“Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Cream.” (Sunscreen)


Summer is here, and now is the time we see massive amounts of people lather themselves up with sunscreen, alongside corporate marketing campaigns that stress the need of protection from the sun. Sure, we do indeed need protection to prevent sunburns, but you don’t want to block out all of the sun. It’s rich in vitamin D, and provides a number of other health benefits, which includes fighting cancer. It almost seems as if we’ve been made to fear the sun, and, as a result, adults and children are being drenched in a bath of toxic hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Why is this a concern? Well, it’s a concern because science has long shown that it doesn’t take long for whatever you put on your skin to enter into your bloodstream. For example, a fairly recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows a very significant drop in hormone-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products, after switching to ‘cleaner’ products. These chemicals include oxybenzone, triclosan, parabens, phthalates, and more. The significant drop was seen after urine samples were conducted. You can read more about that and access the study here. All of these ingredients are found within most poplar sunscreens.

When it comes to sunscreen in particular, multiple studies from across the world have examined sunscreen, its contents, and what happens with regard to penetration and absorption after applying it to your skin. One example comes out of the faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba, Canada. The purpose of the study was to develop a method for quantifying common sunscreen agents. Results demonstrated a significant penetration of all sunscreen agents into the skin. Basically, all of these chemicals are entering multiple tissues within the body. (source)

So, the next question becomes, are the ingredients used to make sunscreen, which are entering into our bloodstream, something to be concerned about? The science given to us by the corporations will say that no, there is nothing to be concerned about. By now, one should know not to trust these corporations when it comes to their product explanations. It wasn’t long ago that Johnson & Johnson was recently found guilty of knowingly having a cancer-causing baby powder on the market. You can read more about that here.

This is precisely why we wanted to bring attention to an  article written earlier this month published by the Huffington Post titled: “Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Cream.” In it, mother Sarah Kallies expresses her concern of the problems that are brought up with everything these days, and that we live in a world where everything seems to be bad for you. She expresses how being pro-active is not wrong, and that caring about these issues is not wrong, but that she is just ‘tired of it all,’ and how she doesn’t know if she is ‘getting it right.’ It carries the tone of ‘not caring’ and ‘what are you going to do at the end of the day.’

It was a great article, and it highlights the fact that we are dished a wealth of information that differs from source to source, on a variety of different topics. That being said, things that surround every aspect of human life that are potentially fatal to us and contribute to the rise in cancer, I’d think that’s one thing, out of many, that we should be paying attention to.

A number of studies have raised concerns about various chemicals found within sunscreens. Below are a few examples.


This could in fact be the most troublesome ingredient found in the majority of popular sunscreens. It’s used because it really absorbs ultraviolet light well, but it’s believed to be a major cause of hormone disruptions and cell damage, which could in fact promote cancer.

According to the Environmental Working Group:

The chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters. (source)

It’s true, which is why it’s important to do your research, as there are many studies out there on this chemical.  For example, one study done by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology at the University of Gottingen in Germany observed regulatory effects on receptor expression for oxybenzone that indicate endocrine disruption (hormone disruption).

A study out of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Zurich determined that oxybenzone, which blocks ultraviolet light, may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and promotes the growth of cancer cells. (source)

A study out of the Queensland Cancer Fund Laboratories at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia recognized the significance of systemic absorption of sunscreens prompted by multiple studies. Researchers discovered that oxybenzone inhibited cell growth and DNA synthesis and retarded cycle progression in the first of the four phases of the cell cycle. They determined that sunscreen causes mitochondrial stress and changes in drug uptake in certain cell lines. (source)

A study published in the Journal of Health Science by the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan examined UV stabilizers used in food packages as plastic additives. They found that some UV stabilizers in sunscreen products have estrogenicity in an MCF-7 breast cancer cell assay as well as an immature rat uterotrophic assay. They tested a total of 11 UV stabilizers. 20 kinds of benzophenones were tested using the same assay to demonstrate their estrogenic activity.  (source)

The list goes on and on.

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate)

A study conducted by U.S. government scientists suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight (NTP 2012). “Retinyl palmitate was selected by (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for photo-toxicity and photocarcinogenicity testing based on the increasingly widespread use of this compound in cosmetic retail products for use on sun-exposed skin,” reads an October 2000 report by the National Toxicology Program. (source)

This suggests, according to Dr. Merocla, that sunscreen products could actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer, because they contain vitamin A and its derivates, retinol, and retinyl palmitate.


Fragrance refers to a host of harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals mentioned earlier, like Parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks.

Sun Exposure Can Protect You From Cancer

The Sun isn’t as bad as it’s marketed to be, however; that’s more so an attempt to encourage people to buy products. These corporations don’t really have an interest in protecting us (we’ve seen multiple examples of this). They just don’t care, and they would never tell us that sun exposure can actually protect against cancer. This has been made evident by several studies, which have confirmed that the appropriate amount of sun exposure can actually protect us against skin cancer. (source)

As many of you probably already know, humans require sunlight exposure for vitamin D. Sunburns do indeed cause a concern, and there are many studies that link sunburns to melanoma. Due to different factors, such as cultural changes and fear mongering, our skin is not used to large amounts of sun exposure like it was in the past. If you spend a large portion of your time in the sun, your skin adapts to build a natural immunity. We are naturally built to receive sunlight, and we have gone backwards in this regard. There are alternative ways to protect yourself from sunburns. You can buy natural sunscreens without harmful chemicals. Questioning big name advertisements is crucial to our health in these times of information awareness.

