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Sunscreens for safe fun in the sun!

Natural SuncreenHere in Australia we love our sun. In spite of all the warnings about how harmful too much sun can be, we love an active outdoor life. Having fun in the sun is our national pastime. We head off to beach, or for a picnic for a great family day out, complete with barbeque, cricket bat and plenty of sunscreen! But what exactly are you putting on your skin and what effect is it having in your body?

If you can’t pronounce it, then do you really want it on your skin?

Here are some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in commercial sunscreens:
  • Parabens
  • Benzophenone (oxybenzone)
  • Octinoxate
  • Cinnamates
  • Homosalate
They are harmful because they increase the risk of cancer. When they react with UV rays they can become carcinogenic. They can disrupt oestrogen levels in your body, which in turn disrupts your endocrine system. They have also appeared in breast milk. Apart from looking after her own skin, what mother wouldn’t want to ensure that the delicate skin of her young child is protected from sun damage? The answer is by making sure they are covered – in sunscreen! The higher the SPF and the more frequent the application, the bigger the problem. Chemical sunscreens need reapplying every few hours as the ingredients become inactive.

The Importance of SPF

Be aware that SPF only describes how long the sunscreen is active. It is the amount of time it takes for you to burn multiplied by the SPF number. If it takes you five minutes to burn without any sunscreen on, it will take you 75 minutes to burn if you are wearing an SPF15 sunscreen. There are actually very small differences between SPF15 and SPF30. The UV filtration of a SPF 15 sunscreen is 96 percent and the UV filtration of an SPF30 sunscreen is 98 percent.

The Natural Sunscreen Alternative

Natural sunscreens are physical blocks that sit on your skin and do not need reapplying unless you go for a swim and towel down afterwards. Natural sunscreens that use Zinc and Titanium are better for both health and beauty. Titanium, when used for natural sunscreen purposes, is coated so that it does not penetrate the skin but rather performs as a shield. Chemical sunscreens may use nano-particle size Titanium in order to make the product more transparent. However, these particles can enter the body through the skin, becoming highly reactive and potentially harmful. Zinc, as well as a sunscreen, has other benefits such as anti viral and healing properties, which are of enormous benefit to the skin. It is anti-inflammatory, making it good for sensitive skin, and anti-bacterial, making it good for acne-prone skin. Nano-particle size Zincappears not to be as harmful as the Titanium equivalent.

It’s got to be Zinc

It seems we’ve come full circle! Traditionally Zinc Oxide ointment was always used as sunscreen here in Australia!! So sunscreen products made with zinc oxide turn out to be your best option.

Making Your Own Sunscreen

To make your own sunscreen without worrying about the possible effects of nanotech elements found in commercial products:
  • Purchase plain zinc oxide ointment
  • Mix it into your favourite natural skin lotion or face moisturiser
Alternatively the Mr Vitamins store carries several ranges of Natural Skincare products including sunscreens, so please come in and talk to our Naturopathic staff about the best natural sunscreen for you and your family.
If you do get sunburnt, the best soothing and healing thing is Aloe vera gel, preferably straight from a freshly picked leaf or you can buy tubes of Aloe vera from the Mr Vitamins store. Pure essential oil of lavender oil is also very soothing for relieving sunburn.