School is out. Summer is almost here. It is time for the season of being outside, in the water and in the sun. Sunscreen should be a staple in your day-to-day at this point. Even if you are just going to be out running errands its best to protect your skin. I hope the guide below will help you make informed decisions when choosing a safe sunscreen.
Skin Cancer Prevention
I will be 30 in a few days. One of the fun perks of getting older are yearly visits to the dermatologist. I have not been so protective of my skin in the past and now I am paying the price.
According to the CDC there are several risk factors for skin cancers. Most of them are genetic, like having light-colored skin, a family history of skin cancers or red hair. See the full list here. The most bothersome part of the list are the risk factors that I could have controlled earlier in life.
Exposure to the sun through work and play.
A history of sunburns, especially early in life.
A history of indoor tanning.
I was always in the sun when I was younger. We NEVER put sunscreen on unless we were at the beach or pool. We only re-applied if we started to burn (which was always too late). I started using a tanning bed at 14.
I can not go back and change the things I did to my skin.
Maybe the information wasn’t really out there when I was younger. But it is now.
Today I do everything I can these days to protect myself and my girls from the harmful effects of the sun. When your 9 month old is diagnosed with cancer that really changes how you see things. You couldn’t pay me to get in a tanning bed these days. My girls will NEVER let their vanity get in the way of their health. There will be no tanning in this household.
So here we are. You can’t change your genetic makeup or your past mistakes but from here on out you do have a choice.
Be conscious of what you are doing to your skin.
Keep an eye on your time in the sun.
Wear a safe sunscreen every time you leave your house.
Wear bathing suits that cover more of your skin.
The Secrets about Sunscreen
I never really thought about sunscreen and what was in it. I just assumed the higher the SPF the better the sunscreen. Generally I liked to pick out the ones that smelled the best. These are NOT good ways to pick out your sunscreen.
Not all sunscreens are created equal. Did you know that your sunscreen could actually being doing more harm than good? Did you know that your sunscreen could be putting toxins into your body? Into your children’s bodies? Sunscreens might be protecting your from getting sunburnt but not protecting you from the harmful rays of the sun that penetrate deeper into your skin.
Common components of chemical sunscreens can cause hormone disruptions, allergic reactions and even cause free radicals (which turn into cancer) to grow.
Y’all….. That is scary.
I’m supposed to think that putting these chemicals on my kids every day is safe? Things that might affect their ability to have children one day? That might cause them to have cancer?
I’m not going to be that mom.
There are other options out there!
Have you heard of the Environmental World Group? If not, you HAVE to check them out!
“The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. ” (www.ewg.org)
I pretty much use them as an authority on EVERYTHING! Products are even starting to be labeled with the EWG seal of approval!
The EWG has just released its 2017 list of best and worst kids sunscreens. Surprisingly there are a lot that you can buy in regular stores like Target and CVS. Almost all can be purchased on Amazon of course. There are lots of options at various price points too. I’ll be testing them out and getting reviews out this summer but I wanted yall to go ahead and take a look at this list.
According to the EWG you want to make sure you are avoiding sprays, powders and SPFs over 50 as well as Oxybenzone ( which adds estrogen to your bloodstream), Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate (which can cause free radicals to grow) and added insect repellent.
The FDA grandfathered a bunch of chemicals into the equation back in the 70s and haven’t done much testing since. The cosmetics industry in general is highly unregulated. Makeup, shampoos, soaps…. all of it.
Please, Please, Please educate yourselves. Don’t think that something labeled for kids, or as organic or healthy is automatically safe. Read the packaging. If you don’t understand, look it up. Ignorance is bliss until it affects the health of someone you know. Protect yourself and your kids this summer!