The depletion of the ozone layer only happens seasonally, in winter and spring. We are generally not out in the sun at this time, and do not usually apply sunscreen.  There are people who get melanoma who are less exposed to the sun than others. Research also shows that incidence of melanoma increases in people who are not exposed to the sun. The lack of vitamin D has a strong correlation to melanoma instances.

Only 10 percent of all cancer cases are attributed to all forms of radiation, and UV is a very small part of that (source). When we think of skin cancer we automatically want to blame the sun, but what about other causes of skin cancer that are out there such as arsenic, found in a number of things we ingest or work around (source). Not to mention pesticides, leather preservatives, and glass.

Sunscreens are a huge contributor to toxins in the body, being absorbed within seconds of application. Is it not important to know what you are putting into your body? We now live in a culture where we fear the sun, which is ironic considering it has created all life on Earth. It’s important to remember that fear eventually manifests as reality. The sun has many health benefits so using natural products will ensure that you receive these benefits while keeping your skin safe, ensuring that you aren’t absorbing the dangerous chemicals found in most sunscreens today.

Healthier Alternatives 

When shopping for sunscreens, be sure to read the labels and avoid buying sunscreens containing toxic chemicals. It may be tough to find, but a trip to a natural health store can often do the trick. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium minerals as opposed to the active ingredients listed above. Remember, the best sun protection is wearing clothing to protect you and finding shade. Only use sunscreens when absolutely necessary. It is not necessary you wear sunscreen every time you are out in the sun. Sunscreen does NOT allow the body to absorb any vitamin D from sunlight. So if you plan on being outside for a short period of time, skip the sunscreen and feed your body the vitamin D that will keep it healthy.

Coconut oil has been shown to provide an SPF of about 8 when it comes to sun protection.[1] This means that although it’s protection isn’t very high, it can help. If you were to apply it often, it would not only offer sun protection, but it would also hydrate the skin making it less susceptible to burning. You may also want to try combining natural sunscreens with coconut oil for protection. To do this, at the beginning of your long day out in the sun, use natural sunscreen, and after a few hours, try applying coconut oil to supplement the natural sunscreen and hydrate the skin.

Have you tried using coconut oil as sunscreen before? Or do you use other natural products? Share your results with the community as it’s very helpful for those of us looking for healthier options.

Watch the video.URL:https://youtu.be/K-J6562XEOI

Recent Study Shows How Sunscreen Causes Cancer, Not the Sun

Did you know that despite the invention of sunscreen, cases of skin cancers are on the rise every year? Elizabeth Plourde, Ph.D., is a California-based scientist who has shown that malignant melanoma and all other skin cancers increased significantly with ubiquitous sunscreen use over a 30-year period. Sunscreens contain chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC).

So why so much faith in sunscreen? What’s going on here? Sunscreen is a product we’ve been sold that we cannot live without. But just think about what we did for the thousands of years before it’s invention. The sun has been a source of life since the beginning of human existence and has many benefits to the human body.

The Sun Doesn’t Harm Us

Firstly, the sun doesn’t harm us. It only nourishes us. There’s even really good science to prove this. One of the latest major studies was published by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden in 2014.

They conducted a study that found women who avoided lying out in the sun were actually TWICE as likely to die compared to those who make sunbathing a daily ritual.

This wasn’t a small study either. It looked at 30,000 women for a period of 20 years!

The A’s And B’s Of Sun Rays

We often hear about the different types of sun rays, so here’s the low down.

Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) are the primary cause of sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma. The chemicals that form a product’s sun protection factor are aimed at blocking those UVB rays.

Ultraviolet A rays (UVA) penetrate deeper into the skin and are harder to block. Scientists know less about the dangers of UVA radiation and this could potentially be very dangerous. The general consensus now is that whilst UVA ray damage is much less obvious than UVB, it is probably a lot more serious!!

False Sense Of Security

A sunscreen lotion’s SPF rating has little to do with the product’s ability to shield the skin from UVA rays (this is because UVA and UVB protection do not harmonize). High-SPF products suppress sunburn from UVB but not other types of sun damage. Therefore they tend to lull users into staying in the sun longer and overexposing themselves to both UVA and UVB rays.

Since people think they are ‘protected’ they tend to extend their time in the sun well past the point when users of low-SPF products or natural oils head indoors. As a result, while the users of conventional sunscreen may get less UVB-inflicted sunburns as unprotected sunbathers, they are more likely to absorb more damaging UVA radiation (which studies are still inconclusive as to cancer-causing effects).

Philippe Autier, a scientist formerly with the International Agency for Research on Cancer and part of the World Health Organization, has conducted numerous studies on sunbathers and believes that high-SPF products spur “profound changes in sun behavior” that may account for the increased melanoma risk found in some studies. We can now spend the whole day at the beach without having to retreat to cover.

