Sunscreen is in the news again! Long touted for their anticancer benefits, four chemical sunscreens are in hot water due to findings detailed in a recent Journal of the American Medical Association article. First, it must be stated that it is imperative to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation. Radiation can induce mutations in your cells’ genetic code which, over time, can lead to the development of malignant cancers. There is no question as to whether you should protect your skin, but there are questions concerning the safety and toxicity of everyday home and body care staples.
The study in question, published May 6th, 2019, assessed the buildup of the active ingredients in household sunscreens in the blood plasma of 24 healthy people. Researchers found that after four days of consistent use at the recommended dose, blood plasma concentration of each key ingredient far exceeded what is generally regarded by the FDA as ‘safe.’ (For those of you who like to know the details, compounds that stay below blood plasma concentrations of .5ng/mL do not require further toxicology testing. The ones assessed in this study were found at concentrations up to nine times that level.)
To clarify, you should ABSOLUTELY use sun protection! A physical barrier such as a light weight shirt is the least toxic and most effective solution. Try any of our new long sleeve shirts for a stylish alternative. If this isn’t an option, there are wonderful nontoxic organic sunscreens to choose from.
But this study highlights a MUCH broader problem: your body absorbs more chemicals from your personal and home care products than previously thought. It’s more imperative now than ever to read ingredient labels and to make informed decisions about what goes in and on your body. The FDA currently recognizes two common sunscreen compounds as safe and effective: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both form a physical mineral barrier, rather than a chemical one, against the sun’s rays. Leave it to nature to come up with the best solution!
Luckily there are many natural, plant-derived solutions for everything from face wash to countertop cleaner. Rather than worrying about applying too much of a product too often, I’d prefer to use as much as I need without the potential for toxic buildup. My medicine cabinet has undergone a dramatic shift over the past few years. I opt for plant-based products rather than reaching for an over-the-counter pill or prescription bottle.
I love essential oil-based remedies for both internal and external problems. Essential oils are extracted from a wide range of plant sources and are easily, safely, absorbed by the skin. I regularly use Wild Orange essential oil aromatically to lift my spirits and for its anti-anxiety qualities. Lavender essential oil is one of my absolute favorite sleep aids. Just a few drops in my diffuser and I instantly relax! When training for a triathlon doTERRA’s Deep Blue Rub is an absolute essential - Wintergreen and Peppermint essential oils stimulate circulation, speed recovery and lessen soreness.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It provides a physical barrier against harmful environmental agents, but it is not impenetrable. We can work together to keep toxins out of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the environment in which we coexist. Reduce toxic load for your own health, the health of your family, neighbors and friends. Opt for naturally effective solutions and your body will thank you!
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