Sunscreen Causes Cancer? What You May Not Know About Sunscreen
May 7, 2012
Who would think that sunscreen causes cancer? It has been only a fairly recent development, but it still could cause some serious shock and awe when everyone figures out that conventional sunscreen found in drugstores nationally could be a potential risk factor for skin cancer. Sunscreens are made to protect and help your body, so why are we finding out that sunscreen causes cancer? It could be simply widespread ignorance, or it could be that the FDA has kept this secret under wraps for at least a decade.
Sunscreen Causes Cancer?
Studies conducted indicate the dangers of certain chemical compounds within sunscreen could be causing a variety of skin damaging ailments, especially when reacting with the sun’s intensive heat. Though the FDA had supervised and funded the studies showing key ingredients related to vitamin A as carcinogenic, they knowingly prevented the information from being released to the public whatsoever – up until recently. The synthetic vitamin A compound found in many sunscreen brands contain retinol and retinyl palmitate, both found to react negatively in the sunlight, becoming toxic to the system. This isn’t to be confused with the health-enhancing vitamin A that is found in many foods – it is a purely synthetic and ultimately useless ingredient. When combined with the extensive use over time, this kind of sunscreen can lead to skin damage in its users.
These aren’t the only things to be worried about when applying your doctor-recommended photocarcinogen, though. Oxybenzone and other vague mystery chemicals are found amongst a wide variety of name brand sunscreens, with many of these having yet to be proven as safe to use at all. About 8 percent of all sunscreens have been quality tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to be both safe and effective for the intended use, whereas the other 92 percent contain at least one (if not many more) of the ingredients designated as detrimental for human use, further adding to the worry if sunscreen causes cancer.
This means the public not only has been encouraged to buy something that is known to be detrimental for at least a decade, but is only left with a selection that is 8% safe. Not only that, but the sunscreens widely credited as preventative cures for skin cancer are also the root cause of a widespread vitamin D deficiency – a vitamin shown to slash flu risk and fight cancer. There has also been a connection made between vitamin D and weight loss. Vitamin D production is extremely limited when sunscreen is used to protect the body from natural sunlight.
So, now that there has been some research showing sunscreen causes cancer, the question remains: what will people do about it? On a larger scale, it must be demanded by enough people for the harmful ingredients to be omitted from sunscreens. Until then, tell the companies using these ingredients that you don’t want their toxic products. Spend your dollar on a safe sunscreen with safe ingredients.
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A Recipe for Natural Homemade Sunscreen
With spring here, and the anticipation of outdoor adventures on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to start talking about natural protection from the sun! We all know that protecting our skin — the body’s largest organ – from the sun is super important; but sadly, so many of the commercially-prepared sunscreens on the market are laden with harmful chemicals that could actually end up exposing us to the very toxins we are trying to protect ourselves from.
The good news is…there are ways to make your own natural sunscreens at home – not only will this save you money, but it will give you greater peace of mind in knowing exactly what has gone into making it.
Tips for Natural Sun Protection
One hundred years ago the majority of jobs involved working outdoors yet the sunscreen craze was no where to be found – neither was skin cancer. Sure, there were a few cases, but it’s interesting to me that with the increase sales of sunscreen the rate of skin cancer has also increased.
As just a little side note, my goal here is not to persuade you in your thinking but rather I want to challenge you to begin the research on your own. There are some really great articles out that have helped shape my opinion surrounding this issue, such as this one byEnvironmental Working Group (EWG) that describes the dangers of che…, and this one, oh…and you may like this one too. Ultimately the decision is yours and my suggestions here are purely for educational purposes. I strongly encourage you to do your own research and follow conventional wisdom.
So what did the people in years gone by know that we don’t? Well, they:
-were a bit more modest in their dress and wore lots of protective clothing.
-they knew to stand in the shade if at all possible.
-they avoided direct exposure to the noon sun.
-their diets were wholesome and consisted of real foods.
Did you know that we can dramatically improve our resistance to the sun’s harmful rays through dietary changes! Yes! Our skin is our largest organ right? So that means, when our immune system is functioning on low due to an over consumption of processed foods we weaken our first line of defense and place ourselves at greater risk.
I love that seasonal summer foods — such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries (and fruits of all kinds), beans, nuts, and a variety of legumes — are some of the highest antioxidant foods on the planet…just what our bodies’ need for healthy skin and natural sun protection.
Ingredients that Naturally Protect Us from the Sun
There are natural ingredients, some may be found in our kitchens, that work to protect us from over exposure to the sun. Many are oils that contain SPF properties such as:
- Raspberry Seed Oil. The highest of all natural ingredients, contains an estimated SPF of 30-50.
- Shea Butter. An excellent skin protectant with an SPF of approximately 6-10.
- Carrot Seed Oil. Carrot seed oil is an essential oil and has been estimated to contain SPF levels of 30.
- Wheat Germ Oil. While super nourishing for the skin, it too possesses a natural SPF of 20.
- Sesame oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp oil, Avocado oil, Soybean, and Peanut Oil. All contain SPF levels between 4-10.
