Sunday, January 29, 2012

3 - Safe Suncreen

As I wrote about Vitamin D deficiencies, thoughts of going sunscreen free were popping into my head.  Should I back off on the sunscreen a little?

I used to wear only enough sunscreen to keep me from burning.  In fact, I would often use oil because Ohio's sun wasn't enough for me on most days.  But, a trip to the dermatologist at 29 changed me.  I was there for a suspicious mole (removed, no cancer), but it was the posters on their walls that scared the daylights out of me...and turned me into a sunscreen wearer.  

Since I wrote about Vitamin D deficiency, I had lost that motivation, and I felt I needed to remind myself of what I had learned.  So, I found some motivation to wear sunscreen again, on the Skin Cancer Foundation website:

  • A person's risk for melanoma--the most serious form of skin cancer--doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns.
  • One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Also, I really liked this poster.  It makes me think of the skinny, leathery, wrinkly old lady from Something About Mary:  

Finally, I read that Doctors think that 80 percent of all the sun damage to your skin is already done by age 20.  Even more reason to keep my kids slathered in sunscreen.

The Sunscreen

So, is any sunscreen OK?  Of course, more things to scare you...A recent federal government study shows retinyl palmitate (basically, Vitamin A), may speed up the growth of skin tumors.  Great, I have a sunscreen that may ACCELERATE tumor growth?!  And, oxybenzone, a common ingredient, is a hormone disruptor.  How safe is that?

I had discovered a Sunscreen Report that rated sunscreens based on their 'safety'.  I would definitely recommend looking up your sunscreen and taking a look at it's review.  Anyway, last year, I looked through the site and found some sunscreens I felt were safe (and affordable....some were pricey).  Then on vacation last year, I used my new safe mineral based sunscreens, and my kids got their first sunburn.  The Burts Bees sunscreen I was using was not the least bit water proof.  It didn't claim to be, I had just overlooked this when sunscreen shopping.  I've since bought more, but I know ONLY to use it for parks and zoo trips.  Don't use it anywhere near water.  For the rest of the trip, I ended up using the worst kinds (spray, dangerous chemicals) for the rest of the trip, just to be sure my kids were protected from burns.

So this year, I think I am going to use the Aveeno Baby stick that I found on sale last year, on their faces.  It had good reviews on safety and efficacy.  Then, I will cover their faces with a towel so they don't breathe in the carcinogens from the spray sunscreens, and use that on the rest of their bodies.  Before I knew how harmful they might be, I used them on my kids, and they NEVER got burned.  Hopefully this week of exposure to the potentially harmful hormone disruptors won't cause any long term effects.  I plan on trying another mineral based, but water resistant, sunscreen (Alba brand) that got good reviews.  But, I'll try it here in Ohio; I'm not going to risk my kids' skin all day in the Florida sun.  I'm definitely worried about the chemicals, but if it doesn't work, I think that is a bigger risk.

No comments:

Post a Comment