Cancer & Chemicals! DIY sunscreen is not the answer
Last Thursday at the age of 35, I had my SECOND skin cancer removed!!! This skin cancer that was approx 5mm (not a mole) I have attached a picture of the aftermath and that is a five cent piece so you can get a glimpse of size of scar.
This year there has been a big controversy from skin cancer specialists and chemical free advocates regarding sunscreen. So today as a chem free advocate and a skin cancer patient, I am sharing my thoughts!!!
I DO NOT believe in DIY SUNSCREEN!!
I feel like I should give you a bit of my history so here it goes ......
I am a super "Moley" person, I was born that way. As a kid I remember my mum counting my moles one day before I hoped in the bath and she stopped at 100, I would of been about 9 at the time. My mum and dad embedded in me the importance of having my skin checked and took me regularly, so as a young adult it was just habit to continue the practice.
At 22 years old at a regular skin check I pointed out a new suspect mole on the back of my Leg. It looked liked someone had pressed the tip of a fine point sharpie on the back of my leg, that is how small and dark it was. The mole was removed and tested and thankfully was a level 1 Melanoma which meant that the only treatment I would need would be one more surgery to remove surrounding tissue to ensure it hadn't spread and 6 monthly skin checks.
For someone like myself with a history of Melanoma the importance of a 6 month check up can mean life and death. My specialist has informed me that studies have shown that high percentages of dangerous level melanoma patients with previous history have not had a skin check in 12 months or more. I NEVER miss a check!!! Over the years I have had in excess of 20+ more moles removed all of which have been what they call "Dysplastic Navae" this type of mole can turn into Melanoma very quickly and needs to be watched very closely.
Today I am still extremely "Moley". On my lower arm I can count at least 20 moles so you can only imagine what my body total would be. At my regular skin check this month they discovered a skin cancer on my shoulder. Although because of my history it is not uncommon for another melanoma to be found it was slightly surprising for my specialist to come across this type of skin cancer.
It is automatically assumed by many that as a child I must of never wore sunscreen. This actually could not be further from the truth! My parents were methodical with sunscreen!
We applied 15+ (which was recommended at the time) every 4 hours, our faces where plastered with bronze zinc, my mother even spot zinc my moles, hats were compulsory and we all had sunglasses.
However.......we were beach & swimming babes!! Our mother had a strict rule NO SUN between 10am-2pm but from every second around that time frame from the moment the sun went up and down, we spent all our time at the beach and pool........UNCOVERED!!!
Yep this was our downfall. As toddlers we were naked or just in bottoms, as kids and teens togs, boardies, bikinis, there was no rash shirts, or covering up. As you can imagine I take sun protection these days very seriously, especially since I have kids of my own!
But living toxin free is extremely important to me and I take the amount of dangerous chemicals added into our products extremely seriously.
So here are my thoughts.....
I absolutely believe the dangerous ingredients in some of our mainstream sunscreens that we apply to our and our children's skins every day is also a serious health risk.
Most sunscreens are tested and approved to provide the sun protection we need. They come with basic topically use instructions. What they don't always say is .......
Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and again every two hours (whether or not the label tells you to do this).
Use a generous amount of sunscreen. The average-sized adult should apply more than half a teaspoon of sunscreen (about 3 ml) to each arm and the face/neck (including ears), and just over one teaspoon (about 6 ml) to each leg, front of body and back of body. That is, 35 ml of sunscreen for one full body application, for an average-sized adult.
Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply again every two hours (whether or not the label tells you to do this).
Remember to reapply after swimming, excessive perspiration, towel drying or excessive sweating.
It is claimed that the level of ingredients in sunscreens are not considered to be harmful applied topically.
This is where I STRONGLY BELIEVE TO DISAGREE!!
I always tell people to trust your gut!! And with this topic I very much do. I find it hard to believe that for someone in the sun regularly for example a Trades person who is applying approx. 20mls (-15mls for area covered up) of a sunscreen up to 5 times a day at least 5 times a week, 60% which is absorbing into skin how can it not possibly be causing issues.
Ingredients such as :-
1. DEA (diethanolamine, cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA, MEA,TEA) may cause:
may cause kidney, nerve, brain and spinal cord damage
may react with forms of cancer (lab results showed precancerous changes in thyroid, skin, and liver cancers.)