More Chemicals Than You Bargained For

High SPF products require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals than low SPF sunscreens or natural oils. Some of these ingredients may pose health risks when they penetrate the skin. They have been linked to tissue damage, potential hormone disruption and may trigger allergic skin reactions.

If studies showed that high SPF products were better at reducing skin damage and skin cancer risk, then perhaps this extra chemical exposure might be justified. But since they don’t offer any benefit, then choosing alternative sunscreens really start to look a whole lot more appealing.

Natural Sun Protection

When we are outside the light that comes into our eyes sends signals to the pituitary gland which triggers hormones to be released for skin protection.

The more we try to fool nature with chemicals the more cancer and other sickness shows up. Often the stress surrounding these health concerns is more detrimental than the issue itself. Health is simple and always has been.

At least let kids go out and play in the sun to develop enough Vitamin D before slathering all those chemicals on them.

Enjoy the life-giving amazing sun rays you are so blessed to have! Build a tan slowly, be smart and you will live a long healthy happy life.


Artificial Nails: What to Know Before You Get Them

Artificial nails can help you make a fashion statement or wear long nails if your real ones won’t grow. While the nails aren’t harmful, putting them on and taking them off can involve acids and other chemicals that could cause allergic reactions. Damage to artificial nails also can lead to fungal infections and other problems.

Here’s what you should know before you head to your salon or to the drugstore.

Types of Nails

Artificial nails come in two main kinds: acrylic and gel. A third type, called silks, is often used to fix damaged nails or to make nail tips stronger.

Acrylic. This plastic material is the most popular choice. It forms a hard shell when you mix a powder with liquid and brush it on top of glued-on nail tips. You have to file down your natural nails to make it rough enough for the nail tips to bond to it.

Since your real nails grow all the time, you’ll eventually see a small gap between your cuticle and the acrylic nail. You’ll need to go back to the nail salon every 2-3 weeks to get the gaps filled, or do it yourself. Chemicals in the filler and the filing may weaken your real nails.

If you already have a fungal infection, artificial nails can make it worse or lead to other issues.

Gels. These are more expensive and last longer than acrylics. You paint the gel on like regular nail polish. You then put your nails under an ultraviolet (UV) light to harden the gel.

UV light can cause skin damage, including wrinkles and age spots. Too much UV light can cause skin cancer. But there are no reported cases of skin cancer caused by UV lamps at nail salons, not even among the manicurists who work around the lights all day.

Possible Problems

Artificial nails can be tough on your real ones. Issues you should watch for include:

Allergic reaction: The chemicals used to attach or remove artificial nails can irritate your skin. You may see redness, pus, or swelling around your fingernails.

Bacterial or fungal infections. If you bang your artificial nail against something, you may dislodge your real nail from the nail bed. Germs, yeast, or fungus can get into the gap and grow. A bacterial infection can turn your nails green. Nail fungus, on the other hand, starts out with a white or yellow spot on the nails. The nail may thicken over time, and it can crumble in severe cases. See your doctor if you suspect any infections.

Weakened nails. To remove acrylic or gel nails, you soak your fingers in acetone for 10 minutes or longer. This chemical is very drying to your real nails and can irritate your skin. Some artificial nails must be filed off. That can make your natural nails thin, brittle, and weak.

What You Can Do

If you love the look of artificial nails, these tips can help you enjoy them more safely.

  • If you’ve had nail fungus before, stay away from artificial nails. Don’t use them to cover up nail problems.
  • Get nails that can be soaked off instead of filed off.
  • Ask your manicurist not to cut or push back the cuticles too much. They help guard against infections.
  • Pick a salon that hardens gel polish with LED lights, which have smaller amounts of UV light. Apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to your hands before you go under the lights.
  • Use cream moisturizer on your nails, especially after you soak them in acetone.
  • Take a break from artificial nails every couple of months. This lets your real nails breathe and heal from chemical exposure.

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Sunscreen is killing the coral, sea life & is causing skin cancer, NOT the Sun! (Video)

Image: Sunscreen is killing the coral, sea life & is causing skin cancer, NOT the Sun! (Video)

Elizabeth Plourde is talking about sunscreen that is killing the coral, sea life & is causing skin cancer.

Sunscreen Won’t Prevent Skin Cancer but Some Could Actually Cause It

Does wearing sunscreen prevent skin cancer? If you listen to public health officials that urge every man, woman and child to slather on sunscreen every day, you would think the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Aside from those who use sunscreen for the purpose of preventing wrinkles, it’s a safe assumption that many people use it with the intent of preventing skin cancer. But here’s the rub: wearing sunscreen may not actually protect you from cancer and, in some cases, may actually increase your risk.

Applying Sunscreen

Story at-a-glance

  • A study compared the daily application of sunscreen with the occasional use of sunscreen over a period of 4.5 years
  • There was no difference between the numbers of people who developed skin cancer in the daily or occasional sunscreen groups
  • Vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL are associated with a more than 65 percent lower risk of cancer

Daily Sunscreen Use Versus Occasional Use: No Difference in Skin Cancer Rates

A Cochrane Review attempted to determine whether the use of topical sunscreen and physical sun-protective methods (such as wearing protective clothing, hats, and seeking shade) prevented the development of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) compared to taking no precautionary measures.1

There wasn’t much data on the topic to be found, so the review includes the results of just one study, which compared the daily application of sunscreen with the occasional use of sunscreen over a period of 4.5 years.

