You may be one of those people for whom summer is far too short.
Many regions in the continental U.S. offer only a few short months to enjoy the great outdoors. If that includes where you live, you probably look forward to your time in the sun after spending months stuck inside.
However, in your zeal to live summer days to their fullest, it's easy to overdo your sun exposure, especially when your skin isn't used to the sun.
Following sensible sun exposure guidelines and using sunscreen wisely can help you prevent your skin from burning.
While proponents of sunscreen urge you to apply it every single day, I don’t agree. I believe the regular use of sunscreen has contributed to a widespread vitamin D deficiency.
There is little scientific evidence to justify completely avoiding the sun or lathering up with sunscreen whenever you walk outdoors.
You need sensible sun exposure for your body to produce vitamin D for your overall health and well-being.
Long-term, excessive exposure to sunlight and repeated burning of your skin may increase your risk of certain types of skin cancer. However, there's a good deal of evidence that moderate, sensible sun exposure without sunburn is beneficial. Safe sun exposure is key.
When you do use sunscreen, as you‘ll soon see, the type you pick makes all the difference...
What You Need to Know About UVA and UVB Rays
Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two main wavelengths – UVA and UVB. It's important to understand the difference between them and your risk factors from each.
Consider UVB the "good guy" – it’s the wavelength that helps your skin produce vitamin D. However, if you’re going out in the sun to catch UVB rays, you simply can't avoid UVA.
UVA is considered the "bad guy" because it penetrates your skin more deeply and can cause more free radical damage. Not only that… UVA rays are quite constant during all daylight hours throughout the entire year.
By comparison, UVB waves are low in the morning and evening and high at mid-day. Plus, they’re sparse during much of the year in the Northern hemisphere.
So, if you're out early in the morning or late in the day, you get lots of UVA (bad guy) and not much UVB (good guy). This is not the ideal way to help your body produce vitamin D.
What's more, if you’ve ever gotten a scorching sunburn on a cloudy day, you’ve learned first-hand how UVA rays work.
While you might have thought you didn't need to protect yourself but wound up with a serious burn, you’ve seen how UVA rays can break through cloud cover and pollution and do some real damage to your skin.
Sunlight is the best way to get your vitamin D. As soon as the sun's ultraviolet rays strike your skin, your body starts producing its own natural vitamin D.
Better yet, your body produces the most active form of vitamin D – calciferol, also known as vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the precise form your body needs. And with sunlight, your body produces the right amount of vitamin D with no risk of overdose.
Beware of the Most Highly Rated Sunscreens – They May Be the Worst for Your Health
As much as I prefer you steer clear of sunscreens because they interfere with natural vitamin D production, there are exceptions...
- You must be in the sun for a longer time than what may be considered safe.
- You must go into intense sunlight without having the opportunity to gradually build up your resistance.
- You're in a situation where blocking the sun with protective clothing or sunshades is impractical or impossible.
These are times when you definitely want to use a sunscreen to help guard against sunburn, but don't just slap on any of the standard commercial brands found on store shelves.
In fact, you may want to avoid the highest rated brands altogether.
Consumer Reports’ annual report on Best Sunscreens for 2019 paints a scathing picture of today’s popular sunscreens.
All of their recommended sunscreens contain at least one potentially hazardous ingredient that I’ll tell you about shortly.
You’ll want to pay special attention to what I’m about to share with you, especially if you’re a parent, grandparent or care for young children...
When you lather up your son, daughter, grandchild or any child in your care with sunscreen, undoubtedly you think you're doing the right thing. However, when you choose one of Consumer Reports’ top-rated sunscreens, you could be doing more harm than good.
Exposing the Sunscreen Smokescreen: What You Need to Know About Today’s Top-Rated Sunscreens
The active ingredients in sunscreens function as either mineral or chemical filters to protect your skin from harmful UVA rays. Most use chemical filters.
These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
Note that these ingredients were ‘grandfathered’ in during the 1970s without any safety reviews.
A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that three of these commonly used active ingredients plus one other in sunscreen are absorbed into your blood at levels that could potentially pose health risks. This red-flag list includes:
Participants in the study applied commercially available sunscreen to more than 75% of their body using either one of two sprays, lotion or cream.
Blood samples collected over the seven days of application revealed concentrations greater than the so-called “safe level” were reached for all four chemicals with all four products. It didn’t matter if participants used a cream, lotion or spray.
Plus, all four chemicals entered the participants’ bloodstreams after a single day of application and stayed in their system for at least 24 hours after the last use.
So what happens if you follow popular advice and use them every day?
Years ago the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 96.8% of 2,517 urine samples they collected for another study had detectable levels of oxybenzone. Its prevalence is likely much greater today because it is added to many more products.
Oxybenzone: The Worst of the Worst and Found in Every Top-Rated Sunscreen
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently reviewed the existing data for nine of the most commonly used sunscreen chemicals. Oxybenzone stood out as the one that troubled them the most...
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now advises parents to avoid using any sunscreen with oxybenzone on children.
Research shows this chemical has been linked to:
- Allergies, hormone disruption and cell damage.
