I’m very fair skinned, so I have a pretty deeply rooted connection with sunscreen. During my youth and young adulthood, I would wear the 45+ level of sunscreen. But I’d always burn. I wouldn’t notice it until the next day when I woke up… blistered. Then, after several days the burn would fade back to pale. A few years ago, I stopped using sunscreen. I couldn’t get past the fact that sunscreen had such a shaky and illegitimate safety-testing and regulating past, so I broke up with it for good.
When I stopped the sunscreen use, the blistering burns magically stopped and I found out I was actually able to tan. A little. My skin is exceptionally pale to start with, but at least now, I don’t get blistered skin from being outside for a couple of hours like I did when I used sunscreen regularly. Now, I find that if I am going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, I use clothing as protection instead of chemicals.
UVB- Feel the Burn
After a little research, I came to understand that most sunscreens brag about their SPF value. And SPF is what measures the product’s ability to block out the UVB rays that generally cause the burns. Interestingly, UVB rays also happen to be the rays responsible for vitamin D production. (I really value the health benefits of getting my vitamin D... including its inversely proportional association with cancer risks- including melanoma.)
Speaking of Melanoma…
According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent. Tanning booths primarily emit UVA. Non-broad-spectrum sunscreens provide no protection from UVA rays. UVA rays are the ones responsible for the vast majority of skin damage and cancer, but researchers used to think it was the UVB rays, since they actually cause the red burns. So, when I was young, it was almost as if the sunscreen made me not “feel” the amount of sun I was actually getting. Sunscreen just kind of pretended I wasn’t getting burned, when I was actually getting completely fried. I believe that not using sunscreen allows me to better monitor how much the sun is actually cooking my skin deep down.
Oh, I know that the FDA officially states that sunscreen is “Generally Recognized As Safe,” but they never got around to doing any real safety studies on it as whole working product. And I know that it encourages us use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. It’s just that these days, I feel a lot safer putting my trust in nature.
But I digress. Here’s what sunscreen has to do with Everything Birth…
As the FDA asserts that chemical sunscreens are to be used on children as young as six months and are “Generally Recognized As Safe,” Environmental Science & Technology published the results of a study this year that linked endometriosis with a chemical found in a lot of sunscreen. Entitled, “Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-type UV Filters in U.S. Women and Their Association with Endometriosis,” this study said that the chemical in question mimics the effects of estrogen.
Endometriosis needs estrogen to develop.
1 in 10 women of child-bearing age are affected by endometriosis which is a major cause of severe pain and infertility in women.
Though many beauty products contain UV filters, the researchers even went through the trouble to really analyze the data and determine that the product that appears to be the biggest culprit is, of course, sunscreen. They determined that because the highest urine concentrations happened in the summer and in sunny California.
“Generally Recognized As Safe” certainly is debatable, huh?
When I feel the Burn and Ignore It…
On those rare days when my skin gets a little too toasty these days, I soothe it with raw virgin coconut oil or Garden Dreams Smooth Soothe and Heal. I also find that taking a few doses of the homeopathic remedy Cantharis (which can be found in the Hyland’s Kit) is exceptionally helpful. Of course, NOW, I must add my Disclaimer Proclaimer at this point: These statements have not been approved by the FDA and nothing mentioned in this post was meant to heal or treat any disease or condition and also this post is not to be considered medical advice, because I am not a medic, just a mom… with freakishly pale skin.