Your Sunscreen Could be Making your Sick

Tube of factor 15 sun block lotion.

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There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society.

Sunscreen companies are not legally permitted to promote that their products prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen blinds and solar shades are becoming more popular each year. Experts agree that sunscreen should be applied one half hour before going outdoors.

The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) radiation that we divide into categories based on the wavelength. Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet B rays, which are stronger at midday and in the summer. A rating system, for ultraviolet A (UVA) protection in sunscreens is finally on the horizon.

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor.  SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a measurement of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn and is thought to contribute to some types of skin cancer.

UVB protection does not actually increase proportionately with a designated SPF number. The higher the SPF factor (Sun Protection Factor) the greater the protection with an SPF of 15 providing minimal protection to SPF of 60 providing almost total sun block.

UVA regulations are being established by the FDA. UVA rays cause premature aging and long-term sun damage.  UVA is considered the ‘bad guy’ because it penetrates your skin more deeply and causes more free radical damage.

Don’t Destroy Your Skin with Chemicals

Chemical blockers vary in how much UVA and UVB protection they provide.  Chemical sunscreens differ from physical barrier sunscreens as they soak into   the skin, absorbing UV rays before they can do any damage.  Chemical products, on the other hand, need to be slathered on 15 to 30 minutes in advance to give the skin time to absorb them.

One of the chemicals under closest scrutiny is oxybenzone, used in over half the sunscreens on the market. Babies are especially vulnerable to exposures to hazardous chemicals. Given their size and the immaturity of their bodies, babies face a greater health risk from exposure to chemicals than adults. To address the chemicals in sunscreen problem, try wearing a wetsuit type bathing suit that has UPF protection, then you only need to put sunscreen on your face, hands and feet when you go swimming.

Organic particulates that mostly absorb light like organic chemical compounds, but contain multiple chromophores, may reflect and scatter a fraction of light like inorganic particulates, and behave differently in formulations than organic chemical compounds.  There are two basic types of active ingredients: inorganic and organic.  Both afford protection against UV-B rays in the 280- to 320-nm range, the primary culprits in sunburn.

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