Damage to Eco system eg. fish and wildlife
2. FORMALDEHYDE (DMDM, Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolididnyl Urea, Methanamine, Quarternium-15, Tosylamide.5% formaldehyde, Formaldehyde resin.5%, 2-bromo-2nitropane-1, 3-diol, dmdm hydantoin, BNPD) may cause:
low dose allergies
respiratory system irritant
3. RETINYL PALMITATE may cause
speed development of lesions and tumours with exposure to sunlight
4. OMC (octocrylene, octyl salcyclate, octyl, methoxycinnamate OMC) may cause:
skin cell death upon exposure to sunlight
photo allergic effects
organ system toxicity eg. liver
easily absorbed which will promote free radicals
5. OXYBENZONE may cause:
photosensitivity when skin penetration
produce harmful free radicals attack DNA
similar hormone to estrogen's
breast cancer, melanoma
body absorbs and stores this chemical
OTHERS INGREDIENTS THAT MAY BE TOXIC AND ABSORBED INTO BLOODSTREAM ARE:
Para aminobenzoic acid
So why not DIY?
The reason I do not make my own ...... it is really hard to know if you are getting coverage!!!
Unless you are having your homemade sunscreen professionally tested, you don’t know if it works!
Just because you do not get burnt with your DIY sunscreen does NOT mean you are being protected.
UVB rays are what causes burns, However UVA rays, are the rays that cause invisible (and insidious) damage.
Sunscreen is way harder to make than think, hence why it is so tightly regulated.
It is just NOT WORTH THE RISK!!
So this is my DIY Sunscreen recipe solution:-
The best sort of protection is covering up! I wear long sleeve and jeans when gardening and mowing, hat, sunscreen, swim shirts etc. I do not sunbake EVER!
Looking for a safer ingredient
sunscreen can be hard but they are out there. It is certainly sensible to check the labels and choose natural and organic options so as to avoid harmful chemicals that might be absorbed.
These are my tips on finding a great one!!
If a retailer cannot provide the ingredients in their product then I do not use it, I do not take peoples word for it! I do not approve that some companies are not bound to list there ingredients!!!! Even some of the sunscreens that claim they have no nasties will not list them. They do however list there active ingredients which really doesn't mean much.
Always check the label that the product complies with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2604:2012 and has an AUSTL number
CORRECT STORAGE!! Most sunscreens have a warning stating to store under 30 degrees. Seems easy but how many people store sunscreens in car, glove-box, sheds etc. where the temperatures can exceed 30 degrees.
And lets talk expiry dates!! Yes sunscreen has them and if it doesn't it will normally have a marking stating 12 months after opening. Get a permanent marker and write on container when it was opened. Sometimes it isn't actually worth purchasing the bulk, cheap pump bottles as the expire before they are all used. I have seen copious amounts of skin irritation form using expired sunscreen and from sunscreen stored incorrectly.
check out EWG's Guide to sunscreen where you can find a the best and worst scoring sunscreens and more.
Suncreen brand suggestions are:-
My favorite is WotNot SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection contains a beautiful blend of Certified Organic ingredients including Aloe Vera and Shea Butter with natural Zinc Oxide. It has a very moisturising consistency making it easy to apply over the skin. Suitable for all skin types and ideal for children of all ages. You can purchase WotNot and more sunscreens from Nourished Life
I would also recommend MooGoo sunscreen range. The "Natural Sunscreen SPF 40" and only has one ingredient Lecithin that is questionable as it is rated 2-3 EWG skin deep database as it is not safe to inhale and as it is one ingredient I can handle that! You can purchase all these in a great chemist or MooGoo online store. Another amazing product is Ecological Body Sunscreen 30+ it has a great rating on the EWG skin database at 1. There are No nasties in this product and is available to purchase through Nourished life.
At 2m squared your skin offers a pretty big areas for exposure to potential toxins. So don't just follow the celebrity, or bias chemists, don't just believe what you are told, be smart and educated..... Protect our skin and our bodies after all they are our souls vessel.
What YOU can is enough
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***These statements have not been evaluated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and The Clean Living Clinics product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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