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(Updated June 2021)
SUN CREAM/ SUNSCREEN Or SUNBLOCK
This is always a subject I get totally confused on.
I know the necessity of using a good sun cream or sunblock, but the stories in the media about what is safe or not, is totally confusing.
Its not the easiest thing to dig out the truth, each article seem to have differing option’s .
I wanted to give you some information that I could find, maybe it will give a little clarity? Even this week there was more alarming news in the Media about certain ingredients that they are now warning the public about. There has been a lab called Valisure who have warned the FDA about the risks of a chemical named Benzene, a known problem for causing cancer. They have found this chemical in quite a number of Sun Protection and after sun products. There is a more information on this Live Science Link. The worry is the amounts of this chemical found.
The crazy thing is we use these creams to avoid skin cancer, not to add to our risk!
What is the problem with sun rays? What is the difference between UVA & UVB ? MD ANDERSON CENTRE has a great diagram showing just how deeply each ray can reach into our skin. The explication on just how damaging the rays can be, maybe leading to skin cancer.
What is worrying , is that you can get UV damage even if it is cloudy, even if your skin doesn’t even feel warm. How many of us feel safe to go out without a sunscreen if the clouds are out? Also these can pass through our windows too! They can also be reflected from surfaces or things like the snow or water we have all seen photos of people skiing & swimming with the shape of the goggles or sunglasses left!
American Cancer Society have more information on just how we can protect ourselves . Being careful just when we are outside , avoiding times between 10- 4 in the day, even being careful in the shade.
Just today I was reading yet another article on the THE DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER, which is now saying that some of the chemicals in some sun creams, have been tested by the FDA and out of six of the main active ingredients, both in the sprays and the lotions.
They had all gone into the blood stream, what I found even more alarming was the length of the time they were still in the blood stream, two were still higher than the recommended time even after 21 days. That is extremely worrying, I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t really expected it to still be there even after a day or two!
Some of these chemicals in question as mentioned are
Octinoxate, Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octocrylene and Octisalate.
How many people would actually read and understand some of these chemicals on the back of these products? Again I would recommend the EWG site for searching for a safer sunscreen or any other product or chemical you don’t understand.
One of the chemicals (Oxybenzone ) was 360 times more than was recommended! Speechless ! that doesn’t happen very often either!
I was reading a really interesting website called Who What Wear.co.uk who have been researching the difference between Organic sun scream and the regular ones found on the shelves. They have a list of 18 Best Organic Sunscreens as advised by a dermatologist. I agree with them that you can not just rely on the Organic label, you need to look deeper, sometimes I think you need a degree to understand just what is in these products. What is good for you and your skin, how good the protection is, and does it protect both from UVA AND UVB . They were suggesting to have at least 10% Zinc Oxide in your product.
FOOD REVOLUTION have a list of 10 best foods that help your protect your skin from the sun. I love the idea that you can help your skin from the inside too. They even give recipes for using the foods suggested which is a fantastic idea.
SHOULD YOU USE A SUNSCREEN IF YOU ARE NOT GOING OUT?
Even sitting around the house they are suggesting that sun protection should be used. The car is another area most of us think we are safe as the windows give us a false sense of protection. To protect us from the UVA & UVB rays. Also the side windows of the car don’t have the same level of protection as the windscreen. If the weather is nice how many of us have the window open too, exposing our one side to the sun.
At home my desk is facing a window, maybe your office has a bank of windows too? It is just much safer to use a sun protection that you can trust. Not forgetting to reapply through the day.
I see that more and more articles are suggesting that you should wear protection even if you are in the house too. SKIN CANCER ORG have a list of 5 Sneaky ways that you can still be exposed to the suns UV rays. I think applying sun cream needs to become a habit, the same as cleaning your teeth.
FINDING A SUN LOTION MADE FROM HEMP
When our daughter was a baby, we started to look for an organic alternative and found a Hemp 50 SPF sun-cream, which then promptly disappeared from the market. The make was YAOH. There was a really helpful guy in the Organic shop who suggested this to us. I loved that shop, it was one of those places with lots of interesting corners and cozy areas to find new products, many of the items had beautiful packaging, with colourful labels. And the shop was filled with unusual scents of healthy smelling food stuffs. I could look around in there for hours.