Among the more than 1,600 Australian participants, there was no difference between the numbers of people who developed BCC or cSCC (the most common types of skin cancer) in the two groups during the trial period.

As noted in the Cochrane Review, “So, there did not seem to be a difference in applying sunscreen daily compared with using it occasionally.”2

While I certainly don’t recommend spending so much time in the sun that your skin gets burned, the one-size-fits-all recommendation from public health officials to apply sunscreen daily may be causing more harm than good.

The fact is, sunlight offers many benefits to your health, the majority of which are only beginning to be understood. Meanwhile, most sunscreens contain harmful chemicals and may not protect your skin from overexposure the way you think they do. Some may even increase your risk of cancer.

Certain Sunscreens May Speed the Development of Skin Cancer

Close to 16 percent of U.S. sunscreens contain vitamin A, which sounds like a natural addition that might be beneficial for your skin, acting as an antioxidant.

However, retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been found to promote the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight.3

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NTP) has been studying the ability of vitamin A ingredients to trigger skin cancer when exposed to the sun for more than a decade.

One study on hairless mice revealed that the development of skin tumors was accelerated when a vitamin-A-laced cream was applied to the mice and then exposed to ultraviolet light daily for one year.4

Despite the known risks, these ingredients are still found in sunscreens with no warnings to consumers. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported:5

“Six years after EWG sounded the alarm about retinyl palmitate, the FDA still hasn’t completed follow-up studies that will allow the agency to take a position on the safety of vitamin A and related chemicals in cosmetics and sunscreens.

Most cosmetics companies have not removed these ingredients from sunscreens and other skin and lip products … EWG calls for sunscreen makers to voluntarily stop adding this ingredient to sunscreens until there is proof that it can be safely used on sun-exposed skin. …

EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens and other skin and lip products containing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, and retinoic acid.”

The SPF Myth: Is Higher SPF Really Better?

Dermatologists at Northwestern University in Chicago conducted a survey to assess people’s understanding of sunscreen labels.6 Many people consider SPF (sun protection factor) as a leading factor in their decision of which sunscreen to buy, despite the fact that, in the study, fewer than half knew what SPF meant.

Meanwhile, most of the people surveyed believed that SPF 30 offered double the sun protection of SPF 15. It’s an understandable assumption, but one that’s blatantly false. In fact, the difference between the two is much smaller — about 4 percent.

While an SPF 15 sunscreen should filter out about 93 percent of UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent. Higher SPFs offer only minute benefits beyond this, with SPF 50 blocking 98 percent, and SPF 100 blocking 99 percent, of UVB rays.7

While SPF works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on your skin, its protective ability is not linear and does not offer a great deal more protection at higher levels.

SPF Refers Only to Protection Against UVB Rays, Not UVA

In regard to SPF, another important factor to remember is that an SPF rating refers only to protection against UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allows your body to produce vitamin D in your skin.

But the most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer are UVA rays. According to EWG:8

“A sunscreen lotion’s SPF rating has little to do with the product’s ability to shield the skin from UVA rays. As a result of the FDA’s restrictions on ingredients and concentrations, U.S. sunscreens offer far less protection against UVA than UVB, particularly those products with the highest SPF.

Because UVA and UVB protection do not harmonize, high-SPF products suppress sunburn much more effectively than other types of sun damage.”

Not to mention, studies show that high-SPF products may not offer the SPF they claim. One study found that even small differences in testing conditions of an SPF 100 sunscreen yielded results between SPF 37 and 75.9

The amount of sunscreen applied, sunlight intensity, sweat, swimming and more can all affect how much sun protection you actually receive. There’s also evidence that people tend to stay in the sun longer when wearing high-SPF sunscreens, putting them at risk of overexposure.10

No Evidence in Support of Full-Body Screening for Skin Cancer?

The nervousness people experience over threats of skin cancer such as melanoma is augmented by U.S. government intervention that equates sun exposure with skin cancer.11

Yet, at the same time, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says there’s not enough evidence that screening for skin cancer can lower skin cancer cases or deaths.

Still, European studies suggest that after public awareness campaigns to inform people about whole body visual screening for skin cancer, the rates of melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers went down, Time reported.12 According to The Washington Post:13

An editorial accompanying the task force’s statement said the ‘I’ rating [insufficient evidence] does not mean there is not a benefit from screening but that more research is needed to determine if it should be recommended — and, if so, for whom.

… the statement doesn’t apply to people who have skin lesions or any other kind of suspicious growths or to those with an increased risk of cancer or a family history of the disease.”

Optimal Vitamin D Levels Linked to 65 Percent Lower Risk of Cancer

Another way that wearing sunscreen daily has the potential to increase your cancer risk rather than decrease it is by blocking your body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

If you do not get regular sun exposure on your bare skin (or consume a vitamin D3 supplement), there’s a good chance you may be vitamin D deficient, which is a risk factor for cancer. One recent study published in PLOS One found vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL are associated with a more than 65 percent lower risk of cancer. According to the researchers:14

We found a clear association between 25(OH)D [vitamin D] serum concentration and cancer risk, according to multiple types of analyses. These results suggest the importance of vitamin D for the prevention of cancer. Women with 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/ml had a significantly lower risk of cancer (~70 [percent]) compared to women with concentrations <20 ng/ml.”

