When I was about one years old my mother put sunscreen on me for the first time. The chemicals in the sunscreen caused a reaction in my skin making me photosensitive. I broke into a horrible rash where ever my skin was exposed to even the smallest amount of sunlight. Even though the chemical sunscreen was washed off. The photosensitive reaction lasted more than a year. I had to stay out of the sun altogether. I wore a turtleneck, tights, gloves and a wide brimmed hat whenever I was outside. We called it my “great gatsby error”. Thankfully , it was not permanent and I was, eventually, able to tolerate sunlight again. But you better believe my mother didn’t put sunscreen on me for a long time. Back in the early 80’s most sunscreens were made with a chemical called para amino benzoic acid (PABA). The PABA was eventually determined to be potentially dangerious and causing alot of difficulty with photosensitivity for users. They slowly moved away from it as a sunscreen ingredient and moved towards other chemicals to block and absorb UV rays.
Now we are studies are finding that some of these chemicals being used in sunscreen are harmful to your health. According to Dr. Arthur Perry, MD.
“There are 17 individual sunscreen ingredients that are FDA approved: 15 of these are clear chemicals that absorb UV light and two are made of minerals that reflect UV light. Of these 15, nine are known endocrine disruptors. To be effective, chemical sunscreens need to be rubbed into their skin 20 minutes before sun exposure. They do a pretty good job at blocking UV light, but they actually get used up as the sun shines on them. In fact, some sunscreens lose as much as 90% of their effectiveness in just an hour, so they need to be reapplied often. This is not the case with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the two mineral, or physical, sunscreens. These two work very differently – they sit on the surface of the skin and physically block UV light.
Chemical sunscreens don’t sit on the surface of the skin – they soak into it and quickly find their way into the bloodstream. They scatter all over the body without being detoxified by the liver and can be detected in blood, urine, and breast milk for up to two days after a single application. That would be just fine if they were uniformly safe – but they’re not.
As I mentioned, nine of the 15 chemical sunscreens are considered endocrine disruptors. Those are chemicals that interfere with the normal function of hormones. The hormones most commonly disturbed are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid. Endocrine disruptors, like some ingredients in chemical sunscreens, can cause abnormal development of fetuses and growing children. They cause early puberty and premature breast development in girls, and small and undescended testicles in boys. They cause low sperm counts and infertility. Endocrine disruptors that act like estrogen can contribute to the development of breast and ovarian cancers in women, and other endocrine disruptors may increase the chance of prostate cancer in men.”
Sounds great doesn’t it? So here we are summer after summer, slathering ourselves and worse yet, our children with toxic chemicals that cause some serious damage to the body.
But skin cancer is still a real issue , so what do you do? Expose your kids to cancer causing UV rays or toxic endocrine disrupting chemicals? Thankfully those are not the only two options.You can be safe in the sun by using effective all nature protections.
- Cover up: wear long sleeves and hats when ever practical, rash guards work great for covering up kids in the pool or beach, leaving less skin exposed to UV rays.
- Avoid direct sun from 10am to 4pm. Stay in the shade when possible, utilize umbrellas or canopies.
- Use All Natural chemical free sunblock
The Wellness Mama blog had a great post about how to make your own sunscreen. You can read it here.
The recipe utilizes natural UV blocking ingredients such as zinc powder, coconut oil red raspberry seed oil. I could not find zinc powder anywhere in stores so I got a little creative with mine. But it worked out great. It is easy to make, easy to apply and all natural. No harsh toxic chemicals. It is a little greasier than store bought sunblock, but better than slathering my kids with poison.
I used zinc cream that I found in the baby isle of the pharmacy. It is a 40 % zinc oxide diaper cream, that doesn’t have that “desitin” smell to it. It was just the generic store brand zinc oxide cream.
I melted 14 oz. Coconut oil in the microwave until liquid and warm. I then squeezed in an entire 4 oz. tube of the zinc cream and mixed until completely dissolved in the coconut oil. I then added 1 tablespoon red raspberry oil and 50 drops of sweet orange essential oil for scent. I poured it into a mason jar with a lid and allowed it to cool. I reapply ever 2 hours and it works great. We still utilize the rules above about limiting exposure to the sun and covering up.
Have a fun and safe All Natural summer!
Check out my other all natural summer remedies :
DIY Soothing Aloe Spray for sunburns