Did you know that we can be exposed to chemicals that have the potential to negatively affect our endocrine balance on a daily basis? My response to this? With research and education, we can all make choices that will reduce the frequency of our exposure to chemicals used in everyday life like household cleaning products, cosmetics, skincare, and pesticides. But because summer is (finally!) here, let’s take a moment to talk about sunscreens…
We can all probably agree that excessive sun exposure without sunscreen raises our risk for skin cancer. In fact, rates of melanoma have tripled in the past 35 years. Despite this alarming statistic, we do need to consider the health risks affiliated with the chemicals in our sunscreen products.
Chemicals To Look Out For
It’s important to check your sunscreen bottles and sprays for oxybenzone. This chemical is responsible for damaging coral reefs and is considered a hormonal disruptor as it negatively affects hormone levels in developing wildlife, fish, and humans. Studies also suggest an association between oxybenzone and reduced testosterone and male fertility, increased pain associated with endometriosis, and a presence in breast milk.
Another chemical to be on the lookout for is retinyl palmitate, otherwise known as vitamin A. This chemical is an antioxidant known to reduce skin aging, but has been shown to increase the risk for skin cancer under sunlight. The Environmental Working Group recommends that consumers avoid skin and lip products with all forms of vitamin A.
Stay Healthy In The Sun This Summer
Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).
Look for sunscreens with safer ingredients such as avobenzone and zinc oxide.
Purchase sunsreens that offer broad-spectrum protection, are water resistant, and SPF 50 or less, depending on your needs.
Avoid spray sunscreen due to increased risk of inhaling this product.
Avoid mid-day strong sun radiation.
Wear quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation.
Cover up with a hat and intermittent shirts, long skirts, and pants.
Move into the shade from time to time.
Tanning Beds: A Safer Alternative To Get That Gorgeous Glow?
Using indoor tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59%; and the risk increases with each use.
Women younger than the age of 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.
Even one indoor tanning session can increase the users’ risk of developing melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%.
Have Fun in the Sun!
Everyone at RMACT wishes you a wonderful summer full of plenty of fun in the sun - just remember to do so safely!
If you’re looking for more information and a list of safer sunscreens, we invite you to visit: ewg.org/sunscreen or if you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Carolyn, contact your patient navigator.
Carolyn Gundell, M.S., leads RMACT’s Fertility Nutrition Program, a service available to all patients. Carolyn has a great passion for nutrition and its link to fertility, which she shares with her patients to empower them with food and lifestyle behaviors that optimize their health for conception, successful fertility treatment, and healthy pregnancy.