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Should You Believe The Label? How To Choose The Right Sunscreen For Protection and Vitamin D

It’s officially summertime, and you know what that means: maximizing your outdoor summer fun and protecting your skin with sunscreen! But if you’re anything like me, reading the back of a sunscreen bottle can often be confusing and overwhelming. And it seems like every sunscreen label comes out touting something new—chemical vs. mineral formulas, different SPFs, water-resistant varieties… How on earth do you decide which one to choose? For women facing time and energy constraints, as well as health and hormonal issues, who aspire to reclaim their well-being, there is promising hope. The secret lies in understanding how to properly read the label so that you can make an informed selection when picking out the right type of sunscreen for optimal protection and that extra boost of vitamin D.


Truly Enjoy the Sun!

When it comes to the choice between getting a severe sunburn, which can cause painful damage to our skin, and using harmful chemicals in an attempt to prevent it, there is no ideal option. Both scenarios have drawbacks and potential negative impacts on our health. It becomes crucial for us to explore alternative ways of enjoying the sun without compromising our skin’s well-being or overall health. It is a delicate balance that we must strive to achieve.


Let’s talk about vitamin D levels and sunscreen.


While some sun exposure is beneficial, too much can be detrimental. About 20 minutes of sun exposure is enough to activate the vitamin D in your skin. After this, it’s essential to cover up or protect yourself from UV rays. Our bodies require UVB rays to convert vitamin D, and exposure to natural sunlight is the only way to activate this process.


However, sunscreen blocks the rays needed to reach the skin cells that produce vitamin D. This could be one reason behind the widespread Vitamin D deficiency in our population. Optimal vitamin D levels aid in calcium absorption and contribute to a healthy, well-functioning immune system. Furthermore, vitamin D plays a role in reducing inflammation.


The Skin, A Barrier and n Opening


Our skin, the body’s largest organ, serves as a protective barrier. However, many substances can permeate our skin and enter our bloodstream. Consider how a nicotine patch works: nicotine is absorbed through the skin and delivered into your bloodstream.


Now, let’s return to our sunscreen discussion. Did you know that most sunscreens use chemicals to absorb the sun’s rays? Two common chemicals are oxybenzone and retinal palmitate.

Oxybenzone is a xenoestrogen; once it enters your bloodstream, it behaves like estrogen in your body. In natural medicine, this is known as estrogen mimicry, which can lead to hormone imbalances such as estrogen dominance and even cancer due to hormonal disruption.


Retinal palmitate, on the other hand, makes your skin more susceptible to damage, including an increased risk of certain cancers. These chemicals penetrate deep into the skin layers and travel into the bloodstream.


Let’s consider this for a moment: Would you prefer your children or your spouse to be exposed to xenoestrogens? I believe the answer is no.


Zinc Oxide


That’s why I highly recommend using mineral-based sunscreens, particularly those containing zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a proven UVA and UVB-blocking agent that forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, effectively reflecting and dispersing the sun’s harmful rays. By adding an extra layer of defense, these sunscreens provide reliable and long-lasting protection against skin damage and premature aging caused by sun exposure. 

This ingredient has been safely and effectively used in diaper rash creams for a considerable period of time, making it a trusted choice for parents. Its additional benefits extend beyond its non-toxic nature, as it is also eco-friendly, reef-safe, and particularly suitable for individuals with sensitive skin, providing them with the utmost care and protection.


Smart Sun Habits 


When purchasing sunscreen, it’s important to thoroughly review all the active ingredients, even if the product is labeled as a mineral sunscreen. While mineral sunscreens are generally considered safe and effective, understanding the specific ingredients can help ensure that the sunscreen suits your individual needs and preferences.


Furthermore, it’s worth noting that relying solely on sunscreen is not enough to prevent sunburn and skin damage. Practicing smart sun habits is crucial for optimal protection. This includes not only applying sunscreen but also wearing sun-protective clothing, seeking shade whenever possible, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure during the peak hours of sunlight, typically between 12 and 4 PM. By adopting these additional measures, you can further safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.

With all of the choices out there and variables to consider, it can seem a little overwhelming. But with the right combination of sunscreen and sun exposure, you can protect your skin from harmful effects and still get the Vitamin D essential for life. Remember to practice smart sun habits: no sunburns, use protective clothing if possible, and reapply sunscreen at least every two hours or more often if you get wet or sweat heavily. Instead of letting the label determine what you purchase, arm yourself with knowledge so you can make sure that each sunscreen meets your needs. And if it all gets a bit too confusing, don’t worry! We are here to help guide you through this process. Explore a wealth of empowering and invigorating content on my website to deepen your understanding of the incredible world of natural medicine. Schedule a discovery call and let us do some research so you can get back outside with peace of mind knowing that you’re well-protected and still have fun in the sun!


If you have concerns about your health and hormonal issues, including worries about sun exposure, and would like assistance in finding answers, we would be delighted to arrange a free discovery call with you. During this call, we can delve into your symptoms more comprehensively and devise a personalized plan specifically for you.


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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.