Happy Sunshine and Vitamin D

I used to love checking the weather forecast each morning when I got up. I was so excited to see what the day had in store– Is it going to be a cool crisp 70 degrees? Or will the sun send down a little extra heat and warm us up with 80-something degrees of goodness? Now… I’m scared to check it. There is one thing I do know:  we sure aren’t getting any more of those blissfully cool days for the next 4 months. Not trying to be a pessimist, just a realist! The amount of clothing worn decreases about as fast as the temperature increases. Summertime is all about flowy tops, loose summer dresses, daisy dukes, and your favorite pair of sandals. All of which expose a fair amount of skin.

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I’m really good about remembering to put on sunscreen. I used to not think twice about using sunscreen. I wasn’t too picky about the brand either, but I’ve been doing some serious research on sunscreen and the toxic properties it contains. All I have to say is, “Oh shit! What the hell have I been putting on my body for all these years?!”

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So here I am, asking myself… am I ready for summer?

I don’t know what’s more frightening– that there is no actual proof that sunscreen prevents most skin cancer, or that the most common sunscreen additive, vitamin A, may actually speed up the development of skin cancer. Many ingredients in the popular sunscreen brands disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies. Thinking back, I’ve always had complications with sunscreen. Whether it was a post-sun breakout or mid-sunning skin rashes, something would always come to the surface.

It’s crazy to think how much sunscreen a person puts on in a lifetime. I know we’ve all been using this stuff forever and not everyone has up and died from skin cancer or melanoma, BUT the rate of skin cancer and melanoma sure have increased drastically in the past 10 years.

I definitely don’t want to look like a wrinkly old hag when I’m older, but I also want to protect my skin…dilemmaGOOD VS. BAD?

GOOD:

Mineral Based Sunscreens : Titanium Dioxide & Zinc Dioxide- they provide UVA protection against the sun’s most damaging rays without penetrating our skin.

Non-nano products– they don’t have small particles that can absorb into our skin.

Unscented or Essential Oil based fragranced lotions.

Lotion based with water resistance.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen– provide protection against UVA & UVB rays.

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BAD:

Oxybenzone – hormon disrupting chemical that penetrates the skin and enters into the bloodstream- EEK!

Vitamin A– In a 2009 study done by the U.S. government, research showed that when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed up development of skin tumors and lesions. YUCK!

Fragrance– although it might smell good, this petroleum based product is linked to organ toxicity and allergies. GROSS!

High SPF– the FDA doesn’t regulate anything higher than 50 & there’s no scientific proof they work better than lower SPF’s. AWESOME!

Sprays or Powder– tend to have additional chemicals added for performance purposes. LOVELY!

Popular/Conventional Brands– Banana Boat, Aveeno, Coppertone, Neutrogena are rated the worst in terms of safety in the Enviromental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. BOO!

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There’s no arguing that we NEED vitamin D! It boosts serotonin levels (our happy hormone) and wards off depression. It also works to reduce cravings. When your vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that controls appetite stops working. So that’s why you eat and eat and eat, and never feel full. The sun is a significant contributor to our daily production of vitamin D. All you need is about 10 minutes of exposure, 3-4 times a week, to prevent these deficiencies. That’s enough of a reason for me to spend more time outside!

Have fun in the sun, soak up the rays and be smart about what we put on our bodies this summer.

Happy Summer. Happy Skin. Happy Hemp.

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