June 09, 2008

Fun in the Sun?

[By Crabby]

I hate sunscreen. Anyone else?

I hate the sticky ickyness of it. I hate when it runs in my eyes. I always get too much of it on my clothes, and not enough of it on my skin. I hate having to put it on for a morning run, then, after showering, having to put it on all over again.

Of course there's been some research about the anti-cancer properties of Vitamin D, and some folks are recommending a little bit of sun exposure without sunscreen. But no one seems to be saying this is license to skip the sunscreen entirely.

Nope, Not A Smart Move
(Photo credit: genosfear)

Does anyone else old enough to remember "tanning," as an intentional activity, guilt free? It made going to the beach and taking a nap feel like an accomplishment! You got "credit" for flopping down on a towel in the sand and absorbing rays, because you were improving your appearance which would make you more popular. How cool was that?


Then we found out we weren't supposed to tan on purpose.

I know some people still do. If you are one of those people who goes without sunscreen or burns your skin on purpose, can I pass on a message from a good friend of mine who did that too when she was younger? She has melanoma now. She says: "Don't."

Off course we keep hearing that theoretically there is a pill on the way, but I've been hearing this for ages now. Could we hurry up with the sunscreen pills, please scientists? That and the jet-packs we were all supposed to be flying around in by now?

Like many people, I make myself wear the sunscreen even though I hate it. The brand I use is supposed to quite effective. I use a spray version for my legs 'cause I'm lazy, and a lotion for the rest of me that tries to be somewhat less oily and gooky. At least it calls itself "dry touch." Still feels slimy to me, but somewhat less so than the others.

This is a popular and well-reviewed sunscreen. I won't chase down all the links, but part of the reason I've come to use it is that health magazines and dermatologists seem to recommend it pretty often. For example, in this compilation of product review sources, my brand comes in at #1.

But according to the Environmental Working Group, which has put together a database of cosmetic ingredients and their safety, I might as well be smearing rat poison all over me instead.

They say my sunscreen is NOT recommended because it contains ingredients linked to:
  • Cancer
  • Developmental/reproductive toxicity
  • Allergies/immunotoxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Persistence and bioaccumulation
  • Organ system toxicity
  • A few minor things like skin irritation, and
  • Biochemical or cellular level changes.
That is a scary list.

How seriously should I take this, does anyone know? Is the Environmental Working Group mainly an advocacy group, or is it a bunch of serious, well-respected scientists that we should be paying way more attention to?

Because, damn, it they're right, I should probably switch from my easily available, everybody-recommends-it brand of sunscreen to one of the obscure brands that makes their "safe and effective" list. Even though my local drugstores don't stock them and they're probably slimy.

Here's where my distrust of advocacy groups and "stuff you read on the internet" collides with a similar distrust of our governmental regulatory process. The quaint notion I used to have that "if something were really dangerous they wouldn't let companies just sell it in the stores" has, alas, been tested too often. Now I believe: hell yeah, they will, if it's good for business.

So throw in some anxiety, wishful thinking, laziness, and frustration, and you end up with me not knowing What The Hell to Think.

If anyone has any thoughts or info on this, please help!


  1. slimy and goopy and THICK.
    Im now utterly drawing a blank with regards to the sample my pediatrician gave me recently of sunscreen (Ill swing back when I remember/get it from swimbag) but that stuff took a bath, scrubbing and a hacksaw to remove.
    it was like spackle.
    I should obsess more about ME (as I tan the minute I go outside but use the 30plus drugstore stuff) but I *obsess* about my daughter as I feel it is my responsibility to be sure she never burns.
    even though she, like me, is an immediate tanner-----I have echos of WHEN YER SKIN SHIFTS COLOR YOU ARE DOING DAMAGE in my mind every time we're outside in this sunny sunny climate.

    birthday hangover?


  2. You know, I wish I could be helpful, but really, I'm just trying to cope with all the skin cancer data. I have a permanent vitamin D deficiency, though I live in flippin' Utah. Probably due to Multiple Sclerosis. So, I use sunscreen, but not in a nazi fashion at all. Oh, the water washed it mostlty off? Oh well, maybe I'll get some vit D manufactured. I also have a a more olive complexion, which makes it so I actually tan, as opposed to burn (you should see my better half, who goes from see through to flaming red).
    As for the sources of ALL our "scientific" data, it's almost a matter of being an investigative journalist and tracing where everybody's paycheck comes from. Does anyone have the time to do such research? Hell no!

