Here in South Florida, spring break is in full swing.
Temperatures are in the mid-to-high-80s, and tourists are flocking to our beautiful, sunny beaches.
Of course, that also means it’s prime time for sunscreen companies to kick up their marketing efforts in an attempt to whip up more fear over the sun.
They want to scare you into thinking that each time the sun strikes your unprotected skin, you risk malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’ve been vocal about Big Retail’s money grab and how they put out misinformation because they profit each time you slather on their toxic sunscreens.
But here’s what they’re not telling you…
Two-thirds of all sunscreens on the market wouldn’t even pass the safety tests proposed by the FDA.1
According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit organization found that more than 60% of the products evaluated either didn’t offer adequate sun protection or they contained potentially harmful chemicals.
And worse yet, these harmful chemicals that you apply topically are being absorbed into your blood.
A recent clinical trial funded by the FDA and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms this.
Researchers studied the effects of the active ingredients in four popular sunscreens applied topically and found that the chemicals were absorbed into the bloodstream. And at higher concentrations than an established FDA threshold.
Yet the FDA continues to tell us that sunscreen is safe, despite the toxic chemicals.
Sunscreen delivers chemicals and known carcinogens onto your skin and into your bloodstream — chemicals that are banned in other countries.
One of the main chemicals used in sunscreens to filter out UVB light is octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC). This toxic compound can be found in the vast majority of sunscreens on the market, even though studies found it can kill mouse cells — even at extremely low doses.
Other harmful chemicals include benzophenone and avobenzone.
These attack the cells in your body, causing premature aging. They are also estrogen mimics that can create hormonal imbalances, cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, and are known to promote the onset of breast cancer.2
Additional chemicals commonly found in sunscreen that you should avoid include:
- Parabens. A well-known endocrine disruptor, parabens mimic estrogen, upset hormonal balance, and cause reproductive cancers in men and women.
- PABA (may be listed as octyl-dimethyl or padimate-O). Para-aminobenzoic acid attacks DNA and causes genetic mutation when exposed to sunlight.
- Mineral oil, paraffin, and petrolatum. These agents coat your skin like plastic. This clogs pores, traps toxins, slows skin cell growth, and disrupts normal hormone function. They’re also possible carcinogens.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Sometimes listed as “from coconut” or “coconut-derived,” when combined with other chemicals, it becomes nitrosamine, a powerful cancer-causing agent. SLS penetrates your skin’s moisture barrier, allowing other dangerous chemicals to enter your bloodstream.
- Phenol carbolic acid. Animal studies show this is toxic at even low doses. It can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and death from respiratory failure.
- Acrylamide. Animal studies show it can cause breast cancer, testicular cancer, and reduce sperm count.
- Propylene glycol. A major component of antifreeze, this common skincare additive, can lead to dermatitis, as well as kidney and liver abnormalities.
- PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohol. These are potent carcinogens containing dioxane. Short-term exposure to this forever chemical causes eye, nose, and throat irritation, while long-term exposure to leads to kidney and liver damage, as well as cancer.
How to build a safe sun barrier using 2 natural ingredients
I recommend natural compounds that allow you to have fun in the sun without burning. If you’re planning a summer beach vacation, now is the time to start supplementing!
- Take tocotrienols, your sun-protection powerhouse: Vitamin E is actually eight vitamins in one — four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Research shows that tocotrienols are the real powerhouse.Studies reveal consuming tocotrienols halts sun damage that may have been triggered during the day and reduce the likelihood of any skin cancer cells forming.3 One study found that the more tocotrienols you have in your diet, the more it accumulates in your skin. That means you’re constantly building up your own personal natural sunscreen.4
Most people can’t get enough tocotrienols in their diet, so I recommend supplementing with 50 mg of tocotrienols twice a day. Like all fat-soluble vitamins, take them with a meal.
And make sure you get supplements that contain natural vitamin E — not its synthetic form. Vitamin E in the form of all-rac-alpha-tocopherol-acetate or dl-alpha tocopherol should be avoided. There are serious questions about their safety.
- Get sunburn protection with SOD. Superoxide dismutase, or SOD, is your body’s master antioxidant. It works by neutralizing dangerous superoxide radicals in your body called “anions.” Ultraviolet rays from the sun can create these anions.Most antioxidants can’t help. But SOD has 3,500 times the antioxidant power of vitamin C. It triggers the conversion of these superoxide radicals into hydrogen peroxide, a less harmful oxygen-based free radical.5 In other words, they become harmless oxygen and water. SOD then remains “on site” to extinguish the fiery rampage of inflammation that follows.
In one study, 15 people who were hypersensitive to the sun took SOD. They all reported a higher tolerance to the sun. They also had fewer tendencies to redden or have skin irritation from the sun.6
Another study showed that SOD allowed fair-skinned people to get eight times more sun before burning.7
I recommend supplementing with 500 mg superoxide dismutase formula.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. LaMotte S. “Majority of sunscreens would flunk proposed FDA safety tests, report to say.” CNN. May 15, 2019. Available at: https://edition.cnn. com/2019/05/15/health/sunscreen-fda-safety-standards-study/index.html. Accessed on March 25, 2023.
2. Hanson K, et al. “Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin.” Free Radic Biol Med. 2006;41(8):1205-1212.
3. Yamada Y, et al. “Dietary tocotrienol reduces UVB-induced skin damage and sesamin enhances tocotrienol effects in hairless mice.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008;54(2):117-123.
4. Ghazali N, et al. “Effects of tocotrienol on aging skin: A systematic review.” Front Pharmacol. 2022; 13: 1006198.
5. Faraci F, Didion S. “Vascular protection: superoxide dismutase isoforms in the vessel wall.” Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004;24(8):1367-1373.
6. Laverdet C. “Glisodin sun study pilot.” Attachee de Consultation des Hopitaux de, Paris. July-September 2003.
7. Mac-Mary M, et al. “Evaluation of the effect of glisodin on the intensity of actinic erythema.” Presented at the CARD (Annual Congress of Dermatological Research) meeting in Brest, France. Accessed on March 25, 2023.