Is your sunscreen protecting you or do you need protection from your sunscreen? Image via Joe Shlabotnik
So summer is here and the timing is right for dancing in the street, but not without first considering the impact of the blistering sun. The automatic instinct is to grab the sunscreen and slather it on, especially here in the Middle East where the sun is so unrelenting. But have you ever given a thought as to what is really in your sunscreen?
Most unfortunately, despite the fact that sunscreen is supposed to protect our skin, there are chemicals in the sunscreen which are damaging for our health. There are many ways to protect our skin, but one of them should be reading the ingredients on sunscreen so that we can avoid some of the hazardous chemicals.
1. Parabens – This group of compounds can appear on the label in several forms such as methylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben. It is widely used as a preservative, in beauty products and to give sunscreen and other products a long shelf life, however it is easily absorbed through the skin and can disturb hormone levels. Think about the effect this can have the next time you go to put sunscreen on yourself, or on a child.
2. Benzophenone – Either this or similar compounds such as oxybenzone are active ingredients in sunscreen. This is absorbed by the skin and produces free radicals which in turn play havoc with your body, damaging cells and leading to aging skin. Some of these compounds also have an estrogen-like effect which can not only disrupt your body’s hormone balance, but also cause have more adverse effects.
3. Cinnamates – These are often used together with benzophenones and have poor water solubility. This means that they are often used in sunscreens marked “water-proof” where they coat your skin.
Quite apart from avoiding certain ingredients, there are other things to keep in mind when worrying about sun care in summer.
1. There are good ingredients – You might want to have a look for sunscreens with zinc and titanium both of which are natural minerals. Being natural they are both better options for skin protection then chemicals of any form.
2. Vitamin D – The sun is the main source of vitamin D which our bodies need to promote the absorbtion of calcium as well as to keep bones healthy and strong. Having enough vitamin D can also prevent osteoporosis later in life. Of course it is not good to get too much sun, but a little each day it ideal.
3. Cover up – One of the best ways to avoid too much sun, is to simply cover up. Try wearing a hat outside and t-shirts which don’t expose too much skin. It might be fun to wear skimpy summer clothing, but if you are planning a day outside, consider what that could do to your skin.
With all this, burning still happens, so in that case try using aloe vera as a great natural way to soothe your skin. Before you have to deal with burns, finding a sunscreen which isn’t loaded with chemicals and then you can avoid the pain altogether. Or like Green Prophet’s Karen suggests – make your own organic sunscreen.
Read more on chemicals in products:
The Toxic Touch of Beauty Products – 7 Chemicals to Avoid
Some Tips to Consider Before Buying Beauty Products