It’s summertime and millions of Americans are excited to spend hours outdoors at the beach, sunny parks and beautiful bike trails. At the same time, sun protection and fear of skin cancer is a major concern as well. Have you wondered if lathering up with the highest SPF sunscreen is really the best option? Are you concerned about the chemicals in traditional SPF suncreens?
I am definitely looking forward to spending some long afternoons at the beach with my family. However, as with most other activities, our wellness lifestyle causes us to buck the traditional trends. We avoid chemical-laden sunscreen lotions and practice sun protection from the inside out!
Skin Cancer and Sun Protection
Do you lather up with the highest SPF sunscreen every time you hit the beach or spend a day in the summer sun? If one of your reasons for using sunscreen lotions is the hope of avoiding skin cancer, you are not alone. However, even the FDA acknowledges that commercial SPF sunscreen lotions do not provide the protection promised. In a 2007 report the FDA stated: “FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.”
Now, seven years later – with continually rising skin cancer rates – the FDA is still not supporting measures to provide you better sun protection. Over 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Traditional SPF sunscreen lotions do not provide the necessary sun protection and, in fact, contain several dangerous chemicals
Faux Sun Protection – Why you Can’t Trust Your Sunscreen SPF
Typical sunscreen lotions provide a false sense of security. The have been shown to not provide the SPF protection that they advertise. Worse yet, they contain chemicals the cause skin allergy, hormone disruption or even cancer. That’s right! The SPF lotion you are hoping will protect you from skin cancer may actually be increasing your risk of skin cancer!
The Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Sunscreen Guide is a great resource for sun protection. It is also a great educational tool to learn more about the trouble with sunscreen chemicals. The EWG guide discusses:
- the deception of high SPF sunscreens and why you should avoid them
- toxic sunscreen chemicals that cause skin allergy, hormone disruption and cancer
- insufficient protection and danger of the very popular sunscreen sprays and powders
- Concerns and recommendations about nanoparticles in sunscreens products
- the facts about industry not keeping up with new FDA rules
- the fact that sunscreen alone is simply not able to prevent skin cancer
Natural Sun Protection the Wellness Way
Wellness is a way of life; a different way of living that produces different results. When it comes to sun protection and skin cancer, we definitely need different results! Here are several wellness lifestyles ideas that provide natural sun protection.
Avoid Sunburn, Not Sun Exposure
Your body needs the sun. Your body thrives with sun exposure. Proper sun exposure provides cancer protection. In fact, your body produces the anti-cancer vitamin D when you expose your skin to the sun.
Sun exposure is necessary for vibrant health. Sunburn is the problem because it damages your skin and your health. The key to avoiding sunburn is not simply spending less (or no) time in the sun but increasing your body’s tolerance the the sun.
This should be accomplished in two ways. First, by gradually increasing your sun exposure time. Second – and even more importantly – by decreasing inflammation in your body. The more systemic inflammation occurring in your body the faster you will burn. Decreasing inflammation will go a long way in your sun protection plan.
The Reader’s Digest of Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
Eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet. The biggest offenders include processed foods, processed grains, sugars, common cooking oils and trans fats.
Maximize anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. The best ones include green leafy vegetables, other colorful vegetables, berries, coconut oil and foods rich in omega-3 fats.
Natural Supplements to Aid Sun Protection
Vitamin D3 – Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. However, most people do not receive enough sun exposure year round to provide sufficient vitamin D. Supplementing vitamin D3 increases the levels of vitamin D in your body and will increase your tolerance to sun exposure.
Omega-3 Fats – Long chain omega-3 fats have been shown to provide protection from skin cancer as well. This is an important supplement for many other reasons including anti-inflammation and brain health. A high quality EPA and DHA (omega-3) supplement is an important consideration for natural sun protection.
Healthy Saturated Fats – There are many reasons to incorporate coconut oil into your daily routine. Some of those reasons include that it will decrease inflammation, improve your skin health, help you burn belly fat and increase your skin’s sun tolerance.
Astaxanthin – Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that is found in algae and food sources that consume algae. It is a powerful antioxidant that is effective in fighting inflammation. Studies have shown Astaxanthin to have skin cancer protective properties as well.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend is another great source for providing inflammation-fighting skin cancer protection.
Wear Protective Clothing
In order for your body to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D, you will need as much skin exposure as possible. However, for extended periods of time in the sun, clothing is your best protection from sunburn causing UVB rays, as well as, cancer causing UVA rays.
When we go to the beach, my son wears sun protective shirts like this to limit sun exposure. However, most clothing in general, protects your skin from excessive skin exposure. This is the best way to avoid the risk of skin cancer when spending many hours in the sun.
Natural Homemade Sunscreen
There are many natural oils that have inherent sun protection factors (SPF). You can combine several of these to produce an all-natural sunscreen lotion and avoid the dangerous chemicals of commercial sunscreen lotions. Here is great homemade sunscreen recipe from Katie, The Wellness Mama.
Safer Commercial Sunscreens
There are some sunscreen lotions that do provide sun protection without using dangerous SPF chemicals. It is important to remember that you cannot rely on these solely for sun protection and skin cancer prevention. However, if you are going to purchase an SPF sunscreen lotion, choose from these.
- Raw Elements sunscreen is an organic and non-GMO sunscreen that has one of the best safety ratings from EWG.
- Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen Cream- SPF 30. This a great, naturally based sunscreen that does not have dangerous nanoparticles and a high safety rating from EWG.
- Goddess Garden – Sunny Kids Natural Sunscreen 30 SPF.Goddess garden’s natural sunscreen provides powerful sun protection that is good for you and good for the environment. Goddess garden’s formulas are all 100% biodegradable and are filled with nourishing organic ingredients like aloe vera and sunflower oil.
- Thinkbaby ThinkBaby Sunscreen SPF 50+. A science-based, high SPF alternative that avoids dangerous, hormone disrupting chemicals.
- All Terrain TerraSport SPF30 Oxybenzone-Free Natural Sunscreen. All Terrain’s award-winning TerraSport sunscreen lotion is for active people who want natural, effective, oxybenzone- and paraben-free sunscreens. Offering broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, All Terrain TerraSport was rated “Top Sunscreen” by the Environmental Working Group.
- Kiss My Face Kids Natural Mineral Sunblock SPF30.Natural mineral sunscreen for fun in the sun! UVA/UVB protection, water resistant, fragrance free. No nanoparticles, phthalates, fragrances, artificial colors or any other animal ingredients. Gluten free, biodegradable & not tested on Iggy or any other animals!
- BurnOut – Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen 30 SPF. BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen contains a super moisturizing formula enriched with virgin hemp seed oil, aloe vera, and antioxidant vitamins to soothe and rejuvenate sun-damaged skin. Water-resistant, sweatproof, and will not run into eyes, BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen is formulated with 20% zinc oxide to provide UVA and UVB broad-spectrum protection. BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen contains is chemical-free, paraben-free, petroleum-free, PABA-free and is made for athletes pushing the limits.
- Caribbean Solutions Faces Only SPF 20 Anti-Aging Facial Lotion. Advanced ocean formula combining some of nature’s finest, concentrated extracts obtained, primarily, from select Hawaiian sea plants, Seamollient, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Rich with Algae Extract and Organic Aloe products known to tone and restore the elasticity to facial skin.
This an amazing time of year to enjoy the beauty of nature. Don’t let fear of skin cancer prevent you from enjoying it. Incorporate these natural, wellness lifestyle methods of sun protection into your lifestyle today!