Why Use Sunscreen…Or Why Not To

why use sunscreen

Should she be applying sunscreen?

Why use sunscreen…or why not to? Have I piqued your curiosity? You probably already know why people say you should use sunscreen, but have you ever thought about why you shouldn’t? Of course, I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear any sunscreen ever, but there are times when your body needs to stay sunscreen-free.

Recently on Facebook, I became involved in an interesting conversation in one of the groups I’m in. Somehow we got to talking about sunscreen and this person asked me if I used it daily, as “they” say you should. I guiltily replied….”No.” (And you know what’s funny, she said she didn’t either!)

It’s true. Every day when I get up, I just spritz my face, apply moisturizer, makeup, and then I’m out the door. I do not and have not ever used a daily sunscreen (or sun block) on my face. I am probably breaking one of the golden skin care rules, but sometimes you just gotta break the rules. Let’s cover a few of the reasons why they say you should wear sunscreen and then we’ll head over to the rebel side of thought on why you shouldn’t.

Why Use Sunscreen

 

You must protect your face before you head out into the harsh elements! This is what we’ve been taught for eons. Here’s some of the reasons, in theory, why you ought to use sunscreen:

 

1. Sun damage is the number one cause of skin cancer

2. Sun damage is the number one cause of premature aging of the skin

3. Just twenty minutes of sun exposure can damage fair skin.

4. Sun damage is impossible to un-do. Once you’ve damaged your skin through over-exposure to UV rays, it’s damaged for life, and the effects are cumulative.

 

These come from the article “The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen” if you want to check it out.

 

These may sound like valid points but I tend to disagree. Here’s my take on each of these factors.

 

1. While the claim that sun damage is the number one cause of skin cancer may sound true, the real cause of most skin cancer is the toxic soup of chemicals in commercial sunscreens. Have you ever looked up the ingredients on Skin Deep’s Cosmetics Safety Database? Most sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone, rate as high hazard on the database, which rates both ingredients and products on a scale from 0-10, 10 being most toxic. These ingredients are linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and allergies. The sun is being pinpointed as the bad guy when it’s actually the sunscreen causing the problems.

 

2. Is sun damage the number one cause of premature aging? I think it does play a role, especially if the sun is abused, but poor diet, heredity, and the use of toxic facial products also contribute to this. Yes, slathering that “antiaging moisturizer” you got from Walmart or even the high priced stuff from Macy’s cause you to age. It’s the weird chemicals at it again.

 

3. Just twenty minutes of sun exposure can damage fair skin. So all you fair-skinned ladies better stay indoors and at that, you may want to lock yourself in a tower as well. Ok, being a fair skinned gal myself, I can understand this one, but our bodies NEED the sun and I will explain why in a little bit.

 

4. Sun damage is un-doable. You know the buzzer sound on the “Family Feud?” Insert that sound here. Again, the sun is painted as a bad guy. Of course if you stay in the sun without sunscreen for 8 hours at a time, you will have damage. But it’s not a lost cause. There are lots you can do if you have sun damage, such as exfoliation and use of antioxidant rich topical creams like Pure Radiance Silk Antioxidant Moisturizing Cream.

 

why use sunscreen

Is the sun a friend or foe?

Now let’s move on you to why you SHOULDN’T wear sunscreen.

 

When you apply sunscreen, you are blocking the vitamin D the sun gives you. Our body needs Vitamin D to function and can’t make Vitamin D on its own. So we’re stuck with getting it from the sun (the best way) or by using supplements. While the glowing ball in the sky is always portrayed as the villain, the sun actually has been proven to fight cancer. Dr. Al Sears, West Palm Beach anti aging doctor says,

 

“Your body needs exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D. An Anticancer Research study found that just by getting a little sunlight every day – about 20 minutes for fair-skinned people and two to four times that much for those with dark skin – could reduce the risk of 16 types of cancer.”

Read more from Dr. Sears here in his article: Why 75% of Americans Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola expands on this further:

 

“The 15 to 30 minutes per day generally applies to fair-skinned, thin, younger individuals, with the more of the body exposed, the better. Darker-skinned individuals may require several hours per day. For those unable to derive sufficient vitamin D from solar UVB, artificial UVB lamps are a viable option, as are vitamin D supplements.”

 

Even former critics of the sun are now beginning to admit how valuable it is for us and our health.

 

But what about those of us who, even after reading this, still want to play on the safe side and apply our non-chemical sunscreen?

