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The skin is the largest organ in your body. But when you lather up with sunscreen, the chemicals are actually being absorbed into your bloodstream.
According to a new pilot study conducted by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, chemicals from sunscreen enter the bloodstream in substantial amounts after just one day of use. The study, which has just been published, evaluated the blood of 24 test subjects, each of whom used sunscreen on 75% of their bodies.
They then evaluated four chemicals commonly found in sunscreen products:
After just one day of use, the researchers found that the levels of these chemicals in the blood was higher than the FDA safety threshold. Patients using sprays, creams, and lotions all demonstrated the same results.
Because the blood levels exceed the FDA threshold, these products will need to undergo vigorous safety testing. And although consumers have been using these products for decades, proper safety studies are virtually non-existent.
Is Sun Exposure the Real Cause of Skin Cancer?
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the timing of this information is fortuitous. Those who have been following our work are already equipped with knowledge about the harm that traditional sunblock can cause, but for those of you who are unfamiliar, let’s recap.
You’ve probably heard a million times that the sun causes cancer, and that it’s important to lather up before you go outside. But not only does sunscreen introduce harmful chemicals into your bloodstream, it also blocks the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining good health, and the sun is one of the few natural ways to get it.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with nearly five million people treated annually. Below are the 3 most common types of skin cancer.
3 Most Common Types of Skin Cancer
#1. Basal cell carcinomas comprise 80% of all skin cancers. Basal cancers used to show up only in middle-aged groups but are increasingly present in younger people. These cancers grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body.
#2. Squamous cell carcinomas are more likely to grow into deeper layers of the skin and spread to other parts of the body, although this is still rare. Interestingly, squamous cell cancers exist more frequently in darker skinned individuals in areas hidden from the sun, such as on the bottoms of their feet or palms of their hands.
#3. Melanoma accounts for less than 2% of all cases of skin cancer but is more likely to grow and spread if left untreated, making it more deadly. According to skincancer.org, getting more than five sunburns increases your odds of getting melanoma by 80%.
One study, published in 2004, found that indoor workers are more likely to develop melanoma than outdoor workers. The author concluded that “chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect” against skin cancer. In fact, a 2014 article published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that avoiding sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality.
Another study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that exposure to sunlight – and the subsequent vitamin D synthesis – may actually help to prevent certain cancers. According to the study:
…sunlight may reduce the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and may be associated with increased survival rates in patients with early-stage melanoma. In a large population-based case–control study of more than 3700 patients with incident lymphoma and nearly 3200 control subjects in Sweden and Denmark, Smedby et al. reported a 20% to 40% reduction in the risk of this cancer. The reduction in risk was dose-related with increasing indices of prior sun exposure.”
The authors summarized that “solar radiation may have a beneficial influence in both the incidence and outcome of cancer.” So, if vitamin D is so important, and exposure to sunlight can be healthy (in the right doses), what does sunscreen accomplish?
The Real Damage Caused by Commercial Sunscreen
Besides blocking the important synthesis of vitamin D, it may be disrupting our hormones, especially once it’s been introduced into the bloodstream. We actually published a video on this very topic years ago. Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, an expert on the dangers of commercial sunscreen use, explained the way that these harmful chemicals are absorbed through the skin and introduced into the bloodstream – and just how badly this can affect humans.
The chemicals in sunscreen can act as an estrogen, or an anti-testosterone, which can have severe effects on our health. This is especially important for women who are pregnant, because this hormone disruption can drastically and negatively impact the development of unborn children.
She explained that the skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and one of the most absorbent. Whatever we put onto our skin can end up directly in our bloodstream. In fact, Dr. Plourde says that the chemicals in sunscreen can be detected in the blood within 5 minutes of applying it and in the liver, kidney, spleen, testicles and brain within mere hours.
How to Defend Against Skin Cancer Naturally (+ How to Make Your Own Sunscreen!)
Nevertheless, too much sun exposure can lead to many forms of skin cancer, especially when it results in a burn. But there are ways to protect yourself from potentially harmful radiation naturally, without the use of harsh chemicals found in most sun care products.
#1. Limit your exposure. We should ideally be getting about 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D each day. Start out with 15-20 minutes of sunbathing at least 3 times a week for optimal vitamin D production. For those with darker skin, try 25-40 minutes.
#2. Use clothing to protect yourself. For those who will be in the sunlight for an inordinate amount of time, consider using a hat, long sleeves, and pants to protect your skin instead of sunblock.
#3. Utilize nature’s medicine chest. There are many plants and herbs provided in creation that can help improve our body’s natural defenses. Phenolic compounds like flavonols, lignins, stilbenes, and phenolic acids can help protect you against skin cancer. There are other compounds that can protect against melanoma which can be found in green tea, holy basil, cruciferous vegetables, coffee, and a host of other fruits and veggies.
If you live in an area with limited sunlight, be sure to supplement your vitamin D levels. You can use a trusted, all-natural vitamin D3 supplement or consume foods like mushrooms, wild-caught fish, and fermented dairy products to increase your levels of vitamin D.
Even non-chemical sunscreens which contain minerals may have been mixed with chemicals, and products labeled as “hypoallergenic” contain hazardous ingredients. Instead, prepare your own natural sunscreen lotion made with extracts that contain a natural SPF.
No matter how you choose to protect yourself from sun damage, remember to consult a physician or dermatologist to find out what’s best for your skin type and to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. You can protect yourself naturally without infusing your body with harmful chemicals contained in commercial sunscreens. By utilizing the bounty of creation, like vitamin D, antioxidants, and phenolic compounds, you reap the benefits of the sun while helping your body defend against cancer.
A recent study shows that chemicals from sunscreen enter the bloodstream in substantial amounts after just one day of use.
3 most common types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Besides blocking the important synthesis of vitamin D, sunscreen may be disrupting our hormones.
How to defend against skin cancer naturally:
- Limit your exposure
- Use clothing to protect yourself
- Utilize nature’s medicine chest