So you lather on the sunscreen to protect yourself from the cancer causing rays, and you may actually be lathering on  sunscreen cancer without even knowing it! It is sad to say to say but true!

A recent FDA study indicates that one of the ingredients in sunscreen, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumours and lesions.

Here is the shocking but sad truth:  Scientists have known for some time that this ingredient can spur excess skin growth and form free radicals that damage your DNA. Did you know that sunscreen causes cancer?

Are you using the right protection or are you being burned? Dermatologist recommended sunscreen may be the worst thing you can put on your skin, but it is not their fault for the recommendation. Find out how using sunscreen can actually cause cancer and what the FDA is doing about it.  You may be unknowingly setting yourself up for cancer.

Watch this episode of The Wellness beat.

Your sunscreen may do more harm than good

Scientists speculate that free radicals, produced in skin when sunscreen chemicals break down in sunlight, may promote cell damage and contribute to skin damage and cancer. And this has led to some confusion on whether sunscreen use can avert Melanoma the deadliest form of skin cancer.

A recent FDA study indicates that a form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Here is the shocking but sad truth:  Scientists have known for some time that vitamin A can spur excess skin growth and that in sunlight it can form free radicals that damage DNA.  And the FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.”

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

To answer this question we interviewed Marguerite Mullins owner of Scottsdale Skin Rejuvenation who specializes in anti-aging and skin care, who explained the difference between two types of sunscreen and which one she recommends to use. She also talks about what SPF means; Sun Protection factor and breaks down how we should be applying sunscreen based on our level of sun exposure and activity.

And of course, anyone who knows me, knows that I am the “as natural as possible “ type and always looking for the littlest amount of ingredients as possible. I was shocked to find out that what I have been applying to my skin for years is actually of benefit.

I have been using coconut oil and some other essential oils like, lavender, winter green and peppermint and applying this to my skin in the summer. I know that coconut oil is fantastic for your thyroid, but it also has an SPF of 7. This may not sound like a lot, but if you are in doors mainly all day, or going from your car to an air conditioned building, or staying in the shade, coconut oil offers some protection and is so good for your skin.

The FDA is making changes to how sunscreens are marketed in the United States and the Final Rule will take effect this summer, but keep in mind it is mainly for protection of UVB and UVA radiation from the sun.

So buyer beware. What the FDA is not addressing are the ingredients and chemicals in your sunscreen. You really need to take a good look at the ingredient list and understand what you are putting in and on your body. Although the FDA is coming out with new rulings, they are not interested in the potential harm it can do to your endocrine and hormone systems.

Your skin is your largest organ. What you put on it is absorbed through the skin and into your blood stream. Chemicals that your body cannot recognise either gets stored in your fat tissues where it can cause harm later, or is broken down by the liver and expelled if you have a proper functioning digestive and liver.

Protect yourself and your skin

When it comes to protecting yourself from the sun the natural way, look for non chemical sunscreens known as physical blockers that Marguerite talked about. These are natural sunscreens containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Avoid sunscreens with parabens and vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, which have been linked to skin cancers and other problems.

Seek shade as much as possible. Believe it or not you can still tan in the shade. Cover up with light weight clothing, and limit your sun exposure between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when the U.V. index is at its peak.

Eat foods high in antioxidants, especially those high in carotenoids (fruits and vegetables), lutein found in dark green leafy vegetables, and lycopene found in tomatoes, grapefruit and guava.

Foods rich in omega-3 such as oily fish, nuts and seeds keep inflammation at bay, and aid in lubricating your skin, keeping it looking young and supple.

Numerous research studies indicate supplementing with vitamin C and E and selenium found in a good antioxidant formula will further protect your skin and membranes from free radical damage and reduce the chances of sunburn, keep inflammation at bay, and destroy potential cancer causing cells.

When it comes down to it, A couple of supplements and eating healthy, incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish is a heck of a lot cheaper and less painful than cancer and the financial burden that goes along with it.

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