You’ve heard about the dangers of the sun’s rays—that it can cause skin cancer and has other harmful effects. And it is advised that to protect your skin, it is important to use sunscreen when you are going to be spending any amount of time outside. You think you’re doing the right thing, but could your sunscreen actually be more harmful to you than you think? Here is a look at the dangers of wearing sunscreen.
The Sun and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important substance that your body needs to function properly. You might have already heard about the benefits of Vitamin D. The best source of the vitamin is by getting exposure to natural sunlight. One study discusses that skin cancer can be caused by a low level of vitamin D, which is surprising considering the sun’s rays is commonly known to cause melanoma. Other studies have found that with low D, you also have a higher risk for breast cancer and prostate cancer. Getting enough, but not too much vitamin D is something to consider when looking for the right sunscreen.
Your Sunscreen and The Ocean
Did you ever consider that your sunscreen could be harmful to ocean creatures? It most likely is not something you think about when you put it on before going to the beach. Studies have found that the chemicals contained in sunscreen may have a significant impact on horseshoe crabs. You might be thinking, so what? Oxybenzone is a chemical commonly found in sunscreens. In the horseshoe crab study, the eggs in control group that had no sunscreen in the water developed normally while the eggs that were in the water with sunscreen didn’t even hatch.
So how does this impact you? If these creatures are affected by the chemicals in sunscreen, then humans probably are too. It also might mean that other creatures are affected, including birds that eat fish.
What are Nanoparticles?
Do you use spray-on sunscreen either on yourself or your children? This could be potentially hazardous to humans as well, especially if it is inhaled. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are chemicals found in sunscreen that are believed to be safe—unless you are using the spray on kind. When the particles are inhaled, they can cause lung damage and other serious health problems.
How Do You Make Sure Your Sunscreen is Safe?
One way to reduce your risk of harm from toxic sunscreens is to eat foods that contain anti-oxidants. This has been known to naturally reduce your risk of sunburn, which can get rid of the need for sunscreen. Another option is to make your own natural sunscreen to avoid toxins.
You can also find sunscreens that are safer and do not have such harmful chemicals. Find one that has zinc oxide, does not contain oxybenzone, and is SPF 50 or lower. The higher the SPF, the more toxic your sunscreen can be.
The best protection of all is to seek shade and cover up with clothes and a hat.
Image via Flickr