Why Sunscreen Lotions Are Bad For Your Skin


My 3 Sunscreen-Free Kids in Puerto Vallarta

Hopefully, many of you have already heard about why putting sunscreen on your skin – or children’s skin – is actually damaging it.

Sunscreen may reduce the outward appearance of damage (i.e. it takes longer for your kids skin to look and feel sunburned), but what you’re not taking into account is:

  • what’s happening underneath the top, visible layer of skin.
  • the damage that’s being done, not only to the layers of skin, but also systemically, by the harmful chemicals in sunscreen.

The latest data on the damage done by sunscreens is provided by a massive study done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) where they tested nearly 1,000 sunscreen lotions.

There is also significant data from numerous countries showing that skin cancer rates have increased significantly as sunscreen use has become more widespread. Again, this is likely due to:

  • the damage to the skin by UVA rays (which are not blocked by sunscreen).
  • damage by the toxic and often carcinogenic chemicals used in the sunscreen lotion itself.
  • the fact that sunscreens prevent the body from making vitamin D from sunshine – a crucial vitamin in cancer-defense.

So What Can We Do?

For myself and my kids, I have never used sunscreen on any of us. And we spend up to 2 months at a time in places like Hawaii and Mexico.

The first thing you need to do is stop thinking like a white person. Next time you’re in a hot country, look around you. Do you see any local people lying out in direct sunlight? Ethnic people sit and lie in the shade. They wear hats and long loose clothing if they’re going to be out in direct sunlight. Learn to think and act like a native.

When we go to the beach, we always spread our blanket under a palm tree or an umbrella. When the kids are actually swimming in the ocean is when they get the direct exposure, but that’s okay, because it’s not continual and it’s in balance.

Now, my kids are 1/4 Indian, so obviously they have a genetic advantage there that keeps them from burning as quickly as a white-skinned redhead, for example. But, you simply have to listen to your body. When your skin starts turning pink, that’s your body wisdom telling you that you’ve had enough sun for the day. LISTEN to it!

Lastly, eat as much fish oil, organic butter and omega-3 oils as you can. These natural fats are not only crucial for whole-body health, they greatly increase your body’s ability to prevent skin cancer. Getting enough antioxidants also helps your skin tolerate the sun better – vitamin E, C, grapeseed extract, pycnogenol, etc.

A scientific review done by researchers at Boston University Medical Center examined the basic mechanisms of how vitamin E works on the skin. They concluded that vitamin E used topically and consumed orally can help protect the skin from tumors and act as a barrier against sun damage. (Thiele JJ, Ekanayake-Mudiyanselage S. Mol Aspects Med. 2007 Oct-Dec;28(5-6):646-67.)

The second study, done at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, found that a high concentration of the non-esterified vitamin E inhibits UV damage, sunburn, tanning and the development of skin cancer. There is also evidence that topically applied vitamin E can help repair previous damage to the skin’s surface. (Burke KE. Dermatol Ther. 2007 Sep-Oct;20(5):314-21.)

For actual stats and studies backing up all of the information above, here are some sources:

http://www.ewg.org/node/26212

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/mostsunscreensfailtoprotect

http://search.mercola.com/Results.aspx?q=sunscreen&k=sunscreen

Personally, although I’ve never seen any research on this, my intuition tells me that exposing babies to as much sunshine as you can (in safe amounts) from newborn on up, will help their skin cells to “learn” how to deal with sun exposure and possibly even increase the amount of melanin in their skin. As I said, I haven’t seen any scientific data on this, it’s just my own body wisdom, and I’ve followed it with all 3 of my children.

However, we also eat the foods (and supplements) outlined above, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with their ability to handle sun exposure with no burning, tenderness, etc.

Stay well,
Jini

25 Comments

25 thoughts on “Why Sunscreen Lotions Are Bad For Your Skin

  1. With skin cancer rates going up, rash guards are a great way to protect your skin without harmful chemical sunscreens. You’ll use less sunscreens and their harmful chemicals, (dangerous to us as well as our environment), AND less of the plastic bottles they come in!



  2. Regarding Surfer Girl’s comment: Yes using clothing to protect against sun damage and burning is a good idea. However, the Rash Guard shirts you recommend are NOT a good idea, because they are made of synthetic material – I can ‘t see from the website, but they are most likely a plastic derivative (polyester, nylon, spandex, etc.).

    The problem with synthetics like this is that they leach xenoestrogens (synthetic estrogen that the body takes up as real estrogen) and other toxic chemicals into your skin.

    Remember, your skin is like a large sponge and anything you put on it is absorbed very quickly.

    So, yes, use clothing as a barrier, but use only 100% natural fabrics with a tight weave.

    Jini



  3. why is the sunscreen is bad for your skin could it prevent skin cancer what is sunscreen is made of



  4. Sunscreen is bad for your skin because it contains carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals! It is also likely to contain other toxic chemicals as well. Next, sunscreen does not protect against the sun’s UVA rays – so you stay out in the sun longer because you are wearing sunscreen, meanwhile the deeper layers of your skin (not visible to your eyes) are being damaged. Lastly, sunscreen prevents your body from making Vitamin D – which protects your body against cancer.

