There’s been a lot of buzz lately about whether or not the benefits of sunscreen actually outweigh the negative consequences of using it. Consequently, there is now a lot of confusion and also fear that something previously thought to be really beneficial as a skin cancer preventative may actually be the cause of other types of cancer.
Admittedly, we really have no idea whether or not sunscreen causes cancer, as no single study has been able to directly link any sunscreen ingredient to cancer.
What we do know, however, is that because sunscreen is slathered all over our skin, some of it is absorbed through our pores and into our bloodstream, which, of course, is not ideal. In addition, some ingredients in sunscreen are known to be hormone disruptors, meaning that they can affect how estrogen or other hormones act in the body by blocking or mimicking them. Again, not ideal.
But, while sunscreen has not actually been shown to directly cause any cancer, we do know for certain that it prevents skin cancer. Very well, actually.
So here’s what we’re left with – there are pros and cons to sunscreen. Some sunscreens are better than others, and this site has a great list of the most effective, most natural sunscreens on the market. Sometimes, we can get away with not using sunscreen or at least using much less of it by opting for protection as listed below:
1. Wear clothing. Opt for hats and long sleeve, light colored shirts to keep cool while keeping the sun off of your skin. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with UV-absorbent sunglasses!
2. Sit in the shade. Find an umbrella or shady tree and sit underneath them instead of near water or sand, where the sunrays can be reflected.
3. Limit exposure. Check the weather to see when UV rays are most intense and opt to spend most of your time outside when the UV rays are weaker. Another way to check the sun’s intensity is to do the shadow test; if your shadow is shorter than you, the UV rays are at their strongest.
4. Be extra cautious if you are taking medications that may make you more sensitive to the sun. These include specific types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, blood pressure medications, and chemotherapies.