I don’t want you all to think I am completely anti-sunscreen. There are exceptions to every rule. Even though I don’t use a daily sunscreen, when I go to the beach and am in the sun for long periods, I make sure to use a safe, chemical-free sunscreen. But I usually don’t apply it for at least the first 15-20 minutes so my body can get the Vitamin D benefits. After that, I apply sunscreen and sit under an umbrella for part of the time.

What does Dr. Mercola think about the use of sunscreen?

 

“The use of sunscreens is good at the beginning of the sunny season if one spends much time out of doors and also for those with fair skin in very sunny climates. The tan that develops with sun exposure is nature’s way of protecting against too much UV radiation. However, constant application of sunscreens reduces the photoproduction of vitamin D”

 

Do you agree with Dr. Mercola? I do… if you’re going to be outdoors often, you should protect your skin after 15-20 minutes of naked sun exposure. (When I say “naked” I mean without sunscreen!)

 

My Top Sunscreen Picks

 

If you’re one of those die-hard sunscreen fans, just make sure it’s a safe sunscreen. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

 

The Bottom Line

 

So to sum up….why use sunscreen? To make sure you don’t get burned to a crisp when you’re out in sun for long periods…Why not to use sunscreen? So your body can reap the Vitamin D benefits the sun has to offer.

 

So what are your thoughts on sunscreen? Do you use it daily under makeup or do you skip it like me? Do you think the sun is damaging or do you believe it’s really our friend?

 

Leave your comments below (I love to converse with you!) and please Like, Tweet, Google +, and Stumble this post if you feel like it. :-)

 

Stay natural…stay beautiful…go green!

P.S. Some of the links are affiliate links, so if you purchase any of the products through them, I will make a few bucks which will contribute toward my Toxic Beauty fund. :-)

 

Robin started her career as an educator of children and has now become an educator for adults everywhere who want to know the truth about what they put into their bodies through the skin. She is passionate about educating people to make better health and beauty choices.
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  • http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com Daisy Raybould

    Hi Robin

    I agree with most of your post. Our bodies needs vitamin D ad sunscreen can reduce the amount we get. Vitamin D is essential for our mental wellbeing as deficiencies can lead to depression.

    I’ve read research from Tim Ferris’s book The Four Hour Body that just 15 minutes in the sun is sufficient for getting our daily dose of vitamin D and perfecting our tan. Any time spent after that is not necessary so your idea of not slapping on the sunscreen for the first 15 minutes sounds about right.

    It’s interesting that you use Dr. Mercola in this post as he has his own natural sunscreen which is enriched with green tea. I included his sunscreen as #1 in my list of the top 5 natural sunscreens.

    If you are interested in seeing my top 5, please take a look at:

    http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/best-natural-sunscreens/

    As you’ve mentioned, if you are going to use sun screen then at least make sure it’s natural and free of the harmful chemicals found in many brands.

    Thanks for a great post. I’m just about to Tweet about it now.

    Daisy
    Daisy Raybould´s last blog post ..The Top 8 Uses Of Tea Tree Oil

  • http://www.yesiamgreen.com Michelle

    Robin, what a great post! I too must confess to not wearing sunscreen on a daily basis however, I do feel like the mineral makeup I use offer some protection. And I sometimes use Devita’s Solar Protective Moisturizer underneath. Winter makes me depressed and I strongly feel this is related to the lack of natural Vitamin D absorption. This is my main reason for avoiding the daily use. During the summer, I use hats and long sleeve clothing if I plan on being out in the sun for long periods. I have lived the first 20 years of my life in South America and never used Sunscreen back then and my skin is good shape. Can you tell I love the sun?
    Michelle´s last blog post ..Navitas Naturals Product Review

  • daisy

    using sunscreen is a must-
    the best kind even for adults are sunscreen for babies…

  • http://www.bareskin-beauty.co.uk Juliette

    Robin, don’t forget that our retinas need sunlight as well as the skin to produce Vitamin D, wearing sunglasses interferes with this biochemical process.

    Can we please stop demonising the sun. Follow the money, and look at the companies that profit from doing so! Its a billion dollar business owned and perpetrated by the chemical happy cosmetics industry. Making us scared of the sun, keeps us indoors, preventing us from meaningfully connecting with others and makes us far more susceptible to state manipulation.

    I spent 6 weeks in Australia with no sunscreen (natural or otherwise) and due to a balanced, healthy diet rich in phytonutrients and essential fatty acids, combined with a healthy respect for my body – I did not burn, or suffer with dry skin.

    Perhaps we should collaborate on an article about how to care for your skin after sun exposure – you can tan naturally and safely and its good for you.