- Low birth weight in baby girls born to mothers exposed to the chemical during pregnancy.
- “Significantly lower” testosterone levels in adolescent boys.
- Endometriosis, shorter pregnancies and lower male birth weights in women.
- Being lethal to certain sea creatures and poses a serious threat to coral reefs and sea life.
Even worse, oxybenzone acts as a penetration enhancing chemical, which means it helps other chemicals penetrate your skin. So when it’s combined with other potentially hazardous chemicals, all the negative effects may be enhanced.
Remember the Consumer’s Report 2019 Sunscreen report I talked about earlier?
All of their recommended lotions and sprays contain oxybenzone. And some also contain parabens and artificial fragrances – all of which are linked to disrupted endocrine function!
Oxybenzone Isn’t Unique... Many Sunscreen Ingredients Have Endocrine Disrupting and Brain Toxicity Effects
Recent Danish research has discovered that 13 out of 29 sunscreen chemicals allowed in the U.S. or European Union poses a risk to male fertility. They reduce male fertility in part by their effects on hormone health.
Of those 13 chemicals, the following eight are approved for use in the U.S.:
- Octisalate (or octyl salicylate)
- Octinoxate (or octylmethoxycinnamate)
- Oxybenzone (or benzophenenone-3)
- Padimate O
Could this be one reason why unexplained infertility has become so common?
Then there’s the consideration about how popular sunscreens may affect your brain health...
Another recent study warns that certain sunscreen ingredients – including oxybenzone – are toxic to your brain. The other four toxic chemicals include octocrylene, 3-bensylidene camphor, 4-methylbenzxlidene camphor and octyl methoxycinnamate.
In rat studies, these neurotoxic ingredients decreased motor activity, impaired nerve and brain cell development, and interfered with the expression of genes related to brain development and brain metabolism.
Clearly, these chemicals can cross your blood-brain barrier, so the risk to you for brain and nerve toxicity is very real.
Do you really want to lather these popular sunscreens onto your body? Better yet, how can you avoid them while still receiving effective sun protection?
Instead of using potentially harmful chemicals, mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A few products, however, do combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.
The Mineral Sunscreen That’s Safe for You… and Our Fragile Underwater Ecosystems
If there's still any doubt in your mind that you should toss out sunscreen products containing the ingredients we just talked about, consider this…
National Geographic recently came out with a startling discovery: Along with global warming, sunscreen chemicals are killing coral reefs around the world.
Essential to the health and well-being of coral, algae living inside coral reefs provide coral with its food energy and contribute to its vibrant color. Without these algae, coral turns white – or "bleaches" – and dies.
Certain ingredients in popular sunscreens, including oxybenzo ne, octocrylene, octinoxate, parabens, PABA, and nanoparticles and microplastic beads are suspected of either awakening dormant viruses in these essential algae or contributing to their die-off.
Tragically, these sunscreen chemical-driven viruses replicate until the algae explode, spreading viruses into surrounding coral communities. The resulting bleaching – and death – of the coral can happen in as little as four days.
And all it takes is a very small amount of chemical sunscreen to set off this underwater viral epidemic.
Fortunately, there's a much better option than chemical-laden commercial sunscreens… for you and the environment.
Now You Can Get Powerful Protection Against Damaging UV Rays Without Exposing Yourself to Oxybenzone, Nanoparticles, Parabens and Other Harsh Chemicals
Our line of sunscreen products offers you a choice in protection along with a powerful protective shield to reflect UV rays away from your skin.
Depending on your needs and your personal skin type, you can select either lighter protection or our maximum broad-spectrum protection against powerful UVB and UVA rays. Our three core sunscreen products include:
- SPF 15 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen contains 9.5% zinc oxide and is water resistant for 40 minutes.
- SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen provides just the right amount of coverage for most activities with 20% zinc oxide. Plus, it’s water resistant for 40 minutes.
- SPF 50 Sunscreen with 22.5% zinc oxide and 6% titanium oxide, providing a very concentrated lotion for the highest UV protection.
With all three, you get a silky smooth, creamy formula with antioxidants that include ingredients like astaxanthin, green tea, pomegranate extracts and raspberry seed oil.
We’ve carefully formulated our products to not only help protect your skin from potentially harmful rays but also to nourish and moisturize your skin. Best of all, none of the ingredients are harmful to you, your family or the environment.
Our entire line of sunscreen and tanning products share these outstanding features:
- NO harsh chemical ingredients
- NO parabens or artificial fragrances
- NO nanoparticles
- NO mineral oil
- Non-comedogenic (doesn’t irritate or clog pores)
- Safe for kids
- NO animal testing or cruelty
Many sunscreens protect against only UVB and don’t offer protection against UVA. Our line of sunscreens protects against both types of rays.
Effective Sunscreen Protection – Now Two out of Three Without Titanium Dioxide!
In response to your requests, we have removed titanium dioxide from our sunscreen products (except Sunscreen SPF 50). Now, most of our sunscreens contain only zinc oxide for active UVA and UVB ray protection.
