Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Quest for Green Sunscreen part 1

I just touched down in Boston for a much needed vacation and dose of New England summer fun! While I'm super excited to catch up with friends and family, I'm equally jazzed to visit some of my favorite summer spots. Tomorrow we leave for Marblehead, MA to go sailing for the weekend, then we're heading up to Squam Lake in NH for some wake boarding, rest and relaxation at the lake house. We'll finish off the trip at a beautiful resort on the beach in Cape Cod with 30+ relatives to celebrate my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary. As you can see, we're planning on being on and in the water the entire trip, so a safe sunscreen is a must.

I have spent the past month researching and decoding labels on the quest to find the best green option for sun protection and skin safety. This is confusing territory to navigate through for many reasons. These chemicals can be listed under different names or trade names. I'll start by sharing what you don't want in your sunscreen and follow up with posts on recommendations and reviews once I can give selected products a solid test run... now I just need the sun to start shining!

Let's start with what to AVOID in sunscreen and why:
I've talked about these a lot in The Grapeseed Co. newsletters over the past year. Check out this post for more info
may cause liver and kidney damage and fertility issues
this ingredient is better known by it's trade names: Eusolex and Parsol it has been linked to cancer, fertility and allergy issues and it chemically breaks down when exposed to sunlight
the British Medical Journal has found possible links between this ingredient and higher risks of skin cancer
Cotyl-Methoxy-Cinnamates (OMC), Homosalate (HMS), Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
known to cause allergic reactions and even photosensitivity (why would these ingredients even be in a sunscreen? good question!)
Octyl-Dimethyl-Para-Amino-Benzoic Acid (OD-PABA)
causes phototoxicity and sensitisation and does not block UVA rays (the bad ones that cause skin cancer)

As I always say with any skin or personal care product, READ YOUR LABELS. Remember, your skin is the largest organ in your body. What you put on your skin is absorbed into your system. Think about how nicotine patches work when people are trying to quit smoking. They apply the patch to their skin, and nicotine is absorbed through the skin to prevent cravings. Lotions and other topical personal care products that stay on the skin can also be absorbed into your body.

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