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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hidden Dangers in Sunscreen

At the first signs of warm weather millions of Americans including myself, toss off those bulky winter coats and head outside for some fun in the sun. In a sun induced trance, I always hustle to the grocery store and grab the first sunscreen I see with the highest SPF.  The Environmental Working Group recently published a 2012 sunscreen guide which will have you and I both think twice before grabbing any sunscreen off store shelves.

There are several questionable sunscreen ingredients, but the worst offenders are:

1.Retinyle Palmitate
4.Uv Filters

  • Uv filters have an estrogenic effect on your body and are known to elevate the levels of estrogen found in women. 
  • Retinyle Palmitate - a popular sun screen ingredient, that is a form of vitamin A. However, a 2010 study conducted by the Environmental working group revealed that the use of synthetic vitamin A may speed up the development of skin tumors and legions when applied to the skin.
  • Oxybenzone-found in half of the beach and sport sunscreen on the market, has hormone disruptors that can effect regulations of reproductive, thyroid,nervous and immune systems. Experts also warn against using any sunscreen that has oxybenzone in it on children due to their still developing systems.
  • Fragrance- according to the Environmental Protection Agency, many sunscreens contain fragrances that can have several hundred unlabeled ingredients, some of which are hormone disruptors and probable carcinogens.
What makes a good sunscreen?

Natural sunscreens that contain minerals such as, zinc or titanium dioxide are the best choices. These sunscreens do not penetrate the skin and offer uva protection. 

What are other ways to be safe in the sun?

  • Shade
  • Wearing a wide brim hat
  • Covering yourself with clothing that offers sun protection
  • A nutritious diet that contains foods that are high in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals.
Be sure to consult the 2012 EWG sunscreen guide for more information and list of the best and worst sunscreens.

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