Monday, June 20, 2016

The Longest Day: Could sunscreen give you cancer?

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We're gonna need lots of sunscreen today! It's the Summer Solstice. The day with the longest amount of sunlight. We know too much sun exposure is not safe, but is sunscreen actually safe?


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Now is the time to step up on our sunscreen usage to protect our skin from skin cancer and premature aging, right? Well, I have heard and am hearing again that chemicals in your sunscreen undergo changes when they are exposed to UV rays. You may have seen an article about it recently. Some ingredients oxidize and release those dreaded free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons that attack normal molecules to steal electrons they need. They turn a healthy molecule into an unstable free radical starting a chain reaction damaging cells increasing the risk of cancer.

The link below is an article about research done on zinc oxide and how it changes when exposed to sunlight. It was done on lung cells however, not skin cells.
Could sunscreen be giving you skin cancer?

Don't Panic! I started to panic myself! But I remembered, we have a weapon to fight free radicals, anti-oxidants! Anti-oxidants repair and prevent cell damage by donating one or more molecules to an unstable free radical stopping the chain reaction. The anti-oxidant remains stable even though it gave up one electron or more. According to Coppertone Solar Research Center, the use of anti-oxidants in sunscreens reduces free radical formation by 74% when skin is exposed to UV light. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant frequently used in sunscreen. It will help protect skin cells from free radicals.

Many sunscreens now contain anti-oxidants including my favorites Ocean Potion, Hawaiian Tropic and the organic Badger Sunscreens and Goddess Garden sunscreens. Read your labels. Look for the anti-oxidants. Here are some that are frequently found in sunscreens.

Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
Ascorbic Acid ( Vitamin C)
Cholescalcifferol Acid (Vitamin D3)
Olive Oil
Soy
berries

Eating foods rich in anti-oxidants will provide extra protection, too. It is easy to do especially in the summer. Fruits, veggies and beans are full of antioxidant compounds. Some of the top anti-oxidant foods include kidney, black and pinto beans, berries, artichoke hearts, apples, pecans, cherries, plums and russet potatoes.


Have a healthy, happy skin day!
  xo 
Jill
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