An Ottawa mom recently asked if I could write a blog on natural vs chemical sunblocks, with a focus on children. I was happy to oblige. However, as I compile research findings, I am aware that she may be getting more than she bargained for from her natural Skin Care Consultant.
We have all been informed of the damaging effects of ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun; of the dangers of over-exposure to prevent pre-mature aging of the skin and skin cancer; and thus, of the importance of using appropriate sunblocks, especially for children and those with fair skin. This raises the question: What is an “appropriate” sunblock? But an other question as relevant: Is the sun really the culprit?
First, here are the main risk factors for skin cancer:
Risk factors ranked by importance
– Personal or family history of melanoma.
– Presence of moles–especially if there are many, or if they are unusual or large.
– Sun sensitivity–sun burning easily, or difficulty tanning.
– Light colored skin, eyes, and hair.
– History of excessive sun exposure.
– Diseases that suppress the immune system.
– Occupational exposure to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium.
I personally want to add a few factors to this list:
– All the carcinogens and other chemicals included—-though often not listed on containers–in laundry detergents, hygiene and skin care products, including shampoos (1) and… commercial sunblocks. These may individually contain minimal doses but they accumulate significantly in the cells of our body over time.
– Lack of zinc in your diet, eg. pumpkin seed and its butter
– Lack of awareness of what goes in our body
– Lack of awareness that the sun is our main source of consciousness, inspiration and love, and that we need to respect it. Meditating on the the sun will help confirm this.
What is an “appropriate” sunblock?
Sunblocks in Canada
Oddly enough, because sunblocks and sunscreens are considered as a medication, no law forces manufacturers to list all the ingredients contained in their formulas (meaning that prescribed medication also can include detrimental ingredients!). That’s why manufacturers list only the active (pure?) ingredients. Therefore, consider only products that list both active and inactive to make an informed decision.
Ingredients in brand name sunblocks?
Larege commercial name brands (who all use chemicals) take advantage of trends in their advertising. These days, the focus on the terms “natural” and “green” is everywhere. Their products may indeed contain argan oil, vitamin E, lavender essential oil and other natural ingredients. The problem is that they also use chemicals that are radically detrimental to health in their formulas. In sunblocks, they use:
– octocrylne: a known allergenic ingredient
– oxybenzone (BP-3 or BZ-3): photocarcinogen and hormonal disruptor
– octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC): causes hormonal damages to human DNA cells
– benzophenones (BP-1, BP-2, BP-3 ou BZ-3, Escalol 567, Uvinul M40, Uvasorb Met): hormonal disruptor, toxic for the endocryn and sensory systems (smell, sight, touch, hearing and taste).
– 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC): endocryn disruptor.
– 3-benzyliden camphor (3-BC): endocryn disruptor (fertility).
– PABA (most products no longer have it, but exceptions still exist).
Are those the sunblocking ingredients? Or the natural ones being used? There is no proof either way. However, we can ask: What happens when hormones are disrupted? Answer: All the major bodily functions, from appetite and digestion to sleep, moods, and stress, reproduction, and the nervous system are thrown out of balance. This can lead to life-threatening situations.
Also avoid “perfumes” or “fragrances” that are complex soups of unlisted chemicals, including phthalates. What is a phthalate? Used as plasticizers, these chemicals are described as public ennemy No. 1. Researchers have linked them to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioural issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues. They’re also detrimental to the environment
About zinc oxyde and titanium dioxyde
Zinc is one of the basic elements on the table of elements; it is found in nature but needs to be separated from other matters and purified in a laboratory to be useful. According to pharmacist Jean-Yves Dionne, zinc oxyde and titanium dioxyde offer sun protection because they reflect UVA and UVB rays. On the contrary, chemical filters absorb the rays. That being said, Roger Leblanc, a chemist from Quebec in Miami stated that commercial sunblock manufacturers have started reducing titanium dioxyde molecules to nonaparticles. These, unfortunately penetrate the blood, with devastating results.
Ingredients in really “natural” sunblocks
You will find really natural sunblocks in health food stores, although keep reading the labels as you may spot ingredients your body doesn’t agree with. Here are those you want to see on the labels, preferably organic:
– aloe vera gel
– sesame oil
– pumpkin seed oil
– sunflower oil
– yellow or white yarrow, sandalwood, chamomile, lavender and calendula (essential oils and or/macerations)
– zinc oxyde powder
These ingredients not only protect from the sun but also help the regeneration of skin cells, without side effects.
As you probably suspected, these are ingredients found in the Face to Grace sunblock, with no chemicals added. You may wish to contact me to learn how to make your own.
Is the sun really the culprit?
About the sun and its rays
The sun has countless rays that play various roles. A small proportion is visible; the others such a infra-red, ultra-violet, X-rays, gamma rays, sound waves (10,000 frequencies) radio waves and cosmic rays are not. Science tells us that:
– the UVB ray is very biologically active but cannot penetrate beyond the superficial skin layers. It is responsible delayed tanning and burning and significantly promotes the development of skin cancer.
– the UVA ray penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin and is responsible for the immediate tanning effect, skin aging and wrinkling.
There is no doubt that over-exposure to the sun will cause damage, but excess in any area of your life will do that. The sun is no exception. Equally, not getting enough sun means not enough vitamin D, which leads to depression, life threatening cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and cancer. Blocking all its rays is just as damaging. We rely on the sun for light and warmth to sustain life, to help us see and understand the world around and within us. More importantly, it is a form of consciousness that is essential to our inner-self awareness and enlightenment. It conveys information that helps us align with the natural cycles of Earth and the cosmos to thrive. No wonder indigenous folks have been worshipping it and presenting offerings to the Sun God since the dawn of humanity.
