The sun has been out for the last few days and we can start to dream about the summer months ahead and about any holidays we have planned. With that in mind I wanted to do a blog post on sunscreen as pretty much every person I know uses it – but do we actually know what is in the lotion we slather on to our skin – and are any of us aware that some of the ingredients could be causing us harm?
Worldwide the sunscreen industry is worth billions of pounds but unfortunately not all creams are created equally, so its up to us consumers to read the label and be aware of what ingredients are used.
There are two ways which sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage: with a mineral barrier or a chemical one. Mineral sun creams usually include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium oxide which create a physical barrier to protect the skin and both are believed to be safe for us. Chemical creams use chemicals, which get absorbed by the skin, cause skin irritation, and may interfere with the thyroid and other hormone processes in the body. Such chemicals, which have a cumulative effect, are thought to be linked to increases in cases of breast cancer and a fall in male sperm count.
According to research from the EWG (Environmental Working Group): Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like oestrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation.
What toxic chemicals should we look out for?
- Octyl salicyclate
I'm not saying that you shouldn't use sunscreen this summer, but be sensible when in the sun and when you are applying sun cream, switch to an organic lotion that doesn't use any of the chemicals that cause damage.
For a long time now I've been using the Organic Sun Lotion Range by Green People and I love it. For adults it comes in SPF15 or SPF30 and the kids range comes in SPF30 and is available in soothing lavender or as a scent free lotion for those with sensitive skin. As children's skin absorbs up to 60% of what is put on it, it really is important to find a sun cream that doesn't contain any nasty toxins.
Take a look on the ingredients list of your current sunscreen and if there are any questionable chemicals then do your own research and if necessary make the change to an organic sunscreen that will do the same job, without doing any harm to you or the environment.