Your skin is your largest organ. We absorb a lot through our skin, so it is very important to be mindful of what you put on it. I personally use a lot of coconut oil and homemade body butters, and even essential oils to moisturize my skin. I ditched the Jergen’s years ago! Many sources even suggest using coconut oil in lieu of SPF sunscreen. This summer I want to try using a mix of coconut oil (SPF 7), carrot seed oil (potential SPF 38-40), Vitamin E, and non-nano zinc oxide (SPF 2-20). Last year I used coconut oil and Vitamin E and really did like it!
Not long ago it became mainstream news that various chemicals found in popular sunscreens actually cause cancer. Which I find both interesting and alarming!
- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), including octyl-dimethyl PABA
- Benzophenones, especially benzophenone-3, Oxybenzone
- Cinnamates, namely octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)
- 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC)
- Retinyl Palmitate
If you don’t feel comfortable enough to NOT protect yourself with an SPF sunscreen, be extra mindful about which sunscreen you purchase for you and your little ones. The EWG came out with their 2015 guide to recommended sunscreens, you can reference this list but still look at your labels and be an informed consumer! Be aware of sunscreens that have very high SPF …they are not always the best choice. Just like we teach you during Freevive about food, the front of the label can be misleading!
Aside from choosing the right thing to put ON your skin, knowing the nutrients you can put IN your body to protect from skin cancer is just as, if not MORE, powerful. At the start of the twentieth century, more than 75% of people in the U.S. worked outdoors. Today, only 10% of the population works outside. Not only do we spend less time in the sun, but the in last 30 years, the use of sunscreen has increased tremendously. It is now a $6 billion-a-year industry!
Alterations in the human diet over the past 100 years have made us more vulnerable to all types of cancers, including skin cancer. In fact, the radical increase in Omega-6 fatty acids (vegetable/seed oils), and the decrease in Omega-3 (most American diets consist of a range of 15:1 to up to 50:1 Omega-6 to Omega-3, which is far off from the 1:1 ratio you want) which causes the skin to burn and break down much more quickly and intently, leading to melanoma. It would be wise to increase the amount of Omega-3 you consume, while reducing inflammation-causing Omega-6 to help keep your body protected.
A lacking in antioxidants are also to blame. Antioxidants, especially carotenoids – found in pasture-raised eggs, spiraling, chlorella, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and yellow-orange fruits and veggies (peppers, apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams), are great sources that will protect you from the inside out!
Sun exposure, in appropriate amounts, is some of the best “medicine” Mother Nature has given us. Be safe, and get all of your facts straight to make the most informed decision about what you put IN and put ON your body!
Here’s to a safe and healthy rest of the summer!