One of our biggest skin enemies is the sun. Whether you like to lay out for some natural color or just go about your life outdoors, every minute you spend in the sun, unprotected, can cause damage.
As your skin absorbs UV rays, a chemical change takes place in your skin cells. It can break down cells, causing damage and free radical production. Free radicals are cells with unstable electrons that are produced as a result of damage. As they search for electrons, they cause damage themselves, causing a chain reaction of damage that goes far beyond what the sun started.
Long term, sun damage can cause premature aging, discoloration, changes in skin texture, and even skin cancer.
The obvious fix for this is to make sure you’re wearing sunscreen at all times. Except, did you know that sunscreen can also be detrimental to your health?
You may not realize that your skin is an organ, the largest organ in your body in fact. You wouldn’t rub chemicals on your kidneys, why do it to your skin? So what exactly do you need to avoid?
First of all, realize the difference between sunblock and sunscreen. Sunblock contains ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural and sit on the top of skin to physically block the UV rays from penetrating the skin. These are a bit harder to work with and can be messy, as well as needing to be washed off later.
Sunscreen contains ingredients that absorb into skin to block UV rays from the inside and protect deeper layers of skin. These ingredients include octinoxate and oxybenzone, which are synthetic. Octinoxate helps ingredients absorb into the skin easier, but it can disrupt hormones in the body. Oxybenzone can also disrupt hormones as well as cause an allergic reaction.
Other ingredients to avoid are parabens, which are preservatives, and retinyl palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A. This sounds like a good thing, but it actually breaks down when exposed to UV rays and can cause free radical damage.
Other things to avoid when picking a sunscreen are sunscreens that only protect against UVB rays and not UVA rays. Don’t use a spray-on sunscreen as they are not as effective. Also, though it may sound safer to use a sunscreen with an SPF of more than 50, it is pretty much pointless. 50 is perfectly adequate, claims of a higher SPF are mainly just to get you to pay more money.
A popular brand of sunscreen is Shiseido, a Japanese company that makes a lot of other products. While their sunscreen may be effective, you might want to take another look at the label. While it does contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, both effective and natural sun blockers, they fall very low on the list of ingredients, under a ton of others that are unpronounceable.
Hidden among those is octinoxate, as well as aluminum hydroxide, a controversial ingredient in things such as antiperspirants. Also on the list of ingredients is fragrances, which if synthetic can be concerning, as well as BHT, butylated hydroxytoluene, a concerning preservative ingredient.
If you want a natural alternative to the concerning sunscreens on the market, try ourSuntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen. It contains none of the problematic ingredients such as parabens, chemical UV absorbers or anything synthetic.
The main active ingredient is zinc oxide, with other soothing natural ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea, pomegranate seed oil, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and essential oils for fragrance. It includes many antioxidants, to protect your skin from free radical damage.
It has been tested repeatedly for allergic reactions and irritations.
When it comes to skin protection, the choice is obvious. Don’t rub chemicals into your largest organ, go natural and protect it from sun damage!
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