    Jini



  5. Everything gives you cancer… I think they research too much and make too many conclusions before they know enough facts.

    Like… I work in construction, so I am in the sun 8 hours a day. I genetically sweat profusely – there is no stopping it – so if I wore long clothes at work I would probably be drenched all day which leads to chafing, skin irritation etc. So I prefer to wear short sleeved shirts, so I can either burn – and get cancer, or wear sunscreen – and get cancer, or change my job to indoors and probably die form cancer like my two grandfathers did! Woopie for CANCER!



  6. I have very fair skin and I burn easily especially on my nose and cheeks. I spend a lot of time outdoors because of the kind of work I do. What do you recommend I use to protect my face from burning? According to my dermatologist I already have a substancial amount of sun damage to my face and lower arms. Despite my use of sunscreens in the past.



  7. Hi Catfish and April,

    We’ve been trained to think that sun protection comes from what’s applied to the outside of the skin.

    However, the real sun protection comes internally – from the function and ability of your skin cells to self-heal and regulate the effects of sun exposure.

    From people living in Australia (out working out in the sun a lot), they say that if you:

    - eat lots of unrefined coconut oil
    - eat cruciferous veggies, especially broccoli sprouts
    - take spirulina
    - then apply unrefined coconut oil topically to your skin

    That provides the best protection.

    Catfish, I would also recommend EFT (www.emofree.com) to address the beliefs you have around cancer – our thoughts/beliefs produce biochemical reactions in our bodies, that result in physical changes. So this is a very real part of cancer-protection for you and really should be addressed.

    p.s. there is LOTS more info on this topic, what to do, and helpful comments from readers on Dr. Mercola’s site: http://www.mercola.com

    all the best,
    Jini



  8. So, I just waned to say that my mother never wanted us to use sunscreen, she just gave us hats and light cotton shirts when we had had enough sun. Another really good thing for you to eat are berries. And get a lot of antioxidants! Reaaally good for you.

    Remember, don’t be a sheep, don’t follow what everyone does, think for yourself. Doctors and the media are feeding us a lot of information about ‘healthy’ stuff, that really aren’t good for you.



  9. Hi, I am interested in how you came to your conclusions. Are you a doctor of some sort? I am just a girl who is looking for answers. I have fair skin and my boyfriend is a red head with even fairer skin. What is the best way to prevent skin damage that can be caused by the sun? We don’t use sun screen but my boyfriend burns almost every time we are outside together and it doesn’t take long for it to happen. Do you have any solutions?



  10. I am a health journalist and published book author specializing in digestive diseases: http://www.ListenToYourGut.com . This post is based on research from various sources.

    All my solutions are presented in the article and also the COMMENTS given above. Take care. J.



  11. hey,this is Pennie Ledec,just observed your web-site on google and i must say this blog is great.may I quote some of the article found in the weblog to my local people?i’m not sure and what you think?anyhow,Thank you!



  12. Very helpful, thank you Jini and everyone else for your inquires. Your questions and Jini’s responses have given me a more positive outloook on sun exposure.

    Jini – What would you recommend for someone with Vitiligo?



  13. Sorry Bill – haven’t heard/seen anything on natural treatment for Vitiligo – if I come across anything, I’ll post here again. best, J.



  14. Hello, as an Esthetician here i know that this article is PURE NONSENSE.

    There are 3 types of UV rays; A, B, and C.

    UV A can go through the skin and damaging it, so if you wear no sunscreen you can risk skin care and even death. More and more people die of skin cancer every year, hense the lack of protection.

    This has no facts to support their claim, just another website for the gullible.



  15. I forgot to mention different skin colors react to the skin differently!

    Take a look at the Fitzpatrick Scale.

    Fairer skin are at risk of burning a lot more than dark skinned people. So, therefore, fairer skin needs to protect from their skin more and it is them who are at the highest risk of skin cancers and death. Dark skinned people can lie in the sun all they want, but it does not affect them that much.



  16. I can see that you might be an expert at your field! I’m launching a website soon, and your information will be incredibly useful for me.!!! Thank you for all your help and wishing you all the good results within your business.



  17. Then thats a problem then. My skin is Dark olive and I have hyperpigmentation issues that get worse when Im exposed to sun -which is all day long becasue I live in the tropics-. And theres no avoiding it unless I stay all day indoors… in my house. I really just try to stick with physical sun blocks, even if they make me white :)



  18. I became honored to obtain a call coming from a friend immediately he found the important tips shared in your site. Studying your blog post is a real excellent experience. Thanks again for taking into account readers at all like me, and I wish you the best of success being a professional in this domain.



  19. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a
    few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but
    I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.



  20. Thanks Candra! We’re on it, looks like we’re going to have to re-do the missing photos, which will take time. Also have to re-do all the links within the blog posts. best, Jini



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