    Bare Skin Beauty will be launching their sun serum this spring – it has been extensively tested in Australia in up to 46 degrees of heat by sports professionals that sweat excessively. One of the serums will have a natural tanning accelerator – for those than want to safely acquire a beautiful tan – lets face it, we all feel more confident and slimmer with a tan. http://www.bareskin-beauty.co.uk

  • http://www.ecobeautysecrets.com Vivi

    To me sunscreen is a must. I live in Singapore where the UV index is very high. To get my daily dose of Vit D from the sun, all I need to do is open the windows while I’m having breakfast. But once I’m out of the house, I’m covered with sunscreen and would most likely be carrying an umbrella.

    If incidental exposure is enough to cause deep and long term UV damage, then it might also be enough to provide enough Vit D as long as it’s moderated.
    Vivi´s last blog post ..What Do Your Poop and Pee Tell About Your Body?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Juliette,

    Once again you provide very useful comments! I did forget that our eyes need Vitamin D too. I love the idea of us collaborating on a post. Let’s talk more about this and thank you so much for your activity on my blog.

    Robin

  • http://gardenofbeauty.net Jean @ Garden of Beauty

    Yes, I still wear sunscreen every day – but my reasons are more so cosmetic rather than for preventing cancer or anything. Most articles talk about why one should wear it (including my own!) so it was refreshing to read one from a different angle. :)
    Jean @ Garden of Beauty´s last blog post ..Are Parabens Safe After All? Seems Like the FDA Thinks So

  • http://madcrazylife.com Melissa

    I am also not one that uses a sunscreen on a daily basis. I have always asked why to do so when I spend most of my day indoors. It seems like a waste to put all those toxic chemicals on me when the likelihood of any sun exposure is during my short drive anywhere. Even when I run outdoors I only wear any sun protection if I’m going to be out more than 45 minutes. I live in a high UV area (southern Nevada) so I avoid being in the direct hot sun most of the time anyway! I have always argued that I believe the chemicals in the sunscreen do more harm than the sun itself! Being an oncology nurse, I’ve seen a few that get skin cancer and based on their background you almost have to wonder if it’s more from chemicals ingested/put on the skin more than any sunburn they got as kids. Great article!

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Thanks for commenting, Melissa! Coming from an oncology nurse, I truly value your feedback and wish more people would understand the horrendous effects of using toxic chemical sunscreen on themselves and their children. Sunscreen just gives them a false sense of security when in fact, it’s actually damaging their skin and health.

    -Robin

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for your comments. I will be sure to take a peek at your article to check out your perspective!

    -Robin

  • http://blog.charlestonnaturally.com Amber_Charleston Naturally

    This is a very important issue. We actually had Sunscreen Awareness Week not long ago to try and educate people about chemical sunscreens. I think it’s best to go organic and broad-spectrum.
    Amber_Charleston Naturally´s last blog post ..How Warmer Weather Might Affect Us

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Amber,

    I completely agree! While I stated in the post that commercial sunscreens are dangerous, I completely believe it’s important to protect the skin with safe, organic sunscreen if you’re going to be in the sun for long periods. I’ve gone sunscreen-less myself a few times and don’t want to experience the painful sunburns that I’ve gone through, not to mention damage my skin on a long-term basis. Thanks for commenting!

    -Robin

  • Shanna

    >>we all feel more confident and slimmer with a tan

    I don’t. I like my (very fair) skin tone the way it is.

  • Shanna

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMicm1104059

    That picture is of a man who was a truck driver for 30 years and has far more obvious damage on the left side of his face due to it being near the window/exposed to the sunlight. Seems to illustrate pretty clearly that the sun does contribute a lot to skin damage, unless I’m missing something.

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Hi Shanna,

    I saw this picture on Facebook! I think the sun does cause skin damage, if it’s abused. However, I also think a poor diet and nutrition and lack of sleep contributes to the aging and damage of the skin and body. Being a truck driver, he probably did not get enough sleep and ate poorly and obviously didn’t use safe sunscreen when driving. I still stand by the belief that a daily sunscreen doesn’t need to be used especially if you’re not in the sun for long periods.

    -Robin

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Shanna- I guess this one could’ve been written: “Some people feel more confident with a tan and many people think tan skin appears slimmer!”

  • Eugenia

    What about milk? Milk has both vitamin D and calcium. Couldn’t by drinking milk not make you vitamin D deficient?

  • http://www.toxicbeautyblog.com Natural Organics

    Eugenia,

    Pasteurization and the hormones/antibiotics in the milk basically cancels out all the benefits of it. Also, you’d have to drink a hell of a lot of milk to get the amounts you need! And what beats getting out in the sun for 15-20 minutes a day…it not only benefits the body physically, but mentally as well…

    -Robin