the endocrine system and effect estrogen levels. While SPF levels are intended to decrease aging, octinoxate might actually be the main culprit for premature aging as it produces free radicals that attack skin cells.


Store-bought sunscreen products contain plenty of ingredients/chemicals that inhibit natural synthesis of Vitamin D and also clog your pores.


Safer options not only protect the skin from the burning rays of the sun, but actually moisturize, hydrate, and are naturally anti-aging. Essential Homemaker offers a sunscreen spray for high SPF and a bar for lower SPF. After sun exposure, try the Essential Homemaker sunburn spray and night cream, which are natural, non-toxic options to soothe burned skin. Other safer sunscreen options include: Badger, Alba, and Beauty Counter.


And get out there and enjoy the sun this summer!

1. Source: The Environmental Working Group

2. Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

3. Source: Free Radical Biology and Medicine

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The Essential Homemaker

by Andrea Turner

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