Optimizing your vitamin D levels may reduce your risk of as many as 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin cancers.

Higher Vitamin D Levels at Melanoma Diagnosis May Improve Prognosis

Studies show melanoma mortality actually decreases after UV exposure. Additionally, melanoma lesions do not tend to appear primarily on sun-exposed skin, which is why sunscreens have proven ineffective in preventing it. Exposure to sunlight, particularly UVB, is protective against melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) — or rather, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective. The following passage comes from The Lancet:15

“Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”

In another recent study, it was found that vitamin D deficiency at the time of melanoma diagnosis is associated with thicker tumors that likely have a poorer prognosis.16

The researchers believe increasing vitamin D levels to 20 ng/ml or higher (which is actually still a deficiency state) could result in 18 percent of melanoma patients having thinner tumors and therefore improved prognosis. If their levels were increased to optimal levels (50-70 ng/ml), it’s likely this rate would improve even more.

Oxybenzone: Another Reason Why Many Sunscreens Are Dangerous

Oxybenzone, a popular sunscreen ingredient that has been detected in nearly every American, is believed to cause hormone disruptions and cell damage that may provoke cancer.

This endocrine-disrupting chemical acts like estrogen in your body, alters sperm production in animals and is also associated with endometriosis in women. It has relatively high rates of skin allergy and is a highly skin-penetrating chemical.17 According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):18

“…the chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms.

One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.”

There’s really no reason to risk exposure to this chemical, as safer alternatives exist. In lieu of the skin-penetrating hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone, safer sunscreens tend to use non-nanoparticle sized zinc- and titanium-based mineral ingredients, which block the sun’s rays without penetrating your skin.

Four Steps to Safely Enjoying the Sun

Applying chemical sunscreens every time you step outdoors may do little to prevent your risk of skin cancer while raising other risks. In addition, you’re blocking your body’s production of vitamin D and possibly some of sunlight’s other health benefits, like its pain-relieving properties. That being said, you don’t want to overexpose your skin to the sun and end up with a sunburn, either. To continuously enjoy the positive effects of sun exposure without getting burned, I recommend following these simple safety tips:

1.Protect your face and eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a cap. The skin around these areas is much thinner than other areas of your body and is more at risk for cosmetic photo damage and premature wrinkling. If it’s too hot to protect your skin by covering with light clothing, and you’ll be outside for extended periods, be sure to use a natural mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen on your skin — these products often contain zinc.

2.Limit your initial sun exposure and slowly work your way up. If you are a fairly light-skinned individual who tends to burn easily, limit your initial exposure to just a few minutes, especially if it is in the middle of summer. The more tanned your skin gets, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. If it is early or late in the season and/or you are a dark-skinned individual, you could likely safely have 30 minutes on your initial exposure.

3.Build an internal sunscreen with beneficial antioxidants. Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, can be used both internally and topically to protect your skin from the sun. You can make your own lotion by adding astaxanthin to organic coconut oil, but be careful of staining your clothing, as astaxanthin is dark red.

Other helpful antioxidants include proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and lycopene. Eating healthy is also important. Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn.

Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.

4.Moisturize your skin naturally. Before sunbathing, apply organic coconut oil on the exposed areas of your skin (as noted above, you could add some astaxanthin to the oil for an added measure of protection). This will not only moisturize your skin to prevent dryness but will also give you additional metabolic benefits.

Best Sunscreen To Use: How To Decide Between The Many Lotion Bottles

The long days of summer mean hot weather and the need for more sun protection. Sunscreen protects our skin by either physically deflecting UV rays’ active ingredients or chemically with carbon-based compounds. When choosing a sunscreen we must compare application method, the SPF, and the active ingredients.

In TED-Ed’s latest video, “Which Sunscreen Should You Choose?”, host Mary Poffenroth explains the many forms of sunscreen impact our body and the environment in their own way. For example, sprays are convenient to put on, especially when we’re wet, but science has found most people don’t apply a thick enough layer to get full protection. Inhaling the spray chemicals also come with several health risks.

Rather, a lotion bottle with an SPF of at least 15 is recommended, although 30 is better. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent, and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. This is based on the quantity of solar exposure. Genetics, when, where, and how you spend your time in the sun will determine how much time we have before we burn.

Sun protection factor measures a sunscreen’s ability to filter UVB rays, linked to sunburn and skin cancer. However, SPF only measures UVB rays, and doesn’t protect from UVA rays. Unlike UVB, UVA is not filtered by the ozone at all and doesn’t cause sunburn, but it can lead to darkening and aging because of its ability to penetrate deeper into the skin. A way to tell if your sunscreen protects against UVA rays is if it includes the words “broad spectrum” — the most important thing to look for on a sunscreen label.

When reading a lotion label, remember SPF is in the front, and on the back are the active ingredients like zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, or carbon-based chemicals, such as oxybenzone, butylparaben, 4MBC, and octinoxate.

