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Is your sunscreen doing you more harm than good?

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August 8, 2007

EWG analysis of ingredients in 806 name-brand sunscreens, based on a review of publicly av...

EWG analysis of ingredients in 806 name-brand sunscreens, based on a review of publicly available technical literature. Source: EWG

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August 9, 2007 In sun-drenched regions the skin protection message has been strongly delivered for years: overexposure equals skin cancer. Despite the warnings to cover up the Skin Cancer Foundation warns that more than 600,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. and skin cancer is responsible for 8,500 deaths annually. Paradoxically, suncreens themselves have been identified as a contributing factor in this dilemma, with new products like UV Natural promoting themselves as a safe alternative to other creams on the market which may be doing more harm than good in the ongoing battle against the sun’s harmful rays.

In 2007 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed 785 sunscreens and its findings suggest that some problems may arise are not due to the avoidance of sunscreen, but the very use of it. The results showed that an alarming 84 per cent provided inadequate protection from the sun or contained ingredients that raised safety concerns. The harmful chemicals identified include allergy-creating PABA, benzophenone-3, homosalate, octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC) and 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4- MBC). These chemical provide excellent sun protection, however experts have indicated that OMC, found in most sunscreen brands, was found to kill mouse cells even at low doses.

There is a solution to protecting yourself from harmful toxins and the sun’s rays, a naturally derived sunscreen from UV Natural. Ranked the number one sunscreen by the EWG, UV Natural consists of natural ingredients such as green tea, grape seed extract; macadamia and vitamin E to help protect and restore sun-damaged skin. Products include: SPF 15, SPF 30+, Baby, Sport and in September 2007: Lip Sunscreen, Sport Lip Sunscreen and Sun and Body Oil.

This is not the first major breakthrough in sunscreen in recent times, researchers in Australia have used Nano technology to adopt new principles for skin protection. The new technology enables a cream with the high density protection of a traditional, thick, zinc application to appear on the skin as a clear substance.

It does seem however, that toxic chemicals in commercial sunscreen are not the only cancer risk associated with the “slip, slop, slap” message of sun protection. In Australia reports indicate that there has been a significant increase in Vitamin D deficiencies among the population attributed to lack of direct sunlight. Wearing sunscreen not only blocks out harmful UV rays but also Vitamin D which is essential for calcium absorption and bone density. Further, scientists believe that there is a connection between breast, colon and prostate cancer and a lack of Vitamin D.

So whilst it is important to avoid overexposure to sun and reduce the amount of chemicals we slather on our skin, we also need to be aware that a little sunshine here and there is vital to our ongoing health and wellbeing.

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