Mr. Sun, friend or foe?
The narrative around the sun has become filled with fear and misconception – of cancers, aging, blindness, etc. When in reality… the sun is doing nothing but giving this planet life. Just look at the way our plants grow towards their light source, for example! The truth is that everything in nature is dependent on natural sunlight, especially complex human beings… because Vitamin D!
Vitamin D is essential to our health, and a vitamin many of us are lacking in. It aids in bone, immune system, and muscle health, controls inflammation, helps maintain hormonal balance, modulates cells, and influences our genetics1 to name but a few of its important bodily functions. New research has been done on the adverse health effects of Vitamin D deficiency, and studies have shown inadequate Vitamin D can cause osteoporosis in adults, weakened immunity, greater susceptibility to certain types of cancers3. As you’ve likely read about or experienced during your last physical, doctors have noticed a sharp increase inBranch Basics How Sunscreen Blocks Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency and now routinely test patients for Vitamin D levels, and studies are showing that the deficiency is related to our increase in sunscreen use4.
There’s a reason cold and flu has a “season”, you know, when we’re all stuck inside. Side note: I highly recommend this book on sun healing if you’re interested in learning more.
According to the Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics, wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30 reduces vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%.
With that said, sunscreen is not a choice we make every time we head outside. Sometimes, we just choose to go out mid-morning or late afternoon instead of harsh noon when we’re going to be outside awhile. Others, clothing coverage and accessories like a big floppy hat help to protect us!
However, truth of a boy mama be told, we spend a lot of excessive time outside in the UV rays and I absolutely still protect their skin with safe, natural sunscreen when necessary!
Instead of immediately opting to lather our family in sunscreen in the recommended 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, we actually wait at least that long of being in full sun before putting it on our kids, and double that for us! Of course, we are careful. I’ve been using the app dminder to safely track sun exposure and to set timers as we build tolerance and gradually increase our time.
When it comes to a trusted mineral sunscreen, our go-to has been Beautycounter for the last couple of years.
I love that we don’t have to worry about absorption in the blood (or breastmilk again in the months to come), no hormone disruptors, it isn’t an excessive SPF, and it sits among the few reef-safe sunscreens! Many traditional brands containing oxybenzone have been contributors to coral bleaching and the death of the the coral reef in heavily touristed areas. While that might not seem like a huge issue in the middle of the prairie, supporting brands that do harm the environment is a concern regardless. And if they’re capable of doing that to our planet, what’s happening inside our bodies?!
Just because a sunscreen is good for the environment doesn’t necessarily make it good for you, which is exactly why Beautycounter offers this non-nano zinc oxide formula that’s both. (What exactly is a non-nano sunscreen? Most sunscreens contain nanoparticles, which have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach cells — a non-nano formula does not. Although the current consensus is that nanoparticles are safe, some mineral sunscreen users prefer to go without, just in case.)Refinery 29 12 Sunscreen Brands That Won’t Kill The Coral Reefs
On top of oxybenzone, other ingredients to look out for are avobenzone and octinoxate. I want to make a full disclaimer that we have been using Beautycounter for a few summers, and only recently did I become a consultant because of a consistent love for the products. While it is our top choice, I’ll happily recommend a few other options!
Finally, I’ll leave you with a few EWG articles about sunscreen that are worth checking out on misconceptions about sunscreens and their ingredients: