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Sunscreen – What's The Damage?

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If you have been a person who uses sunscreen regularly, you may be surprised to learn that the effectiveness and safety of sunscreen is now being called into question. 

In correlation, Vitamin D deficiency in the United States is a problem in children and adults alike, and is thought to be one of the primary culprits in the development of degenerative diseases including cancer and heart disease – which has been especially prevalent in younger and younger people as time has gone on.

According to some recent studies, the reliability and effectiveness of sunscreens is coming under scrutiny. In 2009, a study by The Environmental Working Group  examined the effectiveness of 1,796 name-brand sunscreen products. The results revealed the following surprising results: only 7 percent actually blocked out UVA and UVB radiation (which has been claimed to cause cancer), remain stable in sunlight, and contain few ingredients causing known or suspected health problems.

Other inquiries revealed some sunscreen ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream and were associated with toxic occurrence in the body. Skin-damaging free-radicals are thought to be released from these ingredients in sunlight. They are also believed to cause hormonal disruption, while several others are also linked to allergic manifestation. Some others may accumulate in body tissues (fat) and/or the environment. The EWG has also criticized the FDA due to its negligence in creating acceptable safety standards for sunscreen products.

A study conducted in 2006 by the University of California-Riverside found that certain sunscreen products are suspected to cause the development in the body of more free-radicals. Oxidation cause by the presence of free-radicals is a cell disruptor and can lead to the development of cancer.

The environmental impact of sunscreen has also been called into question.  In 2007, a study published by Environmental Health Perspectives discovered that at even very low levels, sunscreens are responsible for the bleaching of coral in the oceans by killing zooxanthellae, the algae that form a symbiotic relationship with corals. The study’s authors calculated that close to 10 percent of the world’s reefs could be at risk from the 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen that wash off on an annual basis.

Natural protection from sunburn, which is blamed for skin cancer can be obtained through regular exposure to the sun at intervals that are appropriate for your own skin type. People with darker skin can typically receive more sun exposure, while those with fair skin should work up to longer intervals in the sun. Gradual and continued exposure to the sun provides good Vitamin D absorption as well as protects from sunburn.

A healthy diet is also critical in maintaining your body’s ability to avoid sunburn. Eating plenty of meat, meat products, and safe-sourced seafood is an excellent way to build your body’s natural store of Vitamin D to prevent diseases and cancer of all types. Pasture-raised meats, game, poultry, and eggs from hens on pasture are good sources, as well as dairy from cattle on pasture that are raised sustainably, and seafood from safe-sources.