Let’s talk about Sunscreen Alternatives. There is a lot of information about the use of sunscreens. However, we keep hearing rumors about some of the ingredients in the sunscreen formulas, and how they are supposed to have carcinogens in them.
What are we supposed to do? Use the sunscreens and maybe get cancer from the sunscreen? Stop using sunscreen and get sunburn and skin cancer?
While some of the claims about skin cancer are a bit exaggerated, there seems to be a real reason to show some concern about what we are putting on our skin and the skin of our kids.
There are many established brands and manufacturers using formulas that have some of the more well know questionable ingredients.
Chemical Sunscreen What It Is And How It Works
Chemical sunscreens protect your skin because the formula contains chemicals that penetrate your skin. This allows them to absorb the UV rays before there is a chance for them to damage your skin.
Chemical unscreens use UV filters that are molecules specifically designed to help reduce the number of UV rays that reach through the skin surface. A film of these molecules forms a protective barrier that can absorb the UV rays as the sun reaches your skin.
Oxybenzone is a common ingredient in chemical sunscreens. This ingredient has been causing questions by both the FDA and the medical community concerning its’ potential risks to individuals.
There have been some studies done by public watch groups that have found detectable amounts of oxybenzone in blood and breast milk. This chemical was acquired as a result of sunscreen application.
These are the studies that are leading more in the medical community to question the benefit of using these chemical-based sunscreens. There is a great amount of concern for the long-term effects of sunscreen.
Mineral Sunscreen What It Is And How It Works
The ingredients in a mineral sunscreen that lays on top of the skin. When rubbed on and spread well, there will be a physical barrier to keep the sun from penetrating your skin.
Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide are the two minerals that are commonly used in mineral sunscreens. They are generally recognized as safe and effective for use in sunscreens.
The issue when mineral sunscreen is changing the color of your skin. This is an appearance issue, not a health one.
When properly applied, mineral sunscreens will leave a white residue. This makes people using it feel a bit self-conscious. To remedy this some companies are adding a tint to the formula to give a more natural skin tone.
With the tint being supplied by products that have been in use a good while, there is little concern for skin danger by the added color.
When evaluating the proper use of any sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays, mineral sunscreen is indeed more safe for people than chemical sunscreen.
To be able to obtain proper sun protection without absorbing potentially-harmful chemicals into your skin is very important.
Sun Blocking Clothing To The Rescue
If you have chosen to try to protect your skin without sunscreen, sun blocking clothing is a good way to keep the sun off your body. If you put on your sun blocking shirt, you will be protected all day.
I love looking at the items that the companies who make UPF clothing have on their websites. I noticed an item that is called a sun wrap. Pops on over you swimsuit, tank top or anything else that would let the sun reach your arms, shoulders or the trunk of your body.
An easy way to add sun protection during the hotter part of the day if you have to be out, and still allow you to stay protected. Then as it gets later in the day, and the sun is no longer so dangerous, removing the sun wrap, and enjoying some later sun when it is less dangerous.
Wearing your sun hat will also allow you to protect your head, face, nose, and ears. I usually wear sunscreen on my face to prevent the reflections from causing any more aging. (Yes, I’m trying to play catch up, because of a late start.)
Don’t forget the importance of your sunglasses. Wear them anytime you are in the sun. Sunglasses do a really great job of protecting your eyes and the skin around your eyes. Wrap-a-round styles are better, but oversized lenses are great protection as well.
A thick frame will block the sun that much more. The simple start of a sun blocking wardrobe starts with your sunglasses. Next is the sun blocking hat. Then a loose-fitting shirt with long sleeves and fabric that is tightly woven, with a collar to stand up at the back of your neck. You have a basic wardrobe!
Those items may even be in your closet right now!
I am one of the ones who doesn’t like to wear mineral sunscreen because of the off color. However, that is what I put on every morning. While I haven’t tried the tinted mineral sunscreens yet, I will. I just have not seen them locally, and have not been to a larger shopping area. (Part of the joys of small town living.)
Another Sun Screen Alternative – Shade
You can’t use or don’t want to use sunscreen? Are you out of luck for protectioning you skin from the sun.
Have you considered the different forms of shade available?
Umbrellas, Awnings, Shade trees are examples of shade that can help you stay safer from the sun. In the park, spending your time in the shady parts of the park will help protect your skin.
You will need to be aware. Aware of the sun and the full amount of time you are in the sun. Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun.
Yes, it is easier to get under the shade of trees, or umbrellas as opposed to direct sun during the more direct sun times of the day. Remembering to put on your hat, and sunglasses.
However, if you can’t or choose not to use sunscreen, the umbrella, shade, and hats will help. Just remember that you probably will not be as well protected if from the sun.