Taking the time to read the label could make a difference between getting a tan and getting sunburn.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/JX8rv_natkw

4 in 10 Popular Sunscreens Don’t Meet Sun Safety Standards

Nearly half of the most popular sunscreen products sold in the United States fail to meet basic sun safety guidelines, new research shows.

The finding stems from a look at the sun protection labels of 65 products that accounted for the top 1 percent of all sunscreens sold by Amazon.com. Forty percent of those sunscreens lacked the minimal resistance to water and sweat that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends.

Also, the cost of top sunscreens was found to vary wildly, with some products priced 3,000 percent more than others, despite offering no greater sun protection, the researchers said.

“The results were surprising in some ways,” said study author Dr. Steve Xu, a resident in the department of dermatology at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, in Chicago.

“But, there are some important caveats,” he added. “The definition of a ‘sunscreen’ has broadened a lot. Sunscreens are no longer just bright blue bottles thrown in beach bags,” he noted, with less-protective moisturizers now often substituting for more sunscreen-specific products.

“This is probably why so many of the products that didn’t meet AAD guidelines were because of a lack of water or sweat resistance,” said Xu. He pointed out: “If you’re going to be exposed to water [at a pool or beach] or high ambient temperature leading to significant perspiration, then making sure your sunscreen is water- or sweat-resistant is very important.”

Sunscreens are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “over-the-counter” drugs. And, the agency mandates clear sun protection labeling, the researchers said.

The AAD recommends that consumers opt for sunscreens that provide “broad-spectrum protection” against both UVA “aging” rays and UVB “burning” rays.

Screens should provide an overall “sun protection factor” (SPF) of 30 or more, AAD experts advise, to block out 97 percent of the sun’s rays.

And while the FDA has banned sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are either “waterproof” or “sweat-proof,” the AAD says consumers should select “water-resistant” sunscreens that stay effective after 40 minutes of water exposure.

In the study, Xu and his team reviewed the safety labeling of Amazon’s top-reviewed sunscreens.

Most came in cream form, and more than 90 percent offered broad-spectrum protection. Of the top 65 sunscreens, 62 percent were labeled as water- or sweat-resistant.

While the top sunscreens cost just over $3 per ounce, on average, that figure shot up to $24 per ounce for some products and dropped as low as 68 cents for others, even though they offered comparable sunscreen protection, the study authors said.

Despite the shortcomings of some products, a pair of dermatology experts endorsed the use of sunscreens.

“Consumers would be better served to choose the best cosmetic ‘elegance’ among those sunscreens that meet AAD guidelines,” said Dr. Robert Kirsner. He is chairman of the department of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

At the same time, Kirsner stressed that it’s “perhaps better to wear imperfect sunscreens than none at all.” He also noted that “liberal and repeated application may help overcome limited water or sweat resistance in consumer-preferred sunscreens.”

Dr. Mary Chang, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, pointed out that “many people just need sun protection for walking from their car to the office, or to wear under their makeup year-round. These folks do not necessarily need water-resistant sunscreens.”

Still, she acknowledged that for “people who are out on the beach, boating, or out running 10Ks and triathlons, water-resistant sunscreens and repeat applications are crucial.”

In the interest of promoting routine sunscreen use, Chang listed additional factors that consumers should consider. Those include fragrance-free sunscreens, to minimize chemical irritants and allergic reactions; tinted screens that offer a better (less ghostly) overall appearance; and screens that come blended with titanium and/or zinc, for enhanced UV protection.

Sunscreen Myths Busted

When it comes to sunscreens, what are your patients really worried about? Summer is here and parents are worried about sun protection. Or are they? Interestingly, there is a lot more talk in the media about the danger of not getting enough vitamin D as a result of sunscreen use instead of the importance of protecting against skin cancer. Your patients may also be worried about sunscreens actually causing cancer and how some ingredients are endocrine disrupters.

A recent question that a mom asked me was about how the European Commission banned certain sunscreens that are allowed to be used here by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With all of these myths floating around, let’s chat about common myths and the true facts.

Myth #1: You Will Become Vitamin D Deficient if You Use Sunscreen

Although the American Academy of Dermatology contends that there is no amount of UV exposure that is safe enough to prevent skin cancer, we do know that the sun can certainly contribute to appropriate vitamin D levels. A prospective 20-year study[1] of women conducted in Sweden that was published this year underscores the important potential health benefits of sun exposure. The investigators concluded that avoiding sun completely had negative health effects that are comparable to those of smoking. Some experts suggest that only 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM would be enough for vitamin D synthesis.

An evidence review[2] that looked at this question concluded that even though sunscreens can reduce the production of vitamin D under very controlled conditions, their regular use will not usually cause vitamin D deficiency. Also, most people don’t even apply enough sunscreen and certainly don’t reapply it frequently. In fact, in a study[3] that was released last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, only 15% of men and 30% of women used sunscreen as recommended. Almost half, 42% of men, never used sunscreen at all. Available data suggest that sunscreen use does not substantially affect vitamin D absorption.