  3. I used to get those major burns as a kid - the blisters (huge blisters) on the shoulders, unable to lie down becuase the back was too raw - the Noxcema slathered on, which only promoted major skin peel (the only fun part of having a sunburn!). I remember the dehydration that went along with it.

    I am so very lucky that I didn't get skin cancer. My DH, OTOH, who rarely ever burns, did have to have some precancerous lesions removed. Go figure.

  4. I remember intentional tanning. Ah, those innocent days. I suspect the sun wasn't quite as bad for you then, but who knows?
    I rarely use sunscreen. I did in the Australian Outback, but that's about it. Seems to me I used it in many long years ago in Greece. I'm not out in direct sulight enough to care, and I like to make sure I get some proper sun exposure. I don't tan well so that adds to my not caring attitude. I'll take the sunlight.

  5. It's this kind of darned-if-do/darned-if-you-don't thing that makes reading some research really depressing. It seems like just when you think you've figured out what's healthy, they go and change their story! I read a news article about this story a bit ago and the author's whole point was if sunscreen gives you cancer and the sun gives you cancer and 50% of people will get cancer before they die, maybe we should just spend all our sunscreen money on a cure for cancer.

  6. Yes I remember people tanning on purpose, but I was never one of them. Being a red head with pale skin, I was wearing sunscreen way before it was the smart thing to do. While everyone around me was laying in the sun, I was wearing a t-shirt and trying to find shade. Actually I still do that. My Mom & my Sister still lay on the beach to "get a little colour" and I hide in the shade with my sunscreen and tell them they will get skin cancer.

    Yes I hate sunscreen. I hate the sticky, greasy feel, most of it doesn't smell very good either. I have yet to find one that actually feels comfortable on the skin (i.e. it should soak in and you shouldn't be able to tell it's there). But, it's better than getting a sunburn.

  7. Booooo...I have a sunburn from this weekend! I'm a dummy. But at least I'm probably not Vitamin D deficient, right? *SIGH* I won't forgo the sunscreen next time.

  8. Hi Crabby,

    I avoid the sun as much as possible. I do outdoor exercise early and late in the day. if I go to the pool (in Florida) I do so early and late in the day.

    I hate sunscreen for all the messy goopy reasons, but, I am very fair and have had three pre-cancerous lesions so I wear it much of the time. My biggest complaint is the taste of sunscreen when I slather my face and then it gets on my lips and seeps into my mouth. I finally found one (its really a moisturizer) I can stand for my face: Doctor Wexler's Universal anti-aging moisturizer SPF-30, but it is hugely expensive. I use cheaper brands with higher SPFs on the rest of me.

    As to the chemical question. My daughter in law bought organic sun block and used it for the grandkids, but they all got sun burn so we are back to chemicals.


  9. I am guilty. I LOVE the sun. Having grown up pretty much naked on the beaches of Brazil I almost feel like I NEED it. Yes, I know about the risks, and I don't think I am immune, but it is a risk I still take. When it comes to my daughter though I am a hypocrite an won't let her leave the house unless she all slathered up in sunscreen.

    I don't do this anymore, but I still remember when I was 12 and a family friend taught me to mix iodine & baby oil for the most perfect tan...crazy stuff!

  10. Back in the Dark Ages (the sixties) when everyone around me was tanning or trying to, I had a combination of burn and freckle during the summer months. So I was quite content to hear that tanning was bad for you--and it's interesting how much younger I look than 55 year old women who spent their youth successfully tan. (Part of that's heredity: we have really oily skin, which doesn't wrinkle very soon.) I also had two relatives in my mother's native Alabama develop skin cancer before I was grown.
    My problem with sun block is finding one I'm not allergic to. I use "Shade" which the site you mention has not rated very high, because I'd rather risk some possible cancer or something than have an immediate reaction with headache, nausea, dizziness, itching, swelling, whatever my body fells like doing today....

