Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Don't Fry like an Egg - Try an Eco-friendly Sunscreen

“Hellooo Maria. Pale is the new tan” says my girl Sarah. Ok ok…yes she’s probably right, I know it’s safer to stay out of the sun, but I can’t help myself. I look like Kermet the Frog when I don’t lay out on my lily pad and catch some rays.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States. Almost 50% of Americans who live to the age of 65 will have skin cancer at least once. We rely on sunscreen to help protect our skin. But chemicals in conventional sunscreens have been linked to a host of health problems. For example, common ingredients in chemical based sunscreen (as opposed to mineral blockers) such as benzophenone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate may mimic the hormone estrogen.

Luckily an eco-friendly solution exists. Mineral based sunscreens containing titanium or zinc seem to be a healthier option, and do not appear to contribute to coral bleaching (a significant problem occurring because of the sunscreen’s chemicals washing off in the water).

There really is no such thing as a “healthy glow,” but if you’re determined to scorch your skin in order to get some color, you should at least prepare for it. It’s important to pick a sunscreen equipped to protect us from harmful UV rays. It’s equally important to ensure that our sunscreen doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients, such as petrochemical additives (derived from petroleum) Petrochemicals are often found in moisturizers and can cause severe allergic reactions.

Here are some sunscreen choices that aren’t laden with suspicious-sounding chemicals:

Aubrey Organics Green Tea Protective Sunscreen – this sunscreen doesn’t contain any petrochemicals and protects the skin with titanium dioxide, a mineral that deflects burning UVB & UVA rays off the skin. Also, the organic green tea ingredient shields the skin from cancer-causing free radicals, and the organic shea butter ingredient keeps the skin well-hydrated. Available for $8.50 at

Also, our pals at Burt’s Bees make chemical free sunscreens.

Don’t be a fool and try kamikaze tanning (i.e. tanning with no sunscreen). Apply sunscreen before heading to the beach or park this summer & be safe.



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