Ah, sweet summer sun. The feeling of the sun’s warmth and light beating on my face, whisking me away to the tropics whilst in my own backward. I know many people who prefer cold weather over warm, but I sure do love my warm weather! With so many healing benefits the sun provides, from enhancing mood and energy through the release of endorphins, to improving sleep, I know for myself I enjoy my fair dose of sunshine. The one thing about the sun that I don’t enjoy is putting on toxic chemical filled products to serve as sun protector… I’m talking about sunscreen! Advocate for sunscreen? YES. Advocate for chemicals sitting on the skin to bake into my skin? Not so much. In an effort to clear my body of toxins to combat many illnesses in my body, including the foods I eat and the products I use, I started making more conscious decisions about the products I choose to put on my body. With summer just around the corner in my area, this new lifestyle had me wanting to understand just what is inside traditional sunscreens, as well as a non-toxic sunscreen to protect my skin in the sun.
Toxins in Sunscreens:
The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters and include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate, with mineral sunscreens using zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. According to Environmental Working group (EWG), lab studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may cause skin allergies and may mimic hormones, which pose important questions about unintended effects on human health from frequent sunscreen application.
Beware of Oxybenzone:
Oxybenzone is one of the most worrisome, and was found in EWG’s 2016 sunscreen database to be added to nearly 70 percent of non-mineral sunscreens. Oxybenzone acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals, and is associated with endometriosis in women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected Oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population, and those with higher Oxybenzone exposures reported using sunscreen.
On understanding Oxybenzone exposure in the body, UC Berkely conducted a study on teenage girls and according to EWG, “investigators at UC Berkeley recently reported a dramatic drop in teen girls’ exposure to Oxybenzone and other ingredients of concern in cosmetics when they switched from their usual products to replacements that did not contain those chemicals”. This tells us that Oxybenzone is very much an active ingredient, one that should be noticed and avoided in sunscreens, as well as other products.
Beware of Methylisothiazolinone, or “MI”.
This inactive ingredient is a preservative that can be found in many household, cosmetic, and personal products. EWG found it listed on the labels of 66 sunscreens and 39 SPF-rated daily moisturizers. This ingredient is known particularly for being a skin sensitizer or allergen. In fact, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named MI its “allergen of the year” in 2013. EWG reports that in March 2015, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety concluded that no concentration of MI could be considered safe in leave-on cosmetic products.
Other worrisome chemicals include Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate) which has hormone-like activity and reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies; and Homosalate, which disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone. A 2010 study of Swiss mothers by Margaret Schlumpf of the University of Zurich found at least one sunscreen chemical in 85 percent of milk samples. For more on toxic chemicals in sunscreens as well as their hormone disrupting properties and skin allergens, visit EWG’s website and view their lab studies here .
Ok, so what do about it?
There’s toxins all around us, but that doesn’t mean we should contribute to it, just because there are some things we can not necessarily control. We can control what we put into our bodies and onto our bodies. It took me a while to get in the natural lifestyle and to have a dedicated practice and devotion to it. Every day I have to make conscious decisions on how I will move forward in the path of being the healthiest version of myself. I am still on the path. I am learning as you all are learning, and growing and healing myself. Whether you are on this path or not, change is not measured on how big or how small the task. Change is measured on effort. If you choose to make decisions best for yourself and your family, one change at a time, and you show up and make the effort, you will reap the benefits! So, if you choose to do the natural route, awesome!! I will include a DIY, non-toxic sunscreen recipe below from DIY Natural, as well as some of her notes on the ingredients and their SPF properties. Know there are so many different recipes to try to tailor for you. Whether or not you choose to try it, keep on reading and learning and finding what resonates with you on your own journey! Good Luck & Happy Sun Shining 🙂
The Following was taken from http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-sunscreen/
Choose your homemade sunscreen SPF
Different amounts of zinc oxide are needed depending on what SPF you would like your lotion to be. Once you have chosen the SPF a little math is involved. The zinc oxide must be a certain percentage of the weight of your ingredients (before adding the zinc oxide). For this reason, it’s easiest to use a kitchen scale when making your sunscreen. For example, if you have 2 ounces of lotion and you’d like to make SPF 10 sunscreen, according to the values below you will need to add .2 ounces of zinc oxide to the lotion. Use the zinc oxide recommendations below.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide
Important: Nano or micronized zinc oxide has been treated to reduce the size of its particles, creating an ultrafine powder. When added to sunscreens it does not leave a white film on the skin, thus making it a popular choice in many commercial sunscreens. The problem with this is that the particles are so small they can enter the body through the skin, causing potential health problems. Be sure to purchase a non nano zinc oxide that has particle sizes as large as possible. (Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle – the zinc oxide we found is 330nm.)
• 1 oz. coconut oil
• 0.8 oz. shea butter
• 0.1 oz. jojoba, sesame, or sunflower oil
• 0.1 oz. Vitamin E oil
• 30 drops essential oils, optional – I use 15 lavender, 10 eucalyptus, 5 peppermint
• zinc oxide powder (determine amount for 2 oz. of lotion)
Ingredients and their properties:
Coconut oil – contains natural SPF properties
Shea butter – naturally protects skin, making it perfect for use in a sunscreen
Jojoba oil, sunflower oil, or sesame oil – these oils are easily absorbed into the skin and also provide some natural sun protection
Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils – eucalyptus has very low natural SPF and lavender is great for soothing and repairing skin. DO NOT use citrus essential oils in your sunscreen, as they may increase sensitivity to sunlight.
Vitamin E oil – nourishes and moisturizes skin, and helps naturally preserve homemade sunscreen
Zinc oxide (non nano) – a non-toxic, usually non-irritating, effective broad spectrum sunblock. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin below. Be sure to use non nano zinc oxide to produce a natural homemade sunscreen.
Directions: Add coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba/sesame/sunflower oil to a makeshift double boiler. (To make your own double boiler, place a Pyrex measuring cup containing ingredients inside a small pot filled with a few inches of water). Heat gently until shea butter is just melted. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool a little. Put on a mask that covers your nose and mouth (to avoid breathing in the fine particles of zinc oxide powder), and measure out your zinc oxide. Add zinc oxide, Vitamin E oil, and optional essential oils to the other ingredients. Stir well to combine. Store in a dark jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.The oils it contains are photosensitive, so do not leave your homemade sunscreen sitting out in direct sunlight.
To Use: Apply liberally to exposed skin. Reapply every few hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.