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  11. Hi Cranky, I use Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 sunscreen on my face and neck. It is really light and the bottle lasts for a long time. It is great under makeup. I don't use sunscreen on my body unless I am out for many hours at a time.

  12. As a redhead w/very fair skin, I'm really careful and use sunscreen all the time now...unfortunately had my share of major burns as a kid and have had a number basal cell carcinomas removed already. I'm pretty stringent with my daughter and sunscreen now (she has way better skin than I did thankfully), but still worry like crazy about the chemicals in the sunscreen, for both of us......have no idea what the answer is....other than live inside which is pretty tough esp for the youngster. I'm okay to stay indoors on the couch, but she insists on being outside every moment possible.

  13. Just an opinion here! I use very little sun block. I tend to wear clothing, and hat (and of course shades) as the best defense. I will use it occasionally, but I find bathing in chemicals troublesome.

    Dr. J

  14. Looking at the Skin Deep page on your sunscreen, the two Big Offenders in the ingredients are the FRAGRANCE (oh, horrors!) and one of the active ingredients (oh, bother.)

    On their "safe products" list, I'm seeing a lot of special sunscreens made for babies, also a few Regular Brands You Might Actually Find In A Regular Store, in "sensitive skin" formulations without the EVIL FRAGRANCE. That's probably your best bet.

    Sarcasm about the EVIL FRAGRANCE aside, I'm now a little grateful that my skin is sensitive and tends to throw fits when I use too much EVIL FRAGRANCE on it. It's protecting itself from TEH CANCER!!

  15. I grudgingly wear sunscreen everyday. Yesterday, the one day I forgot, I was out washing the cars and got a bad burn on my shoulders. Good reminder.

    The good sunscreen is SO expensive! It drives me nuts. That bottle of Neutrogena is 8 bucks and is only 3 ounces. I use it on my face and neck and use a less expensive spray on my arms and legs.

  16. Sunscreen is necessary...especially for kids. Skin cancer is a lot more common than you'd think, and completely avoidable if you look after your skin. (I do cancer research...so I've read up on it ad nauseum...mostly in my attempt to justify tanning to mys husband - and yup, I lost :) ) I'm a sunlover and my husband hates the sun, so luckily I've picked up some sunaphobic sunscreen habits from him. I shudder when I think I used to tan with baby oil as a teenager - stupid stupid STUPID!
    Last year, we found a few types of waterproof SPF 40 spray on sunscreen that we LOVE (coppertone and loreal are good). My husband hates lotions, oils or anything like that and whines about the feel of wearing sunscreen until we found this stuff. Once it's on you honestly can't tell it's there and spraying it on makes it easier.

    We are usually not tanned, but it's for the best...

  17. Oh - almost forgot: Do check out the ingredients in this stuff though - there are a lot of chemicals out there that you don't want on your skin...look up the MSDS (material data safety sheets) of any long worded chemicals on the things you put on you before you do - it's surprising what is out there as "safe" because it is in a small amount. Some chemicals can be absorbed through the skin, or when combined with oils, so those are the ones to keep an eye out for. It's worth it to spend the extra few $$ on the good stuff...I figure if I spend the $$ on good food, I should make sure I'm not harming my skin.

  18. When I was very young, I used to hope that all my freckles would merge so that I could have a tan like all my cool friends.
    Now they all look 10-15 years older than I do.
    Still wish I could tan, but I follow Dr. J's method and wear clothes, sunglasses, even hats. Some of those chemicals in those lotions scare me.

  19. Oy. I just don't know WHAT to do! My father is in remission form Melanoma. My daughter, like me, is very fair-skinned. I had quite a few bad burns as a kid, so I slather the sunscreen on myself and my kids. But I'm willing to pay a bit more for the safer stuff. Any suggestions, esp. for kids?

  20. I remember the days when you could buy tanning lotion that smelled like coconuts and had some sunscreen in it, but not sunblock. Some people I knew would use baby oil for tanning. I miss the tanning lotions and the yummy coconut smells! Now it's white greasy goo that smells like hospital antiseptic and it makes me wonder if they could make clothes out of the goop that you could wear and that dissolves into your skin! It'd be nice if they made the sunblockers at least smell better, give us natural fragrances to deactivate the carcinogens?