Myth #2: Sunscreens Are Linked to Early Puberty, Cancer, and Other Diseases

Oxybenzone, a chemical-based ingredient found in sunscreen, has been specifically called out by several consumer media sites as being an endocrine disrupter. A study[4] on rats that were given large amounts of oral oxybenzone raised concern about the estrogenic effects of this agent. However, several studies of this product, which was used topically as a sunscreen on humans, concluded that this is not the case, even with large topical doses.[5]

Myth #3: Europeans Have Banned the Chemicals We Use in Our Sunscreens

Bottom line: There are no ingredients approved in the United States that are banned in Europe. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products of the European Commission published an opinion paper[6] in 2008 based on a review of current evidence of the safety of oxybenzone and concluded that it was safe. In contrast, eight sunscreen ingredients that are approved in Europe are not approved by the FDA. For all of these ingredients, the FDA has determined that they need more data to decide whether they are safe for use in over-the-counter sunscreen products.

What Should Your Patients Know About Sunscreens?

Sunscreens are effective at preventing skin cancer and sun-related damage, and they are necessary. The American Academy of Dermatology provides online advice for consumers on how to purchase and use sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation provides numerous downloadable patient education tools on all things sun-related, including sunscreen, clothing, and eye protection.
Remind patients and families that other measures in addition to sunscreen are just as important, such as covering yourself, not playing outside at certain times of the day, and reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours, especially if swimming. Wear those sunglasses, too.

Now that you know the facts, hopefully you are armed and ready to educate patients about what they really should do: Use sunscreen and protect themselves and their families.

Lathering up with sunscreen may protect against cancer — killing coral reefs worldwide.

Lathering up with sunscreen may prevent sunburn and protect against cancer, but it is also killing coral reefs around the world.That’s the conclusion of a team of international scientists.

Researchers found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly. The highest concentrations of oxybenzone were found in reefs most popular with tourists.

Lathering up with sunscreen may prevent sunburn and protect against cancer, but it is also killing coral reefs around the world.

That’s the conclusion of a team of international scientists, which includes University of Central Florida professor and diving enthusiast John Fauth.

The researchers found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly. The highest concentrations of oxybenzone were found in reefs most popular with tourists.

“Coral reefs are the world’s most productive marine ecosystems and support commercial and recreational fisheries and tourism,” Fauth said. “In addition, reefs protect coastlines from storm surge. Worldwide, the total value of coral reefs is tremendous. And they are in danger.”

The team’s findings are published in today’s edition of the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

Executive director and researcher Craig Downs of the non-profit scientific organization Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Virginia led the team. The scientists collected samples from reefs in Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Eilat, Israel diving into the water themselves. They wore no personal hygiene products during the dives.

“The use of oxybenzone-containing products needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral reef conservation is a critical issue,” Downs said. “We have lost at least 80 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. Everyone wants to build coral nurseries for reef restoration, but this will achieve little if the factors that originally killed off the reef remain or intensify in the environment.”

In laboratory experiments, the team exposed coral larvae and cells of adult corals to increasing concentrations of oxybenzone. The research team discovered that oxybenzone deforms coral larvae by trapping them in their own skeleton, making then unable to float with currents and disperse.

Oxybenzone also caused coral bleaching, which is a prime cause of coral mortality worldwide. Corals bleach when they lose or expel the algae that normally live inside them, thus losing a valuable source of nutrition. In addition, coral larvae exposed to increasing oxybenzone concentrations suffered more DNA damage.

Cells from seven species of corals were killed by oxybenzone at concentrations similar to those detected in ocean water samples. Three of the species that the researchers tested are currently listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.

The team concluded in the published paper that “Oxybenzone poses a hazard to coral reef conservation, and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change.”

Others on the research team included scientists from Haereticus Environmental Laboratory; the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the National Aquarium in Baltimore; the University of Hawaii; and Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.

So what can everyday divers do to protect the reefs?

“Wear rash guards or scuba wetsuits and skip all the hygienic products when you go diving,” Fauth said. “If we could do it for a week at a time, people can certainly forgo it for a few hours to help protect these reefs for our children and their children to see.”

A Spotlight on Sunscreen Regulation.

There may be nothing new under the sun, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facing calls for something new under the agency’s authority over sunscreens. In recent months, the FDA has declined to permit use of eight new sunscreen ingredients without additional data, although those ingredients have been used in Europe for more than 5 years and despite the recent passage of a U.S. law intended to expedite the marketing-approval process for new products. The controversy says as much about the challenges facing the agency as it does about sunscreen regulation.

Melanoma is a significant public health problem. Each year, 75,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with and 10,000 die from the disease .

New Cases of Melanoma of the Skin and Deaths per 100,000 Persons, 1992 through 2012.).1 The primary cause of melanoma is known: DNA damage resulting from exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Nevertheless, melanoma rates have been increasing for decades. Reducing exposure to ultraviolent radiation, from both the sun and artificial sources such as tanning beds, is essential to prevention.

In 2012, the FDA determined that sunscreens blocking a broad spectrum of ultraviolet radiation with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater could be marketed as reducing the risk of skin cancer. However, it did not remove from the market other sunscreens, such as those with a lower SPF that may only help prevent sunburns. As a result, some Americans may be purchasing “sunscreens” without knowing that there’s no evidence that they protect against cancer. In addition, many Americans fail to use sunscreen as recommended altogether.

