Posted: 19 Aug 2014 08:00 AM PDT
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, yet few people realize its full importance for human health. While keeping your heart, liver, and kidneys functioning properly is certainly crucial for survival, so is protecting your skin from radiation and other harsh environmental contaminants. Sunscreen is the leading product in this regard, helping to protect the outer layer of skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. Conventional sunscreen, however, contains a number of chemical ingredients that may actually increase cancer risk. Organic sunscreen is the ideal choice, as these products use only natural ingredients and include no chemicals or other dangerous substances.
6 Dangerous Chemicals in Conventional Sunscreen
Most sunscreens sold today are chemical concoctions that have been linked to a number of health maladies. After knowing the truth about conventional sunscreen, you may never want to use it ever again. Fortunately, natural and organic sunscreen is becoming more readily available, making it easier to find a healthy skin protectant for you and your family.
Here’s a list of the 6 common chemicals in non-organic sunscreens and their health effects. Upon seeing the plethora of negative health consequences associated with non-organic sunscreen, you'll see why I only recommend organic varieties:
Avobenzone is a primary agent in commercial sunscreens due to its effectiveness in absorbing a wide range of ultraviolet (UV) rays, specifically the type that is known to cause sunburn. It’s generally considered a relatively safe chemical, but recent research suggests otherwise. Avobenzone degrades in the sun, resulting in the release of free radicals that may actually increase the risk for cancer.  
In spite of its relatively low toxicity, sunscreen is known to accelerate skin aging. Research has also tied it to a slew of allergies. Often, allergic symptoms may manifest in ways that seem unrelated to chemical exposure, making it a sneaky health-disruptive chemical. 
Sunscreen is often injected with a variety of artificial fragrances as a means of making the product more appealing and tolerable to the senses. The list of aroma-producing chemicals used for this purpose is enormous—over 1,500. You’ll rarely see the actual chemical name of a fragrance on a label, as many chemicals are grouped together under the umbrella term "artificial fragrance."
Cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and birth defects are some of the shocking concerns that have been linked to artificial fragrance.  It shouldn’t be surprising that these chemicals are damaging when you consider how many people are hypersensitive to most synthetic aromas. An increasing number of public places are now banning their use, hoping to decrease health issues in the population.
Oxybenzone and avobenzone function in similar ways, and both are present in the majority of commercial sunscreens. While they do absorb the sun’s rays so they don’t penetrate the skin, they are actually more toxic than avobenzone. This chemical may actually be behind the increased rates of melanoma, the skin cancer that most people are attempting to avoid by using sunscreen! Oxybenzone has been found to lower the birth weight of girls whose mothers’ bodies had high exposure levels. It’s also linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.   
Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in sunscreen as well as a variety of personal care and beauty products. There are 18 different varieties, and you can easily spot them on most labels because they all contain the word 'paraben' in their chemical nomenclature. What makes them dangerous is that they’re estrogen disruptors. Parabens have been associated with infertility, abnormal development of the testes, obesity, asthma, allergies, benign tumors of the uterus or digestive tract, and breast cancer. 
5. Vitamin A
Considering that it is a necessary nutrient, it might seem surprising to see vitamin A listed as a concern. The shocking truth is that when vitamin A–often in the form of retinyl palmitate in sunscreen products–is exposed to UV light, it creates free radicals that may cause genetic mutations that actually increase cancer risk. Daily use of retinyl palmitate by a pregnant woman may also be toxic to the developing fetus. It has been linked to brain swelling, developmental toxicity, cellular changes, and organ toxicity. Retinyl palmitate produces excess reactive oxygen species which can lead to cell death, and the compound may also be involved in cardiovascular disease. 
Why would anyone who knows of the health risks posed by non-organic sunscreens ever use them? They pose incredible health risks, possibly contributing to the very disease they’re supposed to protect against. The only sane way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful effects is by using a sunscreen that’s made from natural materials. Please do yourself and your skin a favor by slathering only organic products on your body.
Do you wear sunscreen? What are your tips for avoiding sun overexposure? Let us know in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
|You are subscribed to email updates from Natural Health & Organic Living Blog |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|