  21. I hate the sun and sunscreen. I dream of moving to Seattle, where clouds of grey greet me daily.

  22. Very good! I should probably start using sunscreen? :P

  23. ack! i just bought some of that sunscreen and have been putting it on daily, to be healthier! now what? damn it all.

  24. Like Marijke, I used to spend summer days out in the back yard trying to get as dark as possible, usually burning quite badly first. Must be a Montreal thing. I'm not quite that dumb anymore.

    I do have concerns though about the chemicals in sunscreen. I have a sneaking suspicion that ten years from now, we're going to be hearing about some such cancer which is much more common from sunscreen than skin cancer is from the sun. I'm especially worried that sunscreen is slathered on babies/children. It just seems wrong.

  25. Ah, the good old days when we baked ourselves in the sun, thinking how attractive we would be...... sigh.

    I am out in the sun quite a bit, and have a terrible time remembering to put on sunscreen. I burn quite easily, too, so you'd think I would remember!

    I worry about the chemicals in sunscreens, too, but I worry more about the chemicals in the bug sprays...

    Wear clothes that cover as much of you as you can stand, and a hat. (and, if you live in northern Alberta, a mosquito net!)

  26. yes, i remember the good old days of using baby oil so we got a darker tan!? How terrible is that?

    and I also bought the same stuff, and then read all the horrific things it will do to me once absorbed by my skin. I take it with a grain of salt though because nothing can be worse than the baby oil years, right?

    as for my kids, I buy the super expensive california baby brand b/c someone has deemed it very safe. hopefully that is true because it sure is pricey!

  27. Oh that picture...I can't tell you how many times that was me and my red-haired best friend.

    I am a born sun worshipper - it's in my genes. But now, sadly I've acquiesed to the ways of science and sunscreen. No more tanning. And that picture gives me courage and reminds me why tanning wasn't really that fun, at least not after coming inside.

  28. I love the sun...In the Pacific Northwest, you have to take it when you get it and run with it...

    I don't like to deal with the "studies" on the sunblock, I just go with what smells good and works...I am a die-hard Banana Boat user. I have a bottle of every SPF, from 4-65 , that they make and use them every summer or when I'm going to be in the sun for extended periods of time. My favorite is their sport SPF 15. It's sweat and water proof and doesn't leave the nasty greasy feel to your skin. I know I should probably use more than 15, but I figure I'm 25 and haven't had any issues and at least I use it...My daily moisturizer(sp?) is an SPF 30 that is fantastically light and makes the skin of my face just glow...

  29. There's an ingredient that's basically in every single lotion (hand, face etc) that helps it be absorbed, that's cacenogenic. But this just goes to prove my husband's point, one day they'll find out that cancer medicine (could think of sunscreen like this right?) causes cancer. it's tough.

  30. I remember tanning intentionally, or at least trying to. Mom would never let us stay out too long, she always had to find something for us to do. Good thing too.

    I wear a facial moisturizer every day with an SPF of 15. If I know I am going to be out in the sun, I will put on at least 30.

    Red, you can still burn through clouds, sorry! Personal experience.

    There is clothing that is supposed to have sunblock properties, but I don't know how well it works. Like all such things it is not pretty but is expensive.

  31. Hey, I use that same sunblock on my face! And I love it. And I'm not switching. So there. /sarcasm.

    Seriously, the first thing I look for in a sunscreen is whether or not I will WEAR it. If it's slimy, I won't wear it, even though I know it's good for me. So can I just tell you that the best body sunblock EVER is the Coppertone Sport that you spray on like an aerosol! I LOVE IT. No rubbing, and no slime. ::::happy dance, happy dance::::

    Yes, the chemicals aren't so great, but in my pale, pale case, I figure I'm more likely to get cancer from sunburns than sunblock. Ergo, wearing sunblock is important, and if the only way I'll really put it on is to buy the chemical crap - then I will ROCK those chemicals! LOL

  32. For face and neck I highly recommend Origins "Have a Nice Day". It says SPF 15, but I have been in blazing sun for 2 hours and while my (unprotected) arms got a light burn, my face and neck were totally unscathed. Costs a LOT, but the little jar lasts a really long time...I usually buy one every 1-2 years and I use the stuff every day. A little goes a long way since there's Titanium Dioxide in it, yeah, the (white) stuff old lifeguards used to wear. Since it's a physical barrier, it's really effective. And a tiny dab spread all over the face is all I need, pretty much, unless I'm out all day.

