Does Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer?

At this time of year, it is surprising if you haven’t seen magazine ads, commercials, social media ads marketing a sunscreen you should buy to “protect you from the sun.” Unfortunately, the sunscreens that you are being influenced with are not products that are good for you to use. The focus of selling these products is that you need to lather them on or else you could get skin cancer. However, recent studies have found that sunscreens could be causing more harm than good.

Vitamin D is essential for the body to function properly.

The information and studies have revealed how Vitamin D is extremely important not only for building and maintaining a strong immune system and strong bones but it also is important for cancer prevention. The best way to get enough Vitamin D in your body is through natural sunlight without sunscreen. Most sunscreens block UVB rays necessary for Vitamin D production.

Most sunscreens block the absorption of Vitamin D with toxic chemicals that seep through the skin and into the bloodstream and all throughout your body. Using these toxic sunscreens could actually cause cancer. The absorption of toxic chemicals into your bloodstream and the blocking of Vitamin D are not a good combo for your health.

Are sunscreens safe to use?

While rates of skin cancer has doubled , according to the CDC, so has the amount of sunscreen use. The toxic chemicals in the sunscreen which are then burning into your skin from the hot sun could be causing irregularities in the cells and thus skin cancer. Most sunscreens that you are seeing in the mainstream markets have ingredients that block UVB rays. UVB rays are needed to produce Vitamin D. So, by using UVB blocking sunscreens, the body does not get the Vitamin D it needs to function properly which could end up causing cancer. As low Vitamin D levels have been linked to various types of cancer.

Some toxic ingredients that are in these kinds of sunscreens:

Benzene – Recently, benzene, a known carcinogen, was found in 78 out of the 300 sprays and lotions tested. Benzene can also be found cigarette smoke, gasoline, glues, adhesives, cleaning products and paint strippers.

Oxybenzone – oxybenzone is toxic on the organs in your body when exposed to the sun and has been found to be a hormone disruptor. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends consumers avoid oxybenzone, and yet it remains in many major brands of sunscreen. It is very toxic to the ocean reefs as well.

Octinoxate – octinoxate absorbs into the bloodstream as well as breast milk and alters hormone imbalance. It is also very toxic to coral reefs.

Titanium dioxide – another common ingredient in sunscreens, has been classified as “a potential occupational carcinogen” by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Homosalate – another ingredient that kills coral reefs as well as marine life. It can cause skin allergies. It disrupts hormone balance.

OMC – octyl methoxycinnamate or OMC is present in most sunscreens. Shown to be toxic when exposed to sun, is the main chemical used in sunscreens to filter out UVB rays. When mice where given this at low doses it killed the mouse cells.

Diesopropyl adipate – in 2006, the National Toxicology Program reported that diesopropyl adipate, another ingredient in many sunscreens, increased the incidence of tumors in laboratory animals.

There are more toxic chemicals in sunscreens that are not safe and effective to use on humans. They are in some of most popular brands in stores all over. Neutrogena, Sun Bum, CVS Health, Fruit of the Earth, Banana Boat.

Staying in the sun safely

In order to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, it is recommended to stay in the sun 15-30 minutes per day without sunscreen. Start for a few minutes and work up to 30. If your staying out in the sun for longer wearing a hat and light clothes would be a good idea to protect the skin from burning. If you are planning to be in the hot sun for longer than 30 minutes, it is a good to have some form a sun protection. If using a sunscreen make sure to use a non-toxic one. I recommend reading the ingredients to see the bottle lists any ones mentioned above.

The EWG’s first choice for sun protection is Zinc Oxide. It provides full spectrum protection of UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens like Earthie Mama’s Sunscreen (which has Zinc Oxide in it that protects the skin from harmful rays but also does not absorb into the bloodstream), are the best choice in sunscreens. There are other reasons why you might want to switch over to a mineral based sunscreen, You can read more about that HERE.

Eating a healthy diet is also important to protect your skin from the sun. A diet high in antioxidant rich foods protects the skin from a sunburn as they act as a protective layer screening the sun from burning the skin. Antioxidants include berries, dark leafy greens, artichokes, green tea, dark chocolate and more.

A supplement that protects the skin from getting sunburned is called Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant found in salmon, shrimp, lobster which makes them orange from eating the powerful orange algae. Astaxanthin can be taken as a supplement. It acts as an internal sunscreen and protects the skin from UV damage. To read more about the incredible benefits of Astaxanthin, CLICK HERE.

So, does sunscreen cause skin cancer?

Natural Sunscreen

The answer is not so clear and seems to depend on the type of sun protection you choose to use. We have found that many sunscreens do contain harmful ingredients that can burn into your skin and absorb into the bloodstream. While others, like mineral based ones, add protection from the sun without seeping toxic chemicals into the body. They both block Vitamin D absorption which is why in Earthie Mama ‘s Sunscreen we added Vitamin D3. The other really positive aspect of using a mineral based sunscreen is that they don’t harm ocean life which is currently a huge problem. The marine life including the coral reefs are dying from all of the harmful chemicals.

Ingredients in Earthie Mama’s Sunscreen SPF 35 – Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, Spring Water, Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Vegetable Vitamin E from Non-GMO Sunflower Seeds and added Vitamin D3. For more info CLICK HERE. There are only 6 ingredients all safe for any age and safe for the Earth .

Make Your Own Sunscreen

If you are into making products yourself, I formulated a recipe years ago which is a sunscreen that is natural and works to protect you from a sunburn. There is no Vitamin D3 added in this recipe but it will protect your from a sunburn without harming ocean life or your body. Click Here for a Recipe to MAKE YOUR OWN SUNSCREEN.

As we go into summer, please look at the ingredients in the Sunscreens you are choosing to buy. You don’t want to contribute negatively to your health if you have a different healthier option. What you put on your skin can have an impact on your internal health. So choose wisely. Some of the brands you might want to avoid because their sunscreens contain some if not all of the chemicals listed above: Neutrogena, Sun Bum, CVS Health, Fruit of the Earth, Banana Boat, and more.

Be well and have fun in the sun!

~ Alex

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