Zinc oxide is a mineral that’s found in the earth’s crust. For our sunscreen products, we use a form that’s derived from natural sources.
For the last 75 years, zinc oxide has been used all over the world as a safe ingredient to help prevent excessive sun exposure.
Unlike some chemical sunscreens that may absorb ultraviolet light, zinc oxide helps reflect and scatter away both UVA and UVB rays from your body.
We accomplish this by using a larger particle size, so our zinc oxide doesn’t contain any nanoparticles. We’ve taken this important precaution because we don’t yet know the full effects of nanoparticles on the human body.
However, there’s no question nanoparticles are harmful to the environment.
Although you may notice a small amount of visible white on your skin when applied heavily, our zinc oxide sunscreen applies smoothly onto your skin, unlike the old pasty zinc creams that many of us may remember lifeguards wearing decades ago.
A Dozen Other Beneficial Ingredients You’ll Find in Our Sunscreen Products
You’ll find a long list of other ingredients in our sunscreen products that won’t put your well-being at risk...
Astaxanthin is one of nature's most powerful antioxidants that supports skin health.
- Sunflower Oil and Wax:
Sunflower oil is a vitamin-rich, soothing moisturizer that’s used to moisturize dry, weathered and aged skin. Sunflower wax helps make sunscreen water-resistant without the use of petroleum products.
Lecithin is found in the membranes of plant cells and is used as an emollient and water-binding agent.
- Coconut oil:
Coconut oil has been used by islanders for hundreds of years to gently moisturize skin.
Used as an emollient, glycerin moisturizes your skin.
- Jojoba oil:
Jojoba oil is a non-fragrant natural emollient that has moisturizing and skin-conditioning properties.
- Tocopherol (vitamin E):
Tocopherol acts as a natural preservative.
- Shea butter:
Shea butter is a natural plant lipid used as a thickener and emulsifier. It also has effective moisturizing properties.
- Eucalyptus oil:
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil. When mixed with other oils, it can be absorbed by your skin. Best of all, it may assist the absorption of other oils which can support the moisturizing process.
- Aloe vera gel:
Aloe contains more than 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids to support skin health and hydration.
- Pomegranate extract:
Pomegranate contains vitamins and antioxidants, and contains three types of polyphenols – tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid – to help fight free radicals and support cell health.
- Raspberry seed oil:
This luxurious seed oil provides moisturizing and antioxidant benefits for your skin.
Bottom line, the exclusive blend of non-active ingredients in our sunscreens results in a pleasant-smelling sunscreen lotion with no chemical fragrances or dangerous artificial chemicals – a far cry from regular chemical sunscreens.
You can feel great about putting it on your skin and your kids' skin, too.
Want to Bask in the Sun Without Sunscreen? (We've Got You Covered!)
There may be times when you wish to forego sunscreen and focus on developing a deep, golden tan, along with maximizing your vitamin D benefits.
Of course you always want to follow the safe tanning rules I discussed earlier to avoid sunburn and excessive sun exposure, especially if you have a fair complexion.
But when you're ready to promote a deep, dark tan, Dr. Mercola Tanning Oil is a blend of nine ingredients to help nourish and moisturize your skin while protecting against the drying effects of the sun.
Our Tanning Oil is the original "Secret of Acapulco" formula that was discovered decades ago when it was sold by natives on the beach.
Easy to use with its fine-mist sprayer, our Tanning Oil doubles as a daily moisturizer to give your skin a wondrous glow.
If when the sun sets and you’ve discovered you’ve had too much fun in the sun, reach for our Aloe Vera. This 100% pure aloe vera gel contains cucumber and green tea extracts to soothe and moisturize your skin.
Like our Tanning Oil, Aloe Vera is also ideal as a daily moisturizer – plus, it makes a great hair-styling and shaving gel!
Our After Sun Moisturizing Cream is a blend of ingredients which rejuvenates dry skin. We’ve specially formulated it for use after the sun or after bathing. You’ll love the feel of this silky, creamy formula on your sun-bathed skin.
Stock up Today on the Sunscreens and After Sun Formulas You Can Trust for You and Your Loved Ones
It’s time to get prepared now... Be sure you’re well-stocked for all your summer outdoor adventures with Dr. Mercola Sunscreen, Aloe Vera and After Sun Moisturizing Cream.
Dr. Mercola’s SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 50 Sunscreens can help protect you and your loved ones against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, while helping to achieve a beautiful, glowing and healthy tan without the sun's harsh drying effects on your skin.
Many sunscreens protect against only UVB and offer no protection against UVA. Our Sunscreens cover them both.
When you choose our products without harsh and potentially harmful chemicals, you know you’re making the right choices for your health and well-being. Plus, you’re doing the environment a tremendous favor as well.
You don’t need to use questionable chemical sunscreens now that you know effective alternatives exist.
Mix and match to create your own perfect combo to suit your family’s needs, or save by ordering our special kits below.
Order your Dr. Mercola Sunscreen, Tanning Oil, Aloe Vera and After Sun Moisturizing Cream today for your own peace of mind, and start enjoying the carefree – and comfortable – days of summer.