Summer is well and truly here, and so, you are probably basking in the cool breeze from an air-conditioner as you read this - I certainly am! Just make sure that your air-conditioner has been professionally cleaned though, I got mine done recently, and you wouldn’t believe how filthy they get inside!
Shanghai does become incredibly hot in summer, and when the days are polluted it can become incredibly muggy outside. That being said, we do get many days with some fine blue skies (which then makes you notice the chemtrails incidentally).
You’ll also probably see parents slapping sunscreen on their children as well. Little do so many parents know however, that sunscreen can be incredibly harmful to the body.
Sunscreens aren’t all equal
We assume, that all sunscreen is safe, especially if the sunscreen product is advertised for children. Unfortunately, this is wrong! More and more research is emerging, and showing how toxic sunscreens really are for the body…
A paper published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics states that:
“Sunscreens protect against sunburn, but there is no evidence that they protect against basal cell carcinoma or melanoma. Problems lie in the behaviour of individuals who use sunscreens to stay out longer in the sun than they otherwise would. Vitamin D inhibition is, at this stage, unlikely due to insufficient use by individuals. Safety of sunscreens is a concern, and sunscreen companies have emotionally and inaccurately promoted the use of sunscreens.”
The full paper can be read here.
The chemicals to watch out for
The majority of sunscreens available in the shops contain a concoction of toxic chemicals. Here are the ones to watch out for when you read the ingredients:
- Oxybenzon = endocrine disrupting chemical
- Avobenzone = promotes free radicals in the skin, therefore increases skin cancer risk
- Parabens = endocrine disrupting chemical
- Fragrance = hidden blend of chemicals (some of which can be toxic).
- Homosalte = endocrine disrupting chemical
- Nano-zinc = promotes free radicals in the skin, therefore increases skin cancer risk, also if it is inhaled (such as by using aerosol suncreams) nano-particles can be harmful to the lungs
- Titanium Dioxide = promotes free radicals in the skin, therefore increases skin cancer risk, also if it is inhaled (such as by using aerosol suncreams) nano-particles can be harmful to the lungs
- Propylene Glycol = Increases risk of inflaming skin and causing red dots to appear, allergic reaction
- Retinyl Palmitate = accelerates cancer growth
Toxic sunscreen = toxic environment
There is an environmental cost to sunscreens as well. It’s been shown that when they get seep into the oceans (either through swimming in the sea, showering, or even through urine) the toxic chemicals eventually make their way into the marine life, and they then cause serious damage. More reading on this can be found here.
Good sunscreens can be hard to find
You’ll find after scouring through all the known sunscreen brands that almost all of them will have some of the above ingredients.
The reason being, is that these ingredients do indeed work, that is they stop you from potentially burning, but at a cost to your own health!
We need the sunshine
The sun is healthy and natural, and it is a vital source of Vitamin D for us, it therefore shouldn’t be avoided or blocked out by using unnatural sunscreens. The key, is to avoid overly long exposure and to limit time spent outdoors when the sun is at its fiercest in summer. Did you know that over 75% of us are Vitamin D deficient? Another reason not to block out the sun…
Protection starts from within
To keep your skin healthy, and to better protect against the sun it starts with a good diet. Here is a list of foods which will give you better skin and provide better protection:
- Orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and cantaloupe which are high in beta-carotene (Vitamin A) and can reduce sunburn and wrinkles.
- Citrus fruits – contain quercetin and Vitamin C.
- Spinach, kale and other leafy greens which are high in lutein.
- Tomatoes, watermelon and red peppers which contain lycopene.
- Omega 3 fatty acids, found in salmon, fish oil, flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil.
- Foods rich in selenium (which has been found to reduce risk of death from skin cancer by 50%) such as Brazil nuts and walnuts.
- Teas – which are high in antioxidants.
- Berries – the highest fruit sources of antioxidants.
- Fish or UV treated mushrooms – which are full of Vitamin D, something that can have a protective effect against sunburn and skin cancer.
- Olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds – rich sources of Vitamin E, great for healing the skin.
If your diet is in check, but still want to take an extra precaution when in the sun, then try some of these natural alternatives:
- Red Raspberry Seed Oil – of all the oils, Red Raspberry Seed Oil may provide some of the highest broad spectrum UV protection as it contains vitamin E, vitamin A, and omega fatty acids.
- Hemp Seed Oil – said to offer an SPF of around 6, hemp oil can be used on your skin or taken internally to boost omega 3 levels.
- Macadamia Oil – also believed to have an SPF of 6.
- Sesame Seed Oil – an SPF of approximately 4.
- Shea Butter – there are so many reasons to use Shea butter, one of which is its SPF of 4.
- Jojoba Oil – this oil has a myriad of uses for hair and skin, while offering a sun protection factor of 4.
- Coconut Oil – with an SPF of just 2, coconut oil isn’t going to be your first line of defence against the sun, but it’s an added bonus of this popular DIY beauty product ingredient
Of course, if you are out in the sun for long periods, then cover up with light, thin, cotton clothing and wear a wide brimmed hat. It’s as simple as that!
Make your own safe sunscreen for you and your family
Why not have a go at making your own sunscreen? This recipe from draxe works well and is healthy and natural.
Homemade Sunscreen | Total Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 10
10 drops lavender
1 tbsp pomegranate oil
3/4 C coconut oil
2 tbsp Zinc Oxide
2 tbsp shea butter
- Combine all ingredients except zinc oxide in a jar.
- Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water on stove over medium/low heat.
- Place jar in saucepan and stir contents until ingredients start to melt.
- Once all ingredients are combined, add in zinc oxide and stir well. Store in a cool place.