Wow, just found a link to YAOH which have a ton of Organic Hemp seed products including sun protection in 15 and 30 SPF. A link to what is actually found in this product. They suggest that the 25 SPF is better for children and is a purer product, information on this link.
Also in the USA Uncle Bud’s do a 50 SPF great news. If you are able to order in the States.
We are still on the hunt for safer sun protection products , as we now live in France ,and there is definitely more sunshine here, and for a greater part of the year.
SO WHAT IS IN SUN CREAM ? ALSO WHAT TYPES OF PRODUCTS ARE THERE AVAILABLE?
This video by GLOBAL HEALING CENTRE and Dr Edward Group.
We all know that it is very important to cover up,and keep out of the sun when it is at its hottest.
We haven’t tried all these products, still hunting through them ourselves.
I am always moaning at our daughter to wear sunglasses, or a cap to shade her eyes.
When she was a baby ,she was easy to get into a lovely big sun hat, and cute sunglasses.
Also the fear of skin cancer is always in the back of my mind.
A link to that subject can be found here by SKINCANCER.ORG which give advice.
There seems to be a difference in the makeup of the different products, one is a mineral base and the other a chemical blend. PHARMACA.COM give some advice about these two types.
Again while looking into this subject it seem a tale of two different continents.
American standards, in some of these products seem to be lacking, according to the report in EWG ( The Non- Profit Environmental Group) as spoken below in the link.
Europe seems to have more choice in products available. In Europe there seems to be more control in what is in these products too.
The website EWG is an amazing resource for information. This link explains what is in sun cream.
There is a list of approved Sun creams by the EWG site too. I hope this helps .I cant praise this site enough, totally amazing.
This link to the MAYO CLINIC gives the reasons behind how a sun cream functions.
Listing some of the ingredients to avoid in pregnancy. It is always a worrying time when you are pregnant, we researched everything that we used. I am sure most mums to be are the same. The amount of chemicals that we absorb into our skin , it makes sense to know exactly what you are using.
Also there are the decisions on a choice between sprays,creams,sticks and others and how long they should last. Which are the best depending on an adult or a child. Whether it is good for swimming, how often should they be reapplied. How much to use. I don’t think we use enough to be honest. I saw a Dr on TV in the UK and he used about a golf ball amount, I was quite surprised at the time.
When we are swimming, I think it is much safer to cover up using a sun protection T shirt. Not only protection from the sun but I also seem to be a magnet for wasps and flying insects when I am near water. It gives them less places to bite! Of course you can get sun protection T shirts too.
I don’t think there is a perfect sun cream . I wish it was that easy just to pick one .
I believe you have to look at the level of protection in both UVA and UVB . Then see what ingredients that you are happy with and make a choice.
Firstly I have been trying to find some of the organic alternatives with links.
I have just come across another article, on Sun creams from CNET.COM offering advice on using them and brands that they have looked at.
I wanted to give another view, on what they think are some of the better ones.
SUN CREAM BRANDS
EQ these products are made in France.
I have linked them to an affiliated Amazon site, and also for more information to their website.
They have a variety of products including some ear protection for swimming on their site.
This one is an Organic product – EQ Evoa Organic Sunscreen Cream SPF15 protects face and body from normal sunshine. Ideal Eco-friendly sun protection for skin with a base tan or which is not prone to sunburn.
99.2 percent natural origin, mineral sunscreens, non-Eco toxic on the marine environment
Available in 50 ml tube. They do other formulas too
Mineral based. ingredients on link.
This is a Mineral sun cream again.
OMUCI NOTHING TO HIDE ECO FRIENDLY SUNSCREEN SPF 30
This information from the link says it is made with a few different products , looks really interesting and has some good reviews. They also do moisturisers.
ALOE PURA ORGANIC ALOE VERA SUN LOTION
This has some good reviews .
I think the sun protection in this comes from Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane.
If you put this chemical into the EWG it comes up with some warnings (I think this is a synthetic product) mixed in some areas.
I just wanted to include some different alternatives that people have given a positive review on Amazon.
The list of ingredients here is from the Amazon link.
SHADE – 100 ml ALL NATURAL SUN-CREAM
Only four ingredients (info from link )
- Only 4 natural, skin-nourishing ingredients, nothing more, nothing less. We use Organic Virgin Coconut oil, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Unrefined Beeswax and non-nano cosmetic grade zinc oxide only! Ingredients on list.
