Why Use Sunscreen…Or Why Not To
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.
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:
- Keys Solar Rx (Click on the link to read my review.)
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.
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