However, none of these ingredients are necessarily adequate on their own to provide us protection for an all day experience…say, out on the lake.
In order to make your own sunscreen you really should add the natural mineral zinc oxide (and possibly titanium oxide) to your recipe. This will give you real power to reflect the sun’s ray, with minimal negative effects.
Customize this recipe based on your budget and what you have available.
-1 ounce oil blend (use any combination of the oils listed above)
-1 ounce beeswax (adds waterproof properties)
-1 ounce butter blend (i.e. Shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter)
-1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
-0.36 ounces zinc oxide powder
-30 drops essential oils, optional
1. Gather ingredients and kitchen tools. Note: Many of the oils listed above can be found in the grocery store or health food store. I love the quality and cosmetic properties of the oils, essential oils, and butters available from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are my source for these things. Find beeswax here or search for a local source by clicking here.
2. In a double boiler, over low heat, melt the oils, beeswax, and butters.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly prior to adding the vitamin E oil, zinc oxide powder, and essential oils. Note: Wear a mask when working with zinc oxide. Although it has not been proven harmful when used topically, inhaling the substance can be dangerous.
4. Stir until zinc oxide is dissolved. Note: Purchase zinc oxide powder here.
5. Pour into a push-up or roll-up dispenser. This recipe will produce a product similar to a lotion bar or sunscreen stick. You could easily clean out and re-purpose a used deodorant or lip balm container. But, if you want to buy a new one…I love these containers.
6. Allow to cool and harden on the counter overnight and then you’re good to go! During times of heavy sun and swim exposure be sure to reapply often for the best coverage.
-This recipe contains zinc oxide at 12% which gives it an SPF of around 10-12 (note: this has not been approved or tested). See this awesome chart to reduce or increase the amount of zinc oxide based on your family’s needs. Have a question about it? Ask it in the comments and we’ll figure it out together
-Want to reduce your cost of the products used to make this recipe? Call together a group of like-minded friends, ask them if they are interested in making this recipe with you, and split the costs!
-Beneficial, sun protecting essential oils include lavender, myrrh, carrot seed oil, and peppermint. Read more here…
-Want to stick your favorite brand of sunscreen? Don’t feel bad about that! There are a few really good companies out there working hard to provide safe and effective products. Go to EWG’s website to check your commercial sunscreen’s level of chemical contaminants by clicking this link.
-Don’t shun the sun completely! Our fear of the sun has precipitated a societal vitamin D deficiency that is unfortunately taking us by storm — potentially producing an increase rate of cancers, autism, asthma, heart disease, and mental illness, just to name a few.
-This is the recipe that I have used for my family here in the Arizona desert for years with great results. However, I can not guarantee that yours will be the same experience because it has not been tested in an FDA approved lab. In other words, by sharing this recipe with you, I hope you understand that I will not be held responsible for any adverse reactions, sunburns, or skin cancers.
Now it’s your turn! Do you use sunscreen? What brands do you recommend? Have you ever made your own?
Homemade Suncreen Recipe
- 1 tablespoon (3 to 4g) Emulsifying wax
- 1/3 cup (75ml) Jojoba, Grapeseed oil or Kukui Nut oil
- 2 tablespoons (15g) Zinc Oxide
- 2 tablespoons (25ml) Aloe Vera gel (NOT from the pharmacy, from a natural health food store. Pharmacy aloe has alcohol and other preservatives.)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) distilled water
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) Vitamin E
- 10 drops Grapefruit Seed extract
- Up to 30 drops of your chosen essential oil OR one of the Essential Oil blends below
for the rest – go here
Wow Bill – thats shocking! Nanoparticles increased the rate of sun damage to the roofs by 100 times?!!!
Well we know its shredding the ozone layer
These are some good recipes. If a sunscreen does not have ZINC in it (the ONLY physical barrier) — it is basically worthless anyhow. So no sense wasting your money on something that will poison you. Keeping Vitamin D levels high will keep MOST cancers at bay anyhow – so it appears spraying a “sunscreen” into our sky is just another slow kill opportunity. Combine the toxic heavy metals + the poisons from the sunscreens they “recommend” and it is a recipe for bone & skin problems. Now in NZ, if you want Vitamin D above 1000iu, you must get a doctors prescription (Thank you CODEX for this one, along with other vitamins that are now illegal to import in large doses) They recommend taking up to 5000 iu of vitamin D a day for protection against cancer. If you don’t have time to make sunscreen – OASIS sun makes one that is nano-particle free and paraben free. It is the only one I can use because I tend to break out from anything that is greasy. I have not found any others to be effective at all.
