Today starts a week-long series, where we’ll delve into the risks and benefits of sunscreen versus sun exposure.
What? Both sunscreen and sun exposure can have risks and benefits? Yes!
But I really didn’t know that up until probably just a couple years ago. You see, I grew up in the generation that was told that sun exposure is BAD news. And why wouldn’t I have believed it? I have red hair and the very fair skin that often goes with that. I still remember some blistering, peeling sunburns I got as a kid.
So there’s no way I’d ever go without sunscreen, right? I don’t want a repeat of those times the sun literally made me sick?!
But…wait a minute. God made the sun. He ordained that we’d live under its rays each and every day. Can it really be all bad?
As I’ve delved into researching how to live a more natural life the past few years, I’ve started getting very wary of most sunscreens on the market today. When I became a mom, I started analyzing everything I put on my baby’s skin–and on my own skin and my husband’s skin.
Image by Muffet
Last summer, I decided to give my sunscreen bottle a look: it was chock full of chemicals. Even at low doses, I didn’t want to spend my summer slathering chemicals in any form on mine or my children’s skin.
I then came across articles like this one referencing a study that theorized that some sunscreens may actually accelerate cancer because of ingredients like vitamin A.
“…the EWG researchers found the initial findings of an FDA study of vitamin A’s photocarcinogenic properties, meaning the possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.
“In that yearlong study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream than animals treated with a vitamin-free cream,” the report said. (source)
Image by Daniel Morrison
Now, that is just one study, and I do not believe we can live our lives in fear. BUT…does that mean I should just keep blindly applying chemical-laden creams to my skin and the skin of my children?
Or should I just leave off the sunscreen altogether?
The above article and others like it led me on a quest to find some kind of balance–a natural sunscreen for when my family would be out in the sun for a long time (because, really, we all have red hair and very fair skin and do burn easily) but easing up on the I-absolutely-cannot-leave-the-house-or-even-sit-by-a-window-without-wearing-sunscreen mentality.
In addition, I’ll have posts on the benefits of sun exposure, when/how to limit exposure to avoid the dangers, and, on Friday, I’ll give a roundup of homemade sunscreen recipes across the web.
So, let’s get started!
How do you feel about using sunscreen? Do you feel the benefits outweigh the risks or that the risks outweigh the benefits of sunscreen versus sun exposure?
*I have included affiliate links in this post.
Top Image by mislav-m
I’m linking up with: The Better Mom, The Prairie Homestead, Far Above Rubies, Growing Home, Deep Roots at Home, Time-Warp Wife, Raising Homemakers, Women Living Well, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource
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