What you need to know about Sunscreens

What you need to know about Sunscreens

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Soaking up the sun rays during our summer months can feel so good but it would be foolish to ignore the sun’s harmful effects on the skin, eyes and immune system. We have become increasingly dependent on using sunscreen to combat such harmful effects but one thing that many people do not take into consideration is the number of worrisome, ‘toxic’ ingredients that sunscreens contain. Unfortunately, such chemicals have been shown to accumulate in our bodies and a growing number of studies are relating such exposure to the development of many chronic diseases.

How can we best protect ourselves from the sun?

The use of safer and sunscreens should be your last resort. Instead, one should focus on the following:

–  Cover up with a shirt, hat, shorts and pants.
–  Time your sun exposure when the sun rays are less direct, such as early morning or late afternoon.
–  Seek shade.
–  Avoid burning your skin.
–  Protect your eyes from UV radiation by wearing sunglasses.
–  Plan your outdoor activities according to prevent sun overexposure.

Safe sunscreen options

When evaluating the best sunscreen to use, you want to consider the following criteria:

–  Effective UV protection
–  Ingredients that pose a health hazard
–  Other concerns including sunscreens containing oxybenzone or vitamin A, sprays that pose inhalation risks, SPF values greater than 50

The Environmental Working Group uses the above criteria to evaluate hundreds of sunscreens on the market and every year comes out with an informative guide to help consumers choose safer sunscreens.

For interesting articles and links, check out the following:

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

WHO Sun Protection

Why you should skip spray sunscreens

~ Dr. Patti Yik

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