Sunscreen: What You Need to Know!

Sunscreen: What You Need to Know!

Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel by Robin Foroutan and Stephanie Mandel

Sunscreen: What You Need to Know!

May 16, 2019

Photo taken in Credo Beauty, NYC


Whether you’re gearing up for beach season or traveling somewhere warm and sunny, we want to make sure you’re practicing safe sun protection. While many common brands of sunscreen contain endocrine-disrupting ingredients like triclosan, parabens, and triclosan, there is a growing number of health-conscious brands selling safer sunscreens. Below, we explain what to watch out for in conventional sunscreen and how to choose cleaner products.


- DO I EVEN NEED SUNSCREEN? WHAT ABOUT GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D? -

While a certain amount of sun exposure is important for healthy vitamin D levels, it’s also true that the sun’s intense UV rays can cause sunburns, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancers. Sunscreen can protect the skin against the effects of too much sun exposure and free radical damage from UV rays.


- WHAT'S THE CONCERN ABOUT SUNSCREEN? -

While it was once thought that sunscreens are not absorbed through the skin, we now know that they are — on May 6, 2019, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study showing that common sunscreen ingredients do in fact show up in the blood when applied to the skin. Other studies have shown that sunscreen ingredients can be measured in breast milk and urine samples. A number of these ingredients can have detrimental effects on our health — more on that below.


- WHICH INGREDIENTS SHOULD I AVOID? -

Some of the chemicals to avoid include:

  • Methyl, ethyl, and propyl parabens
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Octisalate
  • Homosalate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Triclosan

- WHY ARE THESE PROBLEMATIC? -

Endocrine disruption: Most of these chemicals act as endocrine disruptors — compounds that mimic female hormones and suppress male hormones by binding with estrogen receptors. This activity is thought to increase the risk of hormone-related cancers like breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers in adults, and affect reproductive development in children.

Skin cancer risk: Retinyl palmitate has been found to increase the risk for skin cancer when exposed to UV light in animal studies. While this effect is certainly concerning, retinyl palmitate continues to be an ingredient in many sunscreens.

Environmental concerns: Many of these chemicals have been found to damage sea life and coral reefs, leading Australia, Hawaii, and Palau to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Skin damage: Oxybenzone may cause skin irritations, and octinoxate may cause cellular damage to the skin.


- HOW CAN I CHOOSE A SAFER SUNSCREEN? -

A great resource for checking sunscreen safety is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. It also provides a list of the cleanest products available.

When shopping for a sunscreen, opt for a mineral-based lotion that uses natural titanium and zinc, which functions as a mirror to reflect the sun’s rays. There are various natural sunscreens that are safe and effective!


- SOME OF OUR FAVORITE CLEAN SUNSCREENS INCLUDE -

Don’t see you’re favorite clean sunscreen on our list? Let us know - we love hearing from you!

Pro tipDid you know there are certain foods and drinks that boost your skin’s natural SPF? Check out our Eat Your SPF post to learn more.

WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK

This guide was written by Dr. Morrison and the health and nutrition experts at The Morrison Center. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health through the treatment and prevention of disease.

THE TEAM

JEFFREY A. MORRISON, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Morrison is an award-winning medical doctor, a leader in the field of Integrative Medicine, and champion of a nutritional approach to healthcare. 

ROBIN FOROUTAN, MS, RDN, HHC

Robin is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine and holistic healing modalities. She helps her clients address complicated conditions and return to wellness.

 

STEPHANIE MANDEL, NC, HEALTH COACH

Stephanie is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner with a passion for helping her clients fulfill their potential through both emotional and physical optimization.

 



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