But first, let’s review the risk factors and statistics to see if the sun is the real culprit for skin cancer. You will notice that many of them are not so much about the sun itself but about how we behave under the sun, about radiation and risk factors that compound the risks associated with over-exposure to them.
Statistics: Gender, age, skin type, profession and more
Canadians born in the 1990’s have two to three times higher lifetime risk of getting skin cancer compared to those born in the 1960’s. Interestingly, the 1960s marked the world-wide and unprecedented boom in the development and use of chemicals (pesticides, fongicides, herbicides, various isolated types of radiations including nuclear power, the hydrogen bomb, and now chemtrails. To say nothing of the destruction of the ozone layer.
* Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in Canadians; also the most common in the world. However, except for melanoma, it is one of the least lethal forms of cancer as cures exist. (2)
* Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers. (3)
3. Over-exposure early in life (childhood and adolescence) particularly increases risk of melanoma. (4)
* Children are considerably more sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation than adults and, having a longer life expectancy, are more at risk to radiation damage over time. (5)
* Childhood exposure to radiation (X-rays and gamma rays) for treatment of benign diseases have demonstrated increased cancer risks with increasing radiation doses. (6)
* Males are more likely to develop skin cancer than females, 1.8% in men and 1.1 in women of all cancers (2016). (7)
* Those with: fair skin and blond or red hair; skin that burns and freckles easily rather than tans; a lot of sun exposure through outdoor work or recreation; many moles (> 50) or some large and unusual moles; a history of severe sunburns are particularly at risk for skin cancer because of their skin type and amount of sun exposure. (8)
* Pilots and aircrew suffer from significantly higher rates of skin cancer than other professions due to the sun’s cosmic rays. (9)
* Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma. (10)
* UV rays are a potential workplace hazard mostly for outdoor workers, who may have very large but not usually intermittent doses, but also for welders, and others who work with specialized lights that emit UV rays. (11)
* Sun protection was used by 95% of Australians outdoors workers exposed to solar radiation, only 8.7% of workers were classified as fully protected (used hat, sunscreen, clothing and shade for more than half the outdoor working time), while 94.9% used at least one form of sun protection, with protective clothing (80.4%) and hats (72.2%) most common. (12)
* There are 75% more chances of melanoma among those who use tanning beds before age 30.(13)
1. There is no doubt that the rays of the sun are incredibly powerful and that, as such, we must treat them and our body with understanding and respect. Learn about both.
2. We can’t just blame the sun for skin cancer. Our behaviours, consumer habits and lifestyles over the past 50 years have seriously contributed to an alarming increase in the incidence of skin cancer. Let’s take responsibility for healthier ones.
3. Women, especially younger women and moms, need to re-align their concepts of beauty to mean long-term health as long-term beauty. You are the trend setters in your family; your behaviour is what your children copy, not what you tell them.
4. Question what is in your hygiene, beauty products, medication and detergents. Abandon those that are detrimental to your health.
5. Cell phones and computers emit powerful radio waves. Be aware of the frequency and length of your usage and that of your children. Their thermal and low-energy non-ionizing radiation can have a myriad of negative effects on the body:
a) skin burns and rashes
b) DNA fragmentation (irreversible changes to the genetic code)
c) fertility issues in men and women
d) other serious health conditions. (14)
6. Men need to become more self-aware and expand their belief systems and behaviours about caring for their body.
7. Opt for the simple, unanimously acclaimed solutions:
a) wearing long sleeves and pants, as well as a hat and gear appropriate to your workplace when anticipating long-
b) alternating sun time and shade time.
c) “for zones that cannot be covered, use an appropriate sunblock appropriately. “And use common sense is needed, says, dermatologist Ari Demirjian. Even the best sunscreen is inefficient to protect you for many hours under the sun.”
8. Chemical sunblocks try to bloc access to the information you need to align with the forces of nature. However, the Solar’s divine aspect is stronger than any man-made chemistry. As soon as you start searching for the Truth within you, at your own pace, you are protected. That doesn’t mean not to apply sunscreen but that each cell of your body can start reflecting your onw light back to the sun. And that is the real chemistry of healing.
(1) See blogs:
– Making your own shampoo: a healthy, inexpensive and fun choice (1) Oct. 15, 2010 and (2) Jan. 10, 2011
(2) World Health Organization
(3) Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. American Cancer Society.
(4) Armstrong BK, 1997
(5) Kleinerman RA. Pediatr Radiol. 2006 Sep.;36 Suppl. 2:121-5.
(6) Pediatric Radiology, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2663653/
(7) Men are more inclined to ignore matters of dermatological health or skin care or, as New York City dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz phrased it: “Guys don’t like applying schmear anywhere, but particularly to their face. ”http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/why-are-men-more-likely-to-get-skin-cancer.html
(8) Canadian Dermatology Association, http://dermatology.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/2009-skin-cancer-statsEN.pdf
(9) Office for National Statistics (ONS) in The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/oct/29/skin-cancer-aircrew-pilots
(10) Lindelof B, Sigurgeirsson B, Gabel H, Stern RS. Incidence of skin cancer in 5356 patients following organ transplantation. Br J Dermatol 2000; 143(3):513-9.
(11) Cancer Care Ontario
(12) Cancer Council: http://wiki.cancer.org.au/skincancerstats/Settings:_Workplace#cite_note-Citation:Carey_RN.2C_Glass_DC.2C_Peters_S.2C_Reid_A.2C_Benke_G.2C_Driscoll_TR.2C_et_al_2014-6
(13) US Skin Care Foundation, http://www.skincancer.org/contact-us