Sun, Sunscreen and Your Skin - the Low Down

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their annual guide to sunscreens,1 and this year's data again shows that you must be very cautious when choosing sunscreen to apply to your skin.


1. Oxybenzone This is one of the most troublesome ingredients found in the majority of sunscreens.Oxybenzone is believed to cause hormone disruptions and cell damage that may provoke cancer.

2. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate) Sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol, and retinyl palmitate.

3. Fragrance Beware of products that contain synthetic fragrance, as this term describes any number of harmful chemicals that do not have to be listed individually on the label.


  • Avoid Spray Sunscreens
  • Protects Against Both UVA and UVB Rays: SPF only protects against UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allow your body to produce vitamin D in your skin.  But the most dangerous rays are the UVA rays. Make sure your sunscreen protects against both.
  • Avoid Sunscreen Towelettes or Powders: Dubious protection
  • Avoid Spray Sunscreens: Contain toxic particles that can be inhaled

Does Your Sunscreen Offer UVA Protection?

Even a sunscreen that claims to be "broad spectrum" may not provide adequate UVA protection. As EWG reported:5

"After a 34-year process of reviewing sunscreen safety and efficacy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has implemented enforceable rules on sunscreen marketing and UVA protection. The FDA allows American sunscreen makers to claim their products are 'broad spectrum,' even though many offer much poorer UVA protection than sunscreens sold in other countries.

Based on the products in our 2014 database, EWG estimates that about half of all beach and sport sunscreens could not be sold in Europe because they provide inadequate UVA protection."

So, look for a sunscreen that contains the minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Use Sunscreen When Absolutely Necessary

If you work in the outdoors, are planning a trip outdoors, or if you need to protect sensitive areas of your face (like around your eyes), safe sunscreen is certainly recommended. But if you apply sunscreen every time you're out in the sun, you'll block your body's ability to produce vitamin D.

Optimizing your vitamin D levels may reduce your risk of as many as 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, and skin cancers.

Studies show melanoma mortality actually decreases after UV exposure. Moderate exposure to sunlight, particularly UVB, is protective against melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) due to the vitamin D your body produces.

>>  That being said, you NEVER want to BURN!

5 Top Sunshine Tips

Spend some time outdoors in the sun regularly, but do so with some commonsense precautions:

  • Expose your skin to sunlight for short periods daily
  • If you're in the sun for longer periods, cover up with clothing, a hat or shade
  • Shield your face from the sun daily using a safe sunscreen or a hat.
  • Consider the use of an "internal sunscreen" like astaxanthin to offer additional protection.
  • Consume a healthy diet full of natural antioxidants. Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn.

Thanks to Dr. Mercola for a comprehensive look at Sun, Sunscreens and Skin diseases.

Four for Your Household - Recommended and Safe Products

I thought I'd start recommending Safe, Earth-friendly products to complement our effort to keep toxins out of our home, our bodies and our environment.

We don't think about the ingredients in things like dish soap, and dishwasher or laundry detergent, but residues are left on our skin to be absorbed into our cells, or on the surface of our utensils and plates waiting to merge with the food we eat!

Cleaners are full of awful chemicals as you may well be aware, and using them unleashes those chemicals into the air you breathe and coats surfaces. When you think about it, it's obvious you want to avoid that.

The products below are available at -, or on Amazon. I prefer dealing with Vitacost directly.  They often have promotions and carry two Supplement brands I trust.

~ ~ ~ ~

Earth Friendly Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner -- 22 fl oz

Cleans with the power of parsley.  dEarth Friendly Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner Earth Friendly Products Parsley Plus All Surface Cleaner can be used on counter-tops, appliances, microwave ovens, floors, ceramic tile and any other surface not harmed by water.  Because natural ingredients are used, color and body may vary.

Ingredients: Purified water, biodegradable coconut based surfactant, and parsley essence.

Citrus Magic Instant Spot and Stain Remover -- 22 fl oz

• Eliminates Stains & Odors From Carpet, Upholstery Fabric • Works on Ink, Grass, Wine, Blood & More!

Great for eliminating old and deep-set stains & odors …. Even blood and wine!

Citrus Magic Instant Spot & Stain Remover is a superior stain remover, formulated and proven for use on carpet and upholstery made with today’s natural and synthetic fibers.  It’s great for use on pet bedding, clothing, tile, concrete and any other surface around your home where water is safe to use.

Ingredients: Water, natural builder for improved detergency, vegetable derived cleaners, natural and organic citrus oils, salt derived from fruit juice and oxygen cleaning agent.

Citrus Magic is safe in most washable surfaces. However, on carpets or painted surfaces, test small inconspicuous surface area initially.