When Merchant of Doom stayed (and left again) she left behind sunscreen – to my horror. I picked i up last night and it is labeled this way
extra zinc oxide
Thanks girlie ♥
Score for the occasional time our noses need covering 😉
arrr – I just saw – contains organic ingredients… another way of saying not completely organic? eh he
I have heard that you won’t get burnt if you have sufficient vit B in your body. From my own experience that seems to be true! When I am keeping my health in order I can be in the hot Northern Territory sun for 4 hours and all that has happened is I get really brown, not red and sore! Also that it is the toxins that have collected in the skin that cause the cancer to start when you get burnt. A good reason for skin brushing or loofahing each day maybe. Also sunglasses cause skin cancer. The eyes are not receiving the correct sunlight to tell the body to produce the melatonin that protects the skin from excess sun. I regret immensely using sunblock on my 24 year old daughter when she was young. I prided myself in the fact that I never let her get burnt. They said if you never let your child get burnt until the age of 12 that they would not ever get skin cancer, and I believed them!!!! Now I am horrified. Also she should have inherited her dads olive mediterranean skin and mine is olive too but she is really pale and has only just lately started to be able to tan in the sun, her skin won’t go brown very easily. What damage have I done, I will probably never know. I never put sunblock on and I am nice and brown living in the hottest places in Aussie for most of my grown life. I also started practising sun gazing in the mornings or evenings recently.My eyesight is improving instead of deteriorating, I am 48 years old and my focus had just recently started to get a bit bad. Apparently the Greek people stop what they are doing to watch sunrise and sunset each day. Here in our sunny land of Australia they have been massively campaigning for 30 years or more to cover up – slip slop slap! they say!!!! The sun awakens people and cures health issues. It is the god we should worship – Ra! No wonder the big pharma wanted to stop people from using the sun!! I read a wonderful little story one day about a very sick new born baby. A village wise lady took it to the beach every morning at sunrise and put it naked on the sand to absorb all the sunrise rays and the baby got better. The sun doesn’t harm, it heals and gives life. They have the people SOOO fooled!!!
When is the Best Time to Go Out in the Sun?http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/31/The-R…The optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is asnear to solar noon as possible. That would be between roughly 10:00am and 2:00pm.
During this time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D because UVB rays are most intense at this time. Plus, when the sun goes down toward the horizon, the UVB is filtered out much more than the dangerous UVA.
This information is just beginning to permeate through the mainstream media, so let me repeat and emphasize this important point …If you want to get out in the sun to maximize your vitamin D production, and minimize your risk of malignant melanoma, the middle of the day is the best and safest time to go.You just need to be very careful about the length of your exposure. Remember you only need enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. This may only be a few minutes for some.
Once you reach this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D and any additional exposure will only cause harm and damage to your skin.
Most people with fair skin will max out their vitamin D production in just 10-20 minutes, or when your skin starts turning the lightest shade of pink. Some will need less, others more. The darker your skin, the longer exposure you will need to optimize your vitamin D production.
To learn more about sunlight and vitamin D, including why I recommend getting your levels tested and how to use the sun for cancer prevention, please set aside an hour to watch my free lecture on vitamin D.
Safe Tanning Guidelines
If your skin is unused to the sun, it is important to build up your tolerance regularly and gradually. It’s good to start early in the year, in the spring and early summer. This will prepare your skin for the stronger sunlight later in the year.
At the beginning of the season, go out gradually and limit your exposure to perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so that in a few weeks, you will be able to have normal sun exposure with little risk of skin cancer.
Time of Day — Early morning is, for similar reasons, the best time to sunbathe if you have not already built up a base tan, because you’re less likely to burn in the mild morning sun than later in the day. In addition, it’s best to sunbathe when the temperature is below 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), so that you don’t overheat.
Regular Intervals — Regular sunbathing is extremely important; you can’t cram all of your sun exposure into a two or three week vacation period and expect to experience the benefits.
It’s also important to treat your tanning as a medicine and control the dosage; frequent, short periods of exposure are best. You don’t want to overindulge or skip too many days. Regular exposure actually protects against skin cancer, but intermittent overexposure can increase the danger.
Show Some Skin — A common myth is that occasional exposure of the face and hands to sunlight is “sufficient” for vitamin D nutrition. For most of us, this is an absolutely inadequate exposure to move vitamin levels to the healthy range of 45-55 ng/ml. For optimal benefit, strive to have at least 40 percent of your skin uncovered.
Optimal Exposure Time — In Caucasian skin, equilibrium occurs within 20 minutes of ultraviolet exposure. It can take 3 to 6 times longer for darkly pigmented skin to reach the equilibrium concentration of skin vitamin D.
So, bearing in mind that you need to gradually increase your time, starting in the spring, you should be aiming towards exposing large areas of your skin to the sun, anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours at a time, depending on your skin type and environmental factors.
A light-skinned person fairly far from the equator (such as in the UK or the northern U.S.) needs at least three of these 20 minute sessions per week, in bright midday sunlight and with few clothes. Longer will be needed if sunbathing occurs at off-peak times for ultraviolet light (before 12 PM or after 3 PM) or at the beginning or end of the summer (April or September).
A dark-skinned person, of course, should be outside significantly longer.
The optimal time is between 11am and 1pm to maximise the good UVB rays!!!!
Using Your Skin as a Guide— If you have light-colored skin, you can use the color of your skin to tell you when you’ve had enough sun and it’s time to get in the shade (or cover up using a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a hat). Stay out just long enough so that your skin turns the very lightest shade of pink.
Remember that continuing UV exposure beyond the minimal dose required to produce skin redness will not increase your vitamin D production any further.