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The Natural Secret of Sunscreens

March 19th, 2010

organic-sunscreen.jpgAh, the glorious sensation of warm sun on your skin! Most people love to be out in the sun, if only for outdoor activities and not the rays themselves. But the doctors all say that lobster red is not our color. They threaten dire consequences if we don’t slather on the sunscreen. Have you looked at the ingredients in most commercial sunscreens, though? Incomprehensible chemicals abound, most of which are unhealthy and some even toxic. Using a natural sunscreen would be safe UV protection and healthier for you and your family.

Exploring the Natural Sunscreen

So how does a natural sunscreen work? Instead of chemicals that prevent absorption of UV rays, natural or organic sunscreens have either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that becomes a reflective barrier between your skin and the sunlight. These two substances aren’t absorbed into your skin like many ingredients of the chemical sunscreens, so they’re not a health risk. Where can you find such a wonderful product? Well, you’ve got two options — you can either make your own organic sunscreen or find a manufacturer you can trust to make a truly natural product.

The pro to making your own sunscreen is that you’re absolutely sure that the ingredients are organic, but the con is that it’s time consuming and much more labor intensive than just buying it in a store. If you’re willing to go through the effort, many recipes call for the combination of the following ingredients: sesame oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, Vitamin E, Shea butter, borax powder, Lecithin, beeswax, green tea extract or aloe-vera gel, and fragrance oil (avoid citrus oils for fragrance as they may cause unpleasant skin reactions when exposed to sunlight). You can find most if not all of these ingredients in your local health food store.

If you’d rather just go buy the stuff, there are two products that seem to top the list of sunscreens claiming to be natural. Badger Balm and Mexitan both get high marks from the Environmental Working Group, which is an organization that tests such personal care products for toxicity. They also get high marks from the consumers for providing products that protect without as much whitening as plain zinc oxide cream. Sunscreens that are claiming to be natural may in fact have questionable ingredients, so research your chosen product well and if in doubt, check consumer advocates like EWG.

The Sun Is Not Your Enemy

Our poor sun has gotten a bad rap lately. Sunlight is not the root of all evil — it happens to be a very important part of healthy living. It triggers the body to make vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in your body’s overall health. Safe sunlight exposure can actually protect against many different types of cancers. Plus a steady, moderate exposure will decrease your chances of some skin cancers by decreasing your chance of getting a sunburn. The sun is not your enemy, but toxic chemicals are! Finding a natural way to get safe sunlight exposure is your best bet.


This article on natural sunscreens was supplied by Michelle O’Leary from Constant Content.


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