Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WARNING: Sunscreen -- may increase your risks of cancer

The more I read about sunscreen the happier I am that we avoid it at all costs. There is continual evidence that suggests the chemicals in sunscreen can cause damage to the body, even leading to some cancers. The chemicals absorb through the skin into the blood stream and later accumulate in fat stores.

Researchers at the University of California state that the increased use of chemical sunscreens is the primary cause of the skin cancer epidemic. Other research has shown the greatest rise in melanoma is seen in countries where chemical sunscreens are heavily promoted and used (one such place being the USA). AUHHHHHHHHH. Imagine smearing this stuff on your baby’s skin and face…

So how do you know if you’re using a sunscreen with chemicals? There are only two different types of sunscreen -- chemical and physical.

The chemicals in sunscreen actually work by absorbing the sun's rays and contain things like Paba, Benzophenone, Oxybenzone and metal oxides (nano chemicals). Physical sunscreens work by blocking or reflecting the sun's rays and contain minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (have you seen someone with the white covered nose? That’s a physical blocking sunscreen).

So what’s a parent supposed to do?
• Make sure to get your kids out in the sun so they can benefit from its healing rays and build up their body’s vitamin D supply (75% of the body’s Vit D comes from the sun).
• When summer begins, start gradually with sun exposure. Limit total exposure to no more than 10-20 minutes spurts of time.
• Watch the skin for signs of redness. If red, the skin has had it’s full share of sun time for the day.
• Cover up with hats, sunglasses, umbrellas and shirts if you plan to be in the sun for an extended period of time.
• Carefully select sunscreens that have natural, mineral based ingredients, are free from synthetic sun ingredients and are safe, non-toxic, preservative free and bio-degradable. Check out Campbells (locally), Lavera Natural Cosmetics, (www.lavera-usa.com), and Natural Health Newsletter recommends www.colorscience.com. These sunscreens are worth the extra investment!
• Physical barrier sunscreens are better, in terms of absorption.
• Take an omega 3 fatty acid (beneficial for all ages) supplement.
• Replace traditional fluorescent lighting with full spectrum lights in places where children spend a lot of time. (ask your schools what lighting they have)

As long as we do not over-indulge, the sun is a fabulous thing. So get out and enjoy this spring weather. You’ll be healthier because of it!


  1. Hello!
    How are omega 3s related to sunlight? Also, why does the lighting matter? Thank you!

  2. Hey there!

    Omegas are used by the body to reduce inflammation, the body reacts to overexposure of the sun by becoming inflamed. The omegas "pre-reduce" the inflammation and allow for longer exposure to the sun and relief from overexposure. Full Spectrum lights are better for you because they most closely mimic natural sunlight. They have been proven to improve mood and boost motivation.

    Hope this helps!
    Dr. Heather