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
I started making my own homemade baby wash, homemade hand soap, homemade deodorant–and using either Lexie: Naturals or MadeOn hard lotion bars and a natural shampoo.
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.
This week, I’ll be reviewing three of those sunscreens: Kabana Skincare, TruKid and Melansol. There will also be a giveaway attached to each review!
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.
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Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents
I think that no matter what, it’s hard to change your mind about the sun. When you’ve heard your entire life that it’s BAD BAD BAD, it’s terribly difficult to change how you think.
And for me, I’d rather use a natural sunscreen than not one at all – because burns are horrible and nothing to mess around with. I’m fair skinned like you so I burn after only about 10 minutes. 🙁
Looking forward to reading the reviews and information!
I’m the same way…it’s so hard to undo that thinking…but I agree that prolonged sun exposure is bad news. It’s such a very delicate balance. I can already tell you which sunscreen you will like the best (although I’m not reviewing it)….a homemade chemical-free one…b/c it’s cheaper. 😉 I’ll be posting a round up of some homemade sunscreens. I was going to make one this year but ran out of time and had plenty of chemical-free sunscreens I was reviewing. But I’m trying it out next summer for sure!!
Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy
We rarely use sunscreen around here, but we’re rarely in the sun for lengthy periods of time either. When we’re going to be out all day in the sun or for longer than an hour or two, we use sunscreen. Well, the kids do anyway.
We are the same way!
I too am fair skinned and a read head. I burn very easily. I am 45 years old and have had two sunburns that left blisters back when I was 18 and the last really bad sunburn at the age of 20. Since that time I avoid the sun like the plague. Every time I am in the sun my skin has a very unpleasant feeling. Last year in October I found out that I have melanoma and I am still undergoing treatment. I asked my doctor about the feeling my skin gets when ever i am exposed to the sun for more than 20 minutes. The answer is that your skin has memory cells and that is my bodys way of telling me to get out of the sun. I am against commercial sunscreens. I look forward to reading more on this post.
Oh wow, Annie! It sounds like you have had a terrible experience with the sun! In my next post, I will talk about a terrible burn I had as a child. Actually, I remember having several very bad burns as a little girl….I really hope to avoid that with my girls! I pray your treatments will go well. I would be very scared of the sun as well if I were in your shoes!
First, thank you for the link. I remember being on the phone with you one might as I bathed the girls and us discussing ingredients that we spread all over our girls.
We wear sunscreen because my dad has skin cancer and has drilled it into our heads; however, this year we used a natural one and I also just received ingredients I need to MAKE my own! I’m beyond excited and hope I get to use it before we go to the each so I can make sure it works. 🙂
Please forgive my typos. I hit send before I proofed on accident. 🙁
I’m a little OCD about typos and Grammar.
Haha! I do it all the time!
I like your balanced approach. I am the same way….can’t wait to try your homemade sunscreen. 😉
I can’t wait for the rest of the posts this week! This is something we started talking about in our house. Thankfully my husband and I don’t really go out into the sun all that much. But I’m sure we will with our kiddos and I don’t want to slather them with all kinds of chemicals!
Having kids really changes your perspective for sure!
I started checking out our sunscreen when I was pregnant with our third, 4 years ago. We’ve been using Kinesys spray on (30) and sometimes Banana Boat (just the normal one) UV 15. one thing I noticed (if you check it out on cosmetics database) is that the higher the UV, the more the chemicals. Yikes! Makes sense though. My kids stay covered with swim shirts when we’re in the city, but at the cottage/lake they go without and just sunscreen it up since they’re in the water so much. I know there are natural sunscreens out there you can make with essential oils, but I’m OK with what we’re using right now since it’s relatively inexpensive and lower on the chemical side. Would love to hear your opinions on those you are reviewing! Great series!
Thanks so much for your input, Lauren! I like your balanced approach….sounds like we are similar. 🙂
liza lee grace
I burn easily – 15 minutes is all it takes! I hate chemicals and the feel of sunscreen, but I love the sun. What I do is if I know I’ll be in the sun for more than 15 minutes straight, I put sunscreen on. On a normal day when I’m running errands or something, then I won’t. In the summer, I also carry a bottle around with me for impromptu visits to the park or other outdoor activity.
My issue that I burn faster and deeper with natural sunscreens than with the chemical ones. I’ve tried many different brands, with many different SPF’s, and there is only one brand that I’ve found that will keep me from burning…a chemical-laden conventional one. I use it because I believe burned skin is worse than chemicals, and I don’t spend ridiculous amounts of time in the sun anyway. I’m looking forward to reading more this week…maybe I can find something better that works for me!
Your method sounds very similar to mine, but I’ve had good results with the chemical-free sunscreens so far. I know the terrible feeling of getting physically ill with a sunburn, so I don’t blame you!
The series will go into next week!
What brand have you used that didn’t work? I am just curious. I am reviewing 3 natural brands for this series, and I’ve tried a 4th semi-natural ones–Blue Lizard–last year. I didn’t burn with any of them.
liza lee grace
I’ve tried California Baby, Alba, Neutrogena’s nautral version (still contains some chemicals…I got FRIED), oh, I can’t remember what else. There was at least one more that I know of that I tried this year. I’ve tried others in years past but don’t remember which ones. All would be available at Target; that’s where I do most of my shopping. I use several California Baby products, but the sunscreen is awful.
The Alba one was the best of these. I’ll use it if I’ll be outside less than an hour and not swimming. The others, I threw away because they were so bad.
Oh that sounds terrible! 🙁 I know everyone’s skin is different. I haven’t tried any of those so far. I am reviewing TruKid (but I just used it on my girls), Kabana (my favorite 😉 ), and Melasol. Last summer I tried Blue Lizard. I haven’t really gotten burnt with any, but I’ve noticed that I burn a lot less now than I did as a child. I hope you can find the perfect sunscreen for you! I know that has to be aggravating!