I have never come across this brand before it is sold in a tin container which is a bit different. It does have some mixed reviews and not suitable for in the water.
Also with other products is a company and website called CLEURE who sell safer products including SUN PROTECTION
HOMEMADE SUN CREAM
We haven’t tried to make our own sun-cream. I have added Zinc Oxide to some lotion bars that I have made, I admit you do go a little white at first.
I wanted to give you some ideas if that is the way you want to go.
LOOKING INTO THE SCIENCE OF PRODUCING YOUR OWN SUN CREAMS
Since I first started looking into the Sunblock products. I have come across this really intelligent website ( which I have mentioned above) who also goes into the science of using certain oils, such as Coconut and Carrot Seed oils as a sun prevention.
LUISA FANZANI explains the complications of how to formulate a sun screen.
At the end of the day, I just as I guess you do , want the product that we use to be safe from the sun effects and to be safe for us all to use .
From what I can see on these websites, they use a mixture of Essential oils ( I have heard that some like Coconut oil can be helpful ) also things like Shea Butter. I also saw on one of the sites to be wary of using a citric essential oil as you can be more effected by the sun.
But up to now, we have always bought the cream, as we have needed it.
Most recipes seem to use Zinc Oxide, others seem to recommend not using a Nano Zinc Oxide that could be absorbed into the skin ,but using one that would sit on top, called Non -Nano Zinc Oxide.
ZINC OXIDE ( non- nano) here are a couple of links to look at Zinc Oxide which from what I can see, is used in production of your own sun cream.
I have found this recipe on WELLNESS MAMA
We have not gone into this , but there seems to be a lot of advice, if someone wants to look into doing your own thing. WELLNESS MAMA has many good recipes for other products available.
I am not sure of the effectiveness of these, it isn’t something we have made ourselves.
As mentioned by LUISA FANZANI even if your skin doesn’t go red, it doesn’t mean it has been effective at a deeper level of skin and blood vessels.
NATURAL LIVING FAMILY this is another link with a homemade sun-cream.Using Zinc Oxide.
DIY NATURAL – this gives another recipe for sun-cream, but also explains the amount of Zinc Oxide needed for different sun protection. That I found really helpful, to understand how much is needed for the SPF.
This is a really great site, with a whole ton of ideas, for healthy living and DIY.
What do you use ? what are in these products ? I haven’t used this stuff for so long. I admit to not thinking about it at the time. I was more concerned about streaky legs and orange palms, which is very easy to do when you apply this stuff. Some of this reminds me of the film about two friends getting married ” Bride Wars” a really funny film, where Anne Hathaway goes a lovely orange!
HOW STUFF WORKS gives a detailed account on how these products work and the main ingredients involved.
Most of these products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) Which reacts with your dead skin cells for a temporary color. Also most of these products do not contain any sun factor to protect you. I have to admit I thought that was unusual as you are trying to stop the sun from damaging your skin by using these in the first place.
WHO WHAT WHERE have a list of the 7 Nontoxic Self-Tanners That Deliver Results Than the Actual Sun. This website has great in depth articles. Fantastic easy reading.
They say their product is Paraben free, cruelty free and streak free.
They have a list of their products with the ingredients for each listed here. I have seen the word fragrance on the list, so of course this could contain unlisted ingredients. Also some contain sweet almond oil, so be wary if you have a nut allergy. This company seem to deliver to UK and Europe.
BEAUTY BY EARTH SELF TANNER – this product gets a really good rating from EWG It has some great natural ingredients. The look of this one really makes me want to try it. I actually would be happy to use this one.
RANK AND STYLE have their Top 10 List of Natural and Organic Self Tanners.
No I haven’t tried this, it reminds me of the coffee they used in the war, to make their false stockings. Its worth a try.
SELF TANNING PILLS
These, from what I have read so far, are not safe. They contain canthaxanthin a colour additive. The Mayo Clinic have some warnings on taking them. The harm could be to your liver or eyes.
I have to say this product isn’t something I would think of taking.
HEALTHLINE also say that you could end up more orange in color than the tanned look you were aiming for! They also say that this kind of product could be unsafe to take.
(Tanning pills can lead to serious side effects, including:
- hives and welts
- gastrointestinal issues, such as abdominal cramps and diarrhoea
- liver damage
- retinopathy (eye damage)
- vision changes
- vision loss)
- ( taken from the website linked above.)