You may be surprised to learn that there are a variety of hidden dangers in sunscreen that can hinder our ability to reduce stress and anxiety, overcome cravings for sugar and carbs, balance Gaba and glutamate and other neurotransmitters, reduce microbial overgrowth, and put our health at risk in many other ways.
While it is true that “excessive” amounts of time in the sun can be harmful, having no exposure to the sun can be just as damaging and many of the ingredients present in sunscreen are toxins that come with many risks of their own. Here’s what you need to know before you lotion up.
Impairs Vitamin D Production
The first and most critical danger of sunscreen is that it blocks UV-B rays which are needed for us to make Vitamin D. UVB rays from sunlight interact with cholesterol in our skin cells and forms Vitamin D. In his book, Your Best Health Under the Sun, Dr. Al Sears states that an SPF above 8 blocks your vitamin D production by more than 95%. This can lead to vitamin D deficiency if one is using them every time they go in the sun.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the conditions we are most concerned with like anxiety, stress, cravings for sugar and carbs, and neurotransmitter production and function. Vitamin D, may, be the single most important nutrient your body needs. It protects you from cancer, viruses, and bacteria, regulates blood sugar and insulin, reduces inflammation, makes muscles stronger, lowers risk for type 2 diabetes, boosts mental performance, helps you lose weight and sleep better, aids in detoxification, boosts serotonin levels, protects neurons and activates nerve growth, regulates hormones that are involved in the stress response, the endocrine system, biological clock, and the immune system.
About 70 percent of the population may be lacking sufficient vitamin D levels.
Toxic Ingredients in Sunscreen
The second hidden danger of sunscreens is the fact that many of them contain a variety of harmful endocrine/hormone disruptors that can damage your endocrine and hormonal systems leading to a vast array of debilitating health conditions.
The endocrine system and hormones play a vital role in anxiety disorders, managing stress, cravings for sugar and carbs, compulsive overeating, SIBO, Candida, adrenal fatigue, insomnia, and much more.
According to the Environmental Working Group, one of the most worrisome endocrine-disrupting toxic chemicals in sunscreen is oxybenzone, but others include homosalate and avobenzone.
Many of the chemicals like oxybenzone are carcinogenic as well.
Other toxic chemicals in sunscreen to be concerned about include cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, padimate O, and sulisobenzone.
Some of these chemicals block the body’s production of melanin, a naturally occurring substance that protects you from sunburn.
Is Sunscreen Really Necessary?
In his book, Your Best Health Under the Sun, Dr. Al Sears tells us that we have been deceived by the sun lotion industry to believe the sun is bad for us for their commercial gain. Sunscreen was initially created to allow people to get a suntan without getting a sunburn, not because we needed protection from the sun. When the manufacturers of these products realized how profitable it was, the sun suddenly became our enemy.
Dr. Sears states, “Any evidence that exposing yourself to the sun is harmful evaporates under scrutiny. It’s nothing more than conjecture and slivers of evidence blown out of proportion for commercial interests. What’s worse; if you follow this “no safe level of sun exposure” dogma, you’ll put yourself at greater risk of numerous deadly cancers, depression, bone loss, heart disease, diabetes, and more.”
“Our natural environment is the outdoors. Since the beginning of time until only recently we have lived and worked in harmony with the sun. The move from outdoor to indoor living began with the invention of the light bulb in 1879. It was soon after that cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases (that our ancestors never experienced) became prevalent.
“Sunlight is as natural to your body as breathing. As with oxygen, if you go without sunlight for long enough, your body suffers. The damage of living without your native sun is more gradual, but in the end, just as deadly.” “We are designed, cell by cell, as creatures of the sun. Virtually every organ system in your body is dependent on sunshine for optimal performance.”
Dr. Sears proposes that skin cancer has increased in the last 30 years, not because of sun exposure, but because of the wrong foods we eat (high in omega-6 and low in antioxidants, and the use of sunscreen. After the development of sunscreen, cases of melanoma skyrocketed.
Office workers have higher levels of melanoma than construction workers and lifeguards. As a matter of fact, people who spend the most time in the sun, like lifeguards and construction workers, have the lowest incidence of melanoma.
“A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2005, confirmed that exposure to the sun reduces the risk of skin cancer.
An overview of all of the published research reported in the International Journal of Cancer revealed that multiple studies show that people with “heavy occupational exposure” to the sun have a significantly lower risk of melanoma.
Additional studies performed at the British Columbia Cancer Agency confirmed that the higher your lifetime recreational sun exposure, the lower your risk of melanoma.
Furthermore, most sunscreens only protect you from UV-B rays, the ones that cause sunburn and trigger vitamin D synthesis. But they offer no protection from UVA rays, the ones that penetrate deeper into the skin and are associated with skin cancer.
Therefore, many people spend excessive amounts of time in the sun falsely believing they are protected. Even chemical sunscreen products that claim they have UVA protection only have an SPF of about 4.
Women with consistent sun exposure are much less likely to die of breast cancer. Men exposed to high levels of sunshine cut their risk of prostate cancer in half.
Yes, it is true, “overexposure” to the sun is harmful. It can cause skin damage and lead to two kinds of superficial skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma), but it does not lead to the most dangerous form of skin cancer; melanoma. The sun actually prevents melanoma and aids in the healing process if it is acquired.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell are rarely fatal and easy to treat. A large study from Harvard concluded that “basal cell carcinoma comes from “blistering sunburn” and is proportional to lifetime sunburn accumulation.” Squamous cell carcinoma is associated with cumulative sun exposure, intermittent sunburns, and people who have fair skin and it usually develops in old age.”
No, you should not sunbathe for an entire day and you should avoid sunburns; however, complete avoidance of the sun is even more dangerous.
How to Avoid Sunburn Without Sunscreen
Dr. Sears says to use the common sense we’ve been using for eons and “get out of the sun before you burn.”
If you can’t avoid being out in the sun for long periods, use an umbrella, wear a wide-brimmed hat, shield yourself with clothes, and take cover now and then in a building or shaded area.
If you must use sunscreen, then look for a brand that is natural and free of cancer-causing chemicals.
In conclusion, it’s important to protect yourself from prolonged time in the sun, but equally important to get adequate sun exposure and avoid the hidden dangers of sunscreen that can compromise your health.
The bottom line, as Dr. Sears tells us; “less sunshine means more disease.”
Need help identifying other underlying contributors to your anxiety, stress, or other symptoms? Contact me today to get started moving toward a higher level of health.