Sunscreens….good or bad for you?

It is so true that when the sun is out we all feel so much better. People have a smile on their face, colour in their cheeks and walk upright, striding out! Why is this? Well one reason is that whilst you are out in the sun you are getting your Vitamin D which is a vital nutrient for your wellbeing. It promotes bone strength by improving calcium absorption, it keeps your immune system healthy and it helps to control your blood pressure, amongst many other benefits.

15-20 minutes in the sun gives you all the vitamin D that you need on a daily basis. However, there are no benefits if you are applying sunscreen to your body, it blocks the Vitamin D production.

We are told that it is so important to cover your body in sunscreens to protect your skin and prevent cancer, if you are out in the sun. Well, unfortunately sunscreens are not that helpful.

Sunscreens are full of chemicals and ingredients that can increase the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. At the University of California researchers discovered that one of the common sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone, boosts the production of dangerous free radicals in your skin after just 20 minutes of exposure to the sun. BHA is another common ingredient in sunscreens and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America have recommended that you avoid it.

Other chemicals such as parabens can absorb easily through your skin and…
• damage your DNA increasing your chances of serious health problems,
• alter your hormone balance causing all sorts of problems and it could also
contribute to early puberty in children
• act like the hormone oestrogen, which is linked to breast and skin cancer
• interfere with the production of thyroid hormones
• contribute to male infertility
• disarm your body’s natural defences against sun damage, multiplying the harmful

Studies have shown that a large percentage of our population in this country do not get enough vitamin D and already some children are beginning to experience bone development problems, such as rickets which are linked to the chemicals in sunscreen.

If you use the sunscreens as directed you will definitely not get enough sun to make the vitamin D that you need, and your health may suffer.

I recommend that you use a more natural sunscreen that has moisturisers such as shea butter, or capuacu butter that also contains antioxidants to protect the skin. You will find these in a good health food shop under Dr Hauschka’s range, or Caudale’s range and there are other excellent natural products.

So go out and enjoy the sun and know that you are safe and getting all the vitamin D that you need to be healthy, and, with the right cover.

Image: photostock /

Wyndham Health