Most broad-spectrum sunscreens marketed in the United States contain oxybenzone or avobenzone to block the type of ultraviolet radiation, known as UVA, that is most closely linked to cancer. Since 1999, the FDA has approved one new ingredient, ecamsule, for use in limited formulations for this purpose. In 2002, the agency established a mechanism for considering data from experience elsewhere, including in European countries, where sunscreens are regulated as cosmetics and other ingredients are widely used. But the agency did not take action on applications submitted through this pathway for more than a decade.

In 2013, advocates for patients with melanoma, dermatologists, and manufacturers of new ingredients came together in a coalition called Public Access to SunScreens (PASS). This group argued that the new ingredients would result in products that are more attractive to consumers, such as longer-lasting products that don’t require frequent reapplication. Expressing its dismay over the lack of action on the pending sunscreen applications, the coalition pressed Congress to impose tighter deadlines for FDA decision making. This approach, however, did not fully consider the agency’s framework for review of sunscreens, resource needs, and public health role.

With respect to new prescription drugs, the FDA generally moves faster than European regulatory agencies, and it approved 41 products in 2014 — the most in 18 years. Key to this pace is the fact that under U.S. regulatory law, the agency tailors its approval decisions to the data at hand, receives extra resources (from user fees) for drug reviews, and if problems emerge after approval, has the ability to move quickly with a range of actions to protect the public. Although this process is well suited to individual new therapeutics, it is cumbersome for many products intended to be sold over the counter in a wide variety of formulations and concentrations.

Over-the-counter products such as sunscreens are usually regulated through an entirely different process designed for products posing little to no risk, under the standard of “generally recognized as safe and effective.” There is no product-specific approval decision; rather, the agency must issue proposed and final rules, with multiple opportunities for public comment, before authorizing each class of products. As with other agency regulations, rules for over-the-counter products generally require economic analyses, with clearance often required from both the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Unlike review of new prescription drugs, the pathway for over-the-counter products is supported by no additional resources. Between procedural requirements and inadequate resources, over-the-counter product regulation proceeds in slow motion as compared with the rest of the agency. Rulemaking typically consumes many years, or even decades. Existing sunscreen ingredients, for example, are not, even now, the subject of a final regulation by the agency.

Once issued, rules for over-the-counter products allow companies to manufacture a broad array of formulations and dosages and to market them extensively. The agency has little ability to require the collection of data on long-term safety or efficacy. Even if new troubling safety information on over-the-counter products comes to light, the FDA cannot alter its approach quickly. Instead, it must begin the laborious rulemaking process all over again. These limitations understandably lead to a cautious approach to approving products, such as sunscreens, that are designed for long-term use by millions of children and adults in the absence of disease.

Indeed, in early 2014, the FDA released letters finding insufficient evidence to consider several of the new sunscreen ingredients “generally recognized as safe and effective.” Then, in September, an FDA advisory committee recommended that the agency collect a broad set of data for evaluating all new sunscreen ingredients, including data on skin irritation, carcinogenicity, and developmental toxicology.2

At the end of the year, with the support of the PASS coalition, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed bipartisan legislation called the Sunscreen Innovation Act. The new law set deadlines for FDA review and removed several procedural requirements for agency action. However, the legislation provided no new resources, no new authority for postmarketing safety, and little new flexibility for the agency in the review process.

Soon after the law’s passage, the FDA released a proposed decision to reject all eight pending ingredients, citing multiple gaps in data, including key safety studies and reports of adverse events in countries where relevant products are marketed.

The agency’s proposal provoked a swift and angry response. In a press release, the PASS coalition stated that the agency “demonstrates clear disregard for increased rates of melanoma and the public’s demand for latest sunscreen technology.”3 The Wall Street Journal editorial board stated that “the agency’s willful culture of control and delay is the real public-health menace. . . . The only solution is to strip the sunscreen police of all powers over the stuff.”4

These attacks missed their mark. It’s no surprise that the FDA would act cautiously given the scientific advice it’s received and a legal structure that essentially provides it with just one tool: authorizing extensive marketing of multiple products and formulations. Understanding the FDA means recognizing that the framework for over-the-counter products is not designed to promote innovation, even innovation with potential public health benefits.

In my view, Congress should try again and pass legislation establishing an alternative approval pathway that combines the flexibility of the new drug pathway with the ability to simultaneously approve multiple formulations and concentrations. The FDA should be able to negotiate with sponsors to get the right data without years of rulemaking, establish postmarketing data requirements, consult with other countries’ regulators to establish consistent standards where possible, and move quickly in the event that safety concerns emerge. Congress should provide additional resources to facilitate timely analysis and review. That this path is viable is evidenced by the fact that the one approval of a product with a new sunscreen ingredient in the past decade came through the new drug pathway.

More timely and flexible review can expand sunscreen options for consumers and complement other measures to reduce melanoma prevalence. Promising steps include FDA efforts to discourage use of tanning beds and initiatives by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote prevention measures. The federal government should also reconsider whether it makes sense to continue allowing some products to be marketed as sunscreen without evidence of protection against cancer. After all, the ultimate goal is to make meaningful progress against this public health problem.