Summertime, Sunscreen, and Skin Protection for You and Your Family

by Janel DuRoss

Your skin is your largest organ. As a result, you should be aware and knowledgeable about which sunscreens to slather on your skin, as you don’t want it to absorb harmful and hormone-damaging chemicals while you enjoy beach time with family and friends.

There are just so many sunscreen products out there, but how can you tell which ones are best for you and your family? Many of the sunscreens contain harming or even dangerous chemicals that should not be applied to your skin. Keep in mind it’s very important to read the ingredients since many brands market themselves as “natural.”

In reality, natural minerals provide beneficial properties that preserve and protect your skin. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide have been used for at least a century to minimize skin damage from excessive sun exposure. Consider these minerals as your own personal yoga warrior in protecting your skin health.

Look for these natural, mineral-based, skin-friendly ingredients:

Active Ingredients:
-Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide: a natural mineral that comes from clay and sand deposits
remains on the skin and reflects, disperses harmful UVA and UVB rays

Inactive ingredients:
-Jojoba oil: increases skin softness, fine lines and wrinkles
-Shea butter: a natural sunscreen by itself with an SPF of 6, great for scars, blemishes, dry skin, fine lines and rashes
-Tea tree oil: antiseptic/anti-bacterial (+ excellent for acne)
-Sesame oil: UV ray resistance of 30%
-Avocado oil: protects and soothes the skin
-Aloe vera promotes soothing and healing and encourages the growth of new cells by stimulating the skin
-Cocoa butter keeps the skin soft and moisturized
-No parabens
-No harmful chemicals
-SPF of 15 or higher
-Scented with essential oils or unscented
-Broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection
-Water resistant

Benefits of natural mineral sunscreens:

-Less skin irritation and allergic reactions
-Protect, nourish and soothe your skin without clogging your pores
-No need to re-apply mineral sunscreen since it sits on your skin
-Zinc oxide & Titanium Dioxide are minerals that block harmful UVA and UVB rays
-Using natural mineral sunscreen will protect your skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer, think wellness warrior for anti-aging!

AVOID sunscreens that contain (any or all) of these ingredients:

*remember chemicals are easily absorbed into the skin*
-PEG’s (polyethylene glycols)
-Propylene Glycol
-4-methy-benzyldencamphor (4-MBC)
-Octyl-methoyl-cinnamates (OMC)
-Homosalate (HMS)
-Octyl-dimethyl-para-amin-benzoic Acid (OD-PABA)
-Cinnamates, namely octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)
-Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)**
-Benzophenones, especially benzophenone-3
-Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), including octyl-dimethyl PABA

**when Vitamin A is used in sunscreen and exposed to sunlight it could increase the speed the of skin lesions and tumors.

Isn’t it crazy that so many of these damaging chemicals are used in many sun care protection products?!

Some of my favorite natural mineral sunscreens:

Raw Elements
California Baby

You can also do your own research too with excellent information from EWG.

Since we are just starting to peel off the winter layers it is important to not apply sunscreen everyday. When you are outside, this will give your body the opportunity to take in those sun rays for Vitamin D absorption. Keep in mind, if you have fair skin, limit your time outside without sunscreen or if you plan to be outside for prolonged periods, definitely apply sunscreen. Also, to note, if you apply SPF 15 sunscreen your body will still be able to convert the sun’s ray’s to Vitamin D. Be wise with the sun, the beach and the ingredients that’s in sunscreen products, that’s the best way to ensure a long and healthy life!

Happy Summer!

Janel teaches yoga, meditation, thai bodywork and related movement workshops in NJ and NYC. To learn more about her, visit her website.

(Photo by Alex Liivet)