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Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

What You Should Know

The Environmental Working Group has released its Sunscreen Guide, listing the safest and most toxic sunscreens on the market. About 75 percent of sunscreens contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

The top 2 to avoid are:

  • Oxybenzone is one of the most troublesome ingredients found in the majority of sunscreens. According to EWG’s findings, 56 percent of sunscreens contain this harmful chemical. Its primary function is to absorb ultraviolet light. However, oxybenzone is also believed to cause hormone disruptions and the type of cell damage that can provoke cancer. and
  • Retinyl palmitate, a type of vitamin A, is another high-risk ingredient found in many sunscreens. According to a recent CNN report:

    “Government-funded studies have found that this particular type of vitamin A may increase risk of skin cancer when used on sun-exposed skin. However, these reports have been in mice and evidence has been inconclusive for humans.”

Two important factors to consider when buying sunscreen is to avoid products with SPF’s higher than 50, and to make sure it offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Keep in mind SPF only protects against UVB’s.

Less Cancer with More Sun Exposure?

Several studies have confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer. In fact, melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun exposure, and can be increased by sunscreens.

The key to safe sun exposure is to determine the time of year when UVB rays will reach the ground in your specific area. When UVB rays are absent, your body will not produce vitamin D in response to sun exposure.

Sunscreen Alternatives

Using an “internal sunscreen” is an option to slathering on sunscreen. Astaxanthin—a potent antioxidant—has been found to offer effective protection against sun damage when taken as a daily supplement. Some sunscreens are also starting to use astaxanthin as an ingredient to protect your skin from damage.

As well as brightly colored fruits and vegetables have anti-oxidants that may help protect you.

​Call us for specific recommendations: 336-243-8000

Yours in Health,
Dr. Philip A. Mahan, D.C., C.C.E.P.

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