A better way to protect yourself from the sun

School is out, and water sports are big draws for families. I was raised on the water, and my ‘happy place’ is on the boat, on the lake. You may have a pool, belong to a
subdivision which has a pool, or you may take your boat to the lake. However you enjoy the water, you need to protect yourself and your children from the harmful rays of the

I am not sure if this is public knowledge or not, but sunscreens have quite a few additives which are harmful to the human body. Here are a few ingredients to look for.
I pulled these from the internet, and you can certainly find more if you look:

• Oxybenzone – this is a hormone disrupting chemical which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. It is the most popular ingredient in chemical based sunscreens and only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D production), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays. Avoid any sunscreen that has this chemical at all costs, especially for children.
• Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) – A 2009 study by U.S. government scientists released by the National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
• Fragrance – Sure it may make the product smell nice, but this is a petroleum-based product that is linked to organ toxicity and allergies.
• High SPF – The FDA does not regulate SPF higher than 50 and there’s no scientific proof they work better than lower SPF. Many of the higher SPFs do not provide any additional
protection and studies have suggested that users are exposed to as many or more ultraviolet rays as those who use lower-SPF products.
• Sprays or Powders – Generally speaking, sprays and powders have additional chemicals  added to them for performance purposes. These additional chemicals are usually not something you want to be spraying on your body and can be toxic to the lungs. Besides, remember sunscreen is formulated for your skin, not your lungs. Many of the side effects of sprays and powders on the lungs are not tested before being approved.

Look at your brand of sunscreen in the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide.  www.ewg.org

Until next time,

Dr. Polly