Earth Friendly Floor Kleener -- 22 fl oz Non-polluting dEarth Friendly Floor Kleener

Earth Friendly Products Floor Kleener is specially developed for cleaning a variety of flooring.  Ideal for removing dirt, spots of grease and scuffs.  Can also be used for daily cleaning. •  Laminate and hardwood floor cleaner •  Neutral pH •  Naturally safe •  Non-stripping •  Great for many floor types •  Will not dull shine

Ingredients: Water, ethanol (derived from corn), coconut based surfactant, vinegar, and lemon essential oil.

Earth Friendly Ultra Dishmate Natural Lavender -- 25 fl oz 

dEarth Friendly Ultra Dishmate Natural Lavender Earth Friendly Products Dishmate's™ cleaning action gives pots, pans and other cooking utensils a bright luster.  Contains no phosphates, dyes or perfumes.  Because natural ingredients are used, color and body may vary.

Ingredients: Water, coconut oil derived surfactants, salt and lavender oil. *Does not contain SLS or cocamide DEA.

Protecting the Health of Women - Because We're Worth It!

From the Summer 2004 newsletter of the Women's Community Cancer Project

c/o the Women's Center, 46 Pleasant Sreet, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cosmetics, Parabens, and Breast Cancer by Rita Arditti

Early this year the media reported that English researchers identified parabens in samples of breast tumors. Parabens (alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid) are widely used as antimicrobial preservatives in thousands of cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceutical products, and food.

There are six commonly used forms (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, p-Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, n-Butylparaben and Benzylparaben) and it is estimated that they are used in at least13,200 cosmetics products.

According to the lead researcher of the recent study, Philippa Darbre, an oncology expert at the university of Reading, in Edinburgh, the chemical form of the parabens found in 18 of the 20 tumors testedindicated that they originated from something applied to the skin, the most likely candidates being deodorants, antiperspirants, creams, or body sprays.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, accounting for nearly one of every three cancers diagnosed in U.S. women.

A campaign seeking the removal of toxic chemicals from cosmetics has been recently launched by Women's Voices for the Earth, a women's environmental justice group from Montana (

As a result of their initiative, a coalition of environmental and public health groups has emerged, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (, working to pressure the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals that are known or suspected carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins.

In January 2003 the European Union banned the use of these chemicals. By September 2004, all cosmetics and personal care products sold in the member states of the European Union will have to be free of substances considered CMR I and CMR II (carcinogens, mutagens, or reproductive toxins).

Accordingly, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is asking the U.S. cosmetics companies to sign the "Compact for the Global Production of Safer Health and Beauty Care Products" committing themselves to comply with those principles in the products they sell in the U.S. and other non-European markets.

The slogan of the campaign, "Because We're Worth It!" sends a clear message to those who disregard women's health concerns in the pursuit of profit.

  1. Keep an eye on the campaign, have your organization join it, and monitor the follow-up that will ensue.
  2. Spread the word about cosmetics, parabens, and cancer.
  3. Go to the webpage of the Environmental Working Group, and read their report, Skin Deep, a safety assessment of the ingredients in personal care products.
  4. Visit the webpage of Breast Cancer Action,, and keep yourself informed of new developments regarding corporate interests and cosmetics.

We are part a national and international movement to clean up theearth and out bodies. Think of the power we could have if millions of women demanded safe products for themselves and their families!

Luckily, Breast Cancer Action (BCA) from San Francisco ( an organization that is at the forefront of the movement developing critical analysis and recognition of the politics of breast cancer, has done a lot of work on cosmetics and breast cancer.

Their project "Think Before You Pink,", raises excellent questions regarding the cosmetics industry, breast cancer, and their obsession with pink paraphernalia.

BCA points out that a huge number of personal care products contain ingredients that may raise the risk of breast cancer but that the companies that produce them, nevertheless present themselves as committed to the eradication of breast cancer. They do so by running "cause-related marketing campaigns," exploited the good will of customers but making pitiful contributions to breast cancer research. (See the NY Times ad "Philanthropy or Hypocrisy," October 24, 2003 on the BCA webpage).

Paraben-free cosmetics from

Aubrey Organics Skin, Body & Hair Care Products Caribbean Pacifics Suncare Products Dr. Hauschka Earths Beauty Cosmetics Honeybee Gardens Kettle Care herbal Body Products Living Nature Products Logona Cosmetics Martina Gebhardt Naturkosmetiks Natural Solutions-Holistic Beauty&Health Organic Essentials Skincare (and Nutritional Product) Organic Excellence Hair Care Products Real Purity Cosmetics Restored Balance Herbal Products Sante Kosmetics Suki's Naturals AnneMarie Borlind Natural Beauty

Note: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps and all Terressentials products, among others, are also paraben-free as well as made from organic ingredients.

Read full article here.