I still remember the painful nights I endured during summers in Florida when I was a teenager. The consequences of slathering baby oil all over my skin were brutal. My hair was desiccated from Sun-In and lemon juice, hoping to achieve summer highlights that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise because I wasn’t allowed to bleach my hair. I was a sun worshipper. Years later, I found myself spraying SPF 70 on my kids while they occasionally gagged on the fumes. I thought I was doing the right thing applying sunscreen, until several more years later. I found out that sunscreen sprays may be unsafe and high SPF sunscreens may actually raise the risk of cancer.
The problem with sunscreen sprays is that they contain chemicals that can be harmful, especially towards hormones. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposes that there are only two chemicals that we have enough safety information about to determine they are safe and effective and those are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. So go into your bathroom and throw out sunscreen products that contain any of these 5 chemicals that carry the highest risk of toxicity (tip: avoid all the “O’s” in sunscreen):
The problem with high-SPF sunscreens (SPF over 50) according to the FDA is that they not only overpromise protection, they may also overexpose people to UVA rays and raise their risk of cancer (sunscreen only blocks UVB rays, fyi). Since high-SPF sunscreens contain higher concentrations of chemicals, they may have a greater effect on your hormones. So go into your bathroom and throw out sunscreen products with an SPF of 50 or higher.
Using a sunscreen should be a last resort. Wearing shorts, pants, and hats that shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays can reduce your risk of burn by 27%. Planning your day around the sun, such as going outdoors in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky can also help reduce sunburns.
• Badger Active Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
• Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, SPF 30