Wednesday, November 25, 2015 by mindbodyscience
There’s a lot of fear and misunderstanding when it comes to the sun. Afraid of being burned, consumers are quick to lather on sunscreen chemicals to block out the sun’s rays. This is done without understanding what these chemicals are and what they do to the body’s natural hormone levels. It’s also very easy to neglect the importance of daily sunlight exposure. To maintain a healthy immune system, one should embrace 15-30 minutes of sun exposure each day, instead of avoiding it.
Studies show that 77 percent of cancers are prevented when one absorbs adequate vitamin D from the sun. When consumers rush to block out this important component in their life, they set their body up for a state of disease.
Sunburn is NOT proof that the sun is a dangerous, cancerous vessel. Sunburn indicates an imbalance – a disconnect between humans and nature. Instead of fearing sunburn, one should wonder why their body isn’t protecting itself from the inside out. Most people are disconnected from the science of nutrition found in living foods. Most people are not eating and absorbing the phytonutrients that help with internal sunlight regulation and oxidative stress. One must also know their limits and seek shade when necessary.
Key antioxidants are missing from the standard diet. Antioxidants like astaxanthin help protect the skin from the inside out, naturally preventing UV radiation damage. Astaxanthin is a phytonutrient synthesized by a species of micro-algae called Haematococcus. It has a deep red hue and can be seen in salmon because they feed on the fish that thrive on the micro-algae.
Sunscreen chemicals are like a temporary shield or band-aid that doesn’t get to the root of the problem. They’re not always effective either. There’s no scientific proof that these chemicals protect the skin from damage or cancer. In many cases, sunscreen chemicals pose more risks than rewards.
One common sunscreen chemical called oxybenzone disrupts hormones and may be linked to endometriosis in females and low sperm count in males. The Environmental Working Group reviewed a large number of commercial sunscreens and found out that half of them used the hormone disrupting oxybenzone as an active ingredient in their formula.
When oxybenzone penetrates the skin, it acts like estrogen in the body. This may trigger allergic skin reactions and can negatively affect the reproductive systems of both males and females. For females, this disruption can cause tissue that normally lines the inside of their uterus – the endometrium – to grow outside their uterus. This causes severe abdominal pain and may lead to infertility.
Furthermore, oxybenzone has a 1 to 9 percent skin penetration rate in lab studies. It’s detected in most Americans’ blood and can even make its way into a mother’s breast milk.
Other sunscreen chemicals, like octinoxate, (octylmethoxycinnamate) exhibit hormone-like activity and can alter the function of the reproductive system, thyroid and even behavior in animal studies.
Another common ingredient, homosalate, can disrupt estrogen, androgen and progesterone levels. Exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals can change the very nature of a man or a woman at the hormone level.
Instead of disrupting natural hormone levels with sunblock chemicals, it’s best to reconnect with nature and work with natural sun protection agents. Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil all have documented sun protection factor. Carrot seed and red raspberry seed essential oils have significantly high SPF. Zinc oxide is a mineral sunscreen that can reflect both UVA and UVB rays. It’s equally important to know one’s limitations and find shade intuitively.