Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just in Time: Sunscreen Safety

Best sunscreen for kids: all top-rated products
 contain either zinc or titanium minerals to help cut UVA
exposures for sunscreen users.

For years I faithfully slathered myself and my kids with sunscreen all summer.  Spending our summer days on Lake Superior, I was hyper mindful of how fast one of my fair skinned babes could get burned.  But as many of you know, I am a recent cancer survivor and my attention has been redirected to all of the chemicals our family comes in contact with on a daily basis.  Some of it I can't control.  But at the very least I can be a conscious consumer and limit the toxicity that crosses our paths.

So, as I’ve been planning our summer months ahead I’ve been scanning sunscreen labels for the past several weeks trying to make sense out of the countless choices.  Admittedly, I didn’t know what I was looking for until today when a very nice link appeared on my email list.  The Environmental Working Group has put together a great list of sunscreens to keep you and your family a little safer.

So I’m sharing….. And just for the purpose of reiteration I’m highlighting two ingredients to put on your own personal blacklist when you are filling your cart with sun safety.

Vitamin A:  Who knew?  Apparently studies suggest that this ingredient may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. The FDA study of vitamin A’s photocarcinogenic properties raises the possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight. So put it in sunscreen? Um, no thank you.

Oxybenzone – This is the most common active ingredient in sunscreen and was in every bottle in my medicine cabinet.   Experts raise concerns about its use in sunscreens for children because of its ability to penetrate the skin (hello bloodstream) and its connection with allergic reactions and potential hormone disruption.  The hormone disruption point really gets me as my personal tumor was related to some crazed estrogen and progesterone hormones (many breast cancers are) and I can’t help but wonder if these chemicals are related to the rise in cancer incidence.

The good news is that there is quite a list of safe(r) products on the market.  One that especially caught my eye was The Livestrong brand that can be found on  Leave it to Livestrong to be on the forefront of anti-cancer products. 

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