This is likely due in large part to the reflection of UV radiation which occurs on the light-colored sand and surfaces nearby.
Hats do offer better protection than sunscreen to the tips and edges of the ears. These parts of our body are often barely apparent when applying sunscreen.
A wide-brimmed hat can do a good job of blocking direct rays on the ears, nose, and cheeks.
The dangers of a typical baseball cap exists because it is only blocking some sun where the brim is as well as the material on the scalp. (if the material the cap happens to be of sun blocking material)
Many cap wearers don’t realize that their ears are in the direct path of the sun for hours on end. Check the link for examples of skin carcinoma from too much sun.
So What Else Can I Do?
You can choose to use natural Oils, Maybe?
When you read about the oils that you can use for a “natural” sunscreen it sounds like a match made just for me!
However, make sure you are careful with this process. Yes, it is accurate that some oils do have a natural sun blocking factor.
Raspberry oil has a SPF rating of 25 to 50, according to the purity of the oil. This is unfortunately hard to determine.
The raspberry oil is a natural product, not mixed in some lab. However a SPF of 25 is some protection from UVB, what about the broad spectrum? Will the UVA rays be getting through to age your skin? That is information we don’t have.
Without a standard guide of some sort for the strength of the oils, it is difficult to protect ourselves from the sun. The easiest thing is to stay out of the sun. However that is not always possible.
If you do have allergies, some protection is better than non, like that old worn out white tee shirt. Not good protection, but better than nothing.
Carrot seed oil is on the list to protect your skin with a SPF of 35 to 40. These are decent numbers for skin protection and would be a good oil to use on your face when wearing a hat. Plus there are other good things carrot and raspberry oil do to benefit your skin.
The only issue I find here is that a gallon of either of these oils cost over $400.00! It may be safe, but it isn’t cheap! So the lack of control over the amount of sun blocking you are getting makes this not sound so good. There are smaller amounts available for about $15. I think the bottles held only 3 oz.
If your allergies are severe, this is an avenue to explore.
If you choose to try using an oil to protect your skin, besure and pay attention to your skin and the time you are in the sun.
Take some practice runs to get the timing down of when your safe time is, and when it isn’t.
Just apply some oil to your face, and time how long before you start to turn pink. This is letting you know you are at the end of your safe time in the sun, even with protection for your skin. Put on your hat and get out of the sun.
With all of us, it is easier to make small changes rather than big sweeping changes. The smaller ones are easier to stay with, and in the long run easier to build a good habit for our skin sun safety.
Watching your times to be out in the sun will make the most difference for our skin safety. Stay out of the sun during the times of the day the sun is the strongest. Remember, you can sunburn when the temperature is lower.
The strongest sun for us here in my part of the Texas Hill Country is from 10 AM to 4 PM during the last half of spring, all summer and the first half of autumn. Do you know the higher risk time were you live?
You can stay safe using your sun blocking clothing. Remember your sunglasses and sun hat. They are officially sun blocking clothing too. Then you might want to add an oil to help protect your face. Changing the hours you are in the sun will make the difference.
I will continue using a mineral sunscreen. I don’t trust the oils, and I don’t feel I can afford to run the risk of too much sun. However, in all honesty, I am out so little that other than the mineral sunscreen I have been using every morning, I haven’t been adding sunscreen at all.
I have been relying on sun blocking clothing and have had a great summer with no sunburn at all. I do have a little color, but have been able to keep it to a minimum, not the old dry skin that is trying to wrinkle look I usually have by this time of year.
True, we have had a very dry year and with water restrictions, little yard watering or work to have me out. If I walk, it is very early, just after day light so I am not in the sun.
As I learn to take better care of my skin and cut the risk of more skin cancer, I hope next year to do even better.
Have you had a skin check up?
Sami’s Take On Sunscreen Alternatives
When you have a reason to not use the available sunscreens we have, finding skin protection from the sun may be more difficult, but can be done.
I have been working on improving my mindset for a couple of years now. So I no longer consider myself as having less fun because I can’t stay safe in the sun. There is a large amount of guilt that I didn’t know how dangerous too much sun is for my family.
The technology available to allow better testing and results for us to share is important for keeping us in the loop of new developments. Just as I ignored the healthy eating information that has been flooding the world the past 30 years. The price we pay to ignore the science that tries to help us live a healthier and better life.
Are you really going to continue to pay the price? Have your skin look older than it should? Run the risk of skin cancer? I’m not. I am making some changes.
Are changes being made as quickly as they should be? Probably not, but we live in an information age. We are drowning in information. It is hard to pick just one thing to work on, and admittedly, having this blog has been very instrumental in making changes.
Do you have something you want to share with the world? Try the platform I started on. It is free to start, and there is so much training and so many helping hands to help you get started.