    For the rest of the body, I've found Neutrogena's Healthy Defense Oil Free Sunblock (SPF 45) and their "Fresh Cooling" continuous spray works pretty well. The former is not very sticky at all and absorbs well and the latter is sticky/greasy, but if you're out alone and need to spray your own back, it's quite handy. Do spray outdoors or risk being asphyxiated by the mist, however.

    As for hazardous chemicals, I find it hard to believe that sunscreen is worse than the myriad other carcinogens we confront every day, and the sun, she is strong.

    My (blonde, freckled) mother's had pre-cancerous areas removed and I've had two (apparently innocuous) moles removed and biopsied. I went to grad school with a guy who'd had 4th stage skin cancer twice and died before he was 30 of his 3rd go-round. It ain't pretty. Can't be too careful.

    Also love my sunhat and thin long sleeves/thin long pants for the very dangerous areas (Costa Rica, for example) and high UV days.

    Glamour-Geek, still with missing password.

  33. I'm with the crowd that tries the cover up with clothes method, and sunscreen for the parts we don't cover in summer(face, hands, forearms, knees on down). We use the spray on in the blue bottle, LOL, when we remember, and try to just spray it on without having to rub it in because of the slime factor. I will definitely spray on sunscreen if I have any tattoos showing, as the UV fades the ink.

    I remember using several different sunscreens on Rose Bowl flea market days in the early 90s, and 15 minutes after I put it on I'd get dizzy and nauseous, and it took me awhile to realize that the chemicals in the potion were making me ILL! So I didn't trust it much after that for a long time. Now I'm okay with (just went to look) Coppertone Sport rub free spray SPF 30. In moderation.
    I see all the damage on my left arm from all my years of getting a truck driver's tan, and wish I had listened to my grandma more, but as a kid I lived in the desert and was always in the sun, then spent so much time outside growing up that tanning was just part of living.

    Now with supposedly even more UV rays coming through than when those of us who are Boomers were kids, it's probably better to stay out of the sun or use sunscreen when in it.

    But I'm getting tired of trying to find a way through the cancer obstacle course. It seems like currently just about everything about modern living causes cancer.

  34. I hate putting on sunscreen, which is why I opt to look like a dork and carry a red umbrella with me all summer long.

    PS: This is the poster formerly known as naomi w. Since there's another Naomi who posts here, I figured I'd avoid confusion by reverting to my usual online moniker.

  35. 1) I use the evil sunscreen, ack....
    2) Other options might be "physical block" sunscreens (some even made by the same company) which are zinc oxide or titanium dioxide - used to be primarily Aussie suncreens (those folks are SERIOUS about sun protection) but more mfrs are jumping on the bandwagon now that they can make smaller particles to address the old "white paint on mhy face" problem (now transparent or can be rubbed in to be less obvious). Other benefits are that they are "instant" - you don't have to wait 15+ minutes to go outside after putting them on (yes, you're supposed to wait that long for the chemical ones to bond/react and be effective; I keep the physical ones at work for lunchtime outings), they are often less irritating to those w/ sensitive skin (no stinging chemicals) and they are more safe for kids. One drawback might be their waterproofed-ness.
    3) There is some good sun protective clothing out there. If you're in a high sun area, it may be worth the investment. My favorite is stuff from Sun Precautions - incredibly light, and I've worn it hiking in Arizona in June with no sunscreen under it and no problems. Coolibar is another catalog - less pricey, but heavier. Even the regular mfrs like Columbia, REI and others are making clothing w/ higher SPF. Still need some sunscreen, but an improvement.

  36. Some great recommendations, thank you all!

    (I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks most sunscreens suck).

    And thanks, Dragonmama/naomi w, it's cool to