Sunscreen: Things to Keep in Mind!
Summer is here! And that means allllll the sunshine :)
Usually this also means alllll of the sunscreen, but in recent years, I have started to use less sunscreen. But why so?! This is challenging to what we have heard mainstream for the past several decades. But hang with me here. Despite an increased use in sunscreen, skin cancer rates continue to rise. So despite what experts are saying, to use sunscreen to protect against the sun's harmful rays to prevent cancer from developing, it is still happening. So why is that?
Well, from what I have found, it's likely due to a lack of moderation as well as our diets. Overexposure to the sun can lead to sunburns, which damages the skin cells, and can lead to possible aberrant cancer growths. However on the flip side, too little exposure actually means your body isn't getting enough sun rays and therefore not enough Vitamin D (among other benefits of being outside). Vitamin D is known to help with immune system modulation, helping with bone strength, and several other healthy benefits. So by slathering on the sun screen every time you go outside, you're missing out on a beneficial window of sunshine.
The other piece of the puzzle: the sunscreen itself. There are two kinds of sunscreen, mineral and chemical. Mineral sunscreen use zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which create a physical barrier against the UVA and UVB rays. Chemical sunscreens use any of the following chemicals: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. These chemicals are known to be endocrine disrupters and can interfere with the thyroid and other hormone-producing organs. Oxybenzone is the most common chemical used, and has been linked to lower sperm count in men and endometriosis in women. Children and breastfeeding/pregnant women should not use products containing oxybenzone. Some areas have even banned sunscreens containing this chemical, because of the damages it has caused to the underwater ecosystems. In addition to these chemicals, some sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate, which has been shown to speed up the growth of cancerous cells.
The other piece of the puzzle can also be your diet. Yep, you are what you eat, and if you're eating a diet filled with polyunsaturated fats, you are more prone to getting sunburned. But wait, aren't those the good fats and saturated fats are the bad fats?! Well, it may be controversial to say, but I have come to learn that saturated fats aren't all that bad after all, and PUFAs are actually aren't all that great. The volatility of seed oils (those UNsaturated fats) negatively affects the make up of the tissues of your body, which can make you more prone to being sunburned.
So, the key here really is sun exposure in moderation, and minimizing your PUFA intake. If you are going to be in the sun for a prolonged amount of time, mineral sunscreen containing non-nano zinc or titanium oxide is the best option, along with wearing a light layer.
Several articles are linked below where some of this information was found - highly, highly recommend that you read them.
Thoughts? Let me hear em!:)