We’ve just gotten into the months that we’re starting to spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s really important that we’re protecting our skin from damage; from skin cancer, from premature aging, from everything that overexposure to sun rays will do to it.
There are 2 types of sunscreens you can choose from. The first I’m going to talk about is physical sunscreen; zinc or titanium oxide. Those 2 minerals get applied to the skin and they act like tiny little mirrors deflecting the rays off your skin. The second kind is chemicals; oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl salicylate. These cause a chemical reaction by taking the light and turning it into a different form of energy, and it’s usually heat. This is why if you get these in your eyes, it burns badly, and uh…not fun. My preference is definitely the first one, the physical sunscreen, because it’s gentle on your skin; it’s not going to absorb into your system and create a toxic stew, whereas we know now that these petrochemicals tend to absorb in, and there’s all kinds of issues that we’re starting to understand, such as endocrine disruption, and, you know, cancer.
I’m not saying that sunscreen causes cancer, but I’m saying that you have to be careful of what you’re putting on your skin every single day, and the impact it could have on your body. Not to mention the fact that oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter – one of the more common ones in the market – and is eco-toxic. So if you go and swim near a reef, it can bleach the reef, and it is responsible for a lot of human damage of reef around the world. And that should tell you something about the actual chemical.
Physical sunscreens all the way! I love zinc; it’s not as whitening now, because before we had these larger molecules, so when you think about zinc you just think, like, white – everywhere. But fortunately they’ve gotten the molecule nice and small – micronized – and so it’s not as whitening. You want to go small but not too small, because the nano-sized, the nano-particle zinc, does absorb to damage skin, does absorb through it, and we really don’t know what this nano-sized zinc, or titanium for that matter, is going to do to your system. There’s just not enough research at this point in time. There have been some damning reports about it being eco-toxic as well, so look for non-nano versions.
My favourite sunscreen is Goddess Garden. It’s non-whitening, a super non-toxic formula, and it doesn’t clog up my pores; I have to be very careful about using stuff that’s too greasy or heavy because I will break out.
The ingredients I really want you to avoid are; oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate – because apparently when sun hits retinyl palmitate it can create a carcinogenic type of damage to your cells, so stay away from that – and citrus essential oils, because they contain furocoumarins and they are phototoxic so they will make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays. I just read an article this morning about how even drinking orange juice, they’re linking that to melanoma, so because of these furocoumarins they’ll make your skin just super vulnerable to the sun. So if you see a skin care product that has sweet orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit, stay away! Stay away from the summer, because if you’re going to be out in the sun with it…I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in skin care, but especially if you’re going to be out in the sun.