Protecting yourself from skin cancer is a top priority, but unfortunately, sunscreen isn’t an easy answer. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) heavily researches sunscreens each year, and this year, over 1300 popular products they reviewed were filled with harmful chemicals or didn’t properly protect against UV rays.
Don’t worry, as your natural health and wellness resource, we’ve got you covered. Here are some ways you can protect yourself against skin cancer without subjecting yourself to harmful ingredients.
Avoid chemicals. When you’re loading up on commercial sunscreen, your body takes in chemicals that worry many health experts—and shockingly, some may even increase the risks of cancer. Oxybenzone, found in many sunblocks, is known to disrupt the human hormonal system and has been linked to cancer in some studies. Lab research has shown that retinyl palmitate, a type of vitamin A found in commercial sunscreens, may increase skin cancer risk when exposed to the sun.
Search the EWG’s list. The EWG puts out a Guide to Sunscreens each year, which makes it easy to select the safest products. There is a wealth of information on their site, guaranteed to send you in the right direction. Visit the site: www.ewg.org/sunscreen.
Dress appropriately during long periods of exposure. While a small amount of exposure—15 to 20 minutes—is beneficial, too much can be dangerous. Avoid sun damage when exposed for long periods by covering your head with a hat and your body with regular or sun-protective clothing. The sun’s rays can still penetrate through non-UV treated clothing, but at a much lower rate.
Use zinc oxide. Lifeguards use this on their noses for a reason! Zinc oxide, in its natural form, is a safe and effective sunblock product. Widely available at pharmacies and health food stores, mix zinc oxide with your favorite organic body lotion for an alternative to commercial sunscreens.
Eat your greens. Green leafy vegetables are great additions to our diets for many reasons, including the fact that they’re chock full of carotenoids. This antioxidant prevents sunburn and stress that can lead to the development of melanomas.
Go red! Lycopene, found in watermelon and tomatoes, is a natural sunburn protector. When tomato paste was mixed with olive oil for absorption, eating this combination reduced sunburn in participants by 41 percent in a German research study.