I remember years ago when I had three kids in swim team, that the news began to build about the many (up to thirteen!) chemicals that were present in sunscreens. One article I read explained how toxic some of these chemicals were, even to the point of causing blindness if they got into the eyes. I shuddered to think of smearing the lotion purposefully on my child's face and around their eyes. I couldn't bring myself to do it. So, I didn't force the sunscreen issue. I did my best to make sure they never got a burn and limited their time in the sun...but you moms know how possible that is!
Then there was the problem with everyone else who sent their kids to the pool lathered with the chemicals before jumping in. Again, I shuddered...my kids would be swimming in chlorine AND more toxic chemicals. I begged them, that if they wanted to do swim team, not to open their eyes under the water. (Yeah, right!)
Of course, ten years later, the issue continues and has only heightened. Just how dangerous are all these chemicals? Some surprising answers have come about, one being from the National Geographic Society. They documented that the chemicals in sunscreen appear to be destroying our barrier reefs in the ocean. www.mercola.com reports that "Four ingredients commonly found in popular brands of sunscreen – paraben, cinnamate, benzophenone, and a camphor derivative – are suspected of awakening dormant viruses in a certain algae that live inside coral reefs." The effect is that the virus replicates itself so quickly that a reef can die within four days. (Dr. Mercola is an advocate of natural sunscreen and sensible time in the sun for its vitamin D benefits.)
Back ten years ago, natural sunscreen wasn't an "in thing." Now that enough evidence has confirmed that many of those chemicals also cause free radical damage to the skin and body they are supposed to protect, there are much safer options finally available.
Valley Naturals carries Sunbrellas Chemical Free Sun Block at an SPF 30+ level. If a sunscreen isn't at least a 15 SPF, there is no guarantee that it will even protect you from overexposure to the sun. The FDA is making labeling more transparent in sunscreen labeling, so hopefully we consumers can make better choices on the ingredients and strength of the block. The two minerals in Sunbrellas, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, have a long history of being safe minerals to the skin.
My personal favorite choice from Valley Naturals is the product called Sunsafe RX by Bioscience, an oral pill that won't wash or sweat off. It won't add anything to the pool or the ocean, and can be swallowed and forgotten. My oldest son grew up out of swim team to love the beach and the ocean. One of his most favorite jobs was being employed as a lifeguard. We both were pretty excited to find a new product that is an incredible plus for people who work in the sun all day. I think of construction workers and agricultural producers too, who can now easily protect themselves with 2 caps a day. The manufacturer says that it is not to replace sunscreen, but evidence has shown that the skin, when given the right free radical scavengers, will protect itself. It's been clinically shown to block UVA and UVB rays without blocking Vitamin D production.
Statistics show that more and more moms are now searching for chemical free choices to protect their kids and families from toxic sunscreens. If you are one of those kind of proactive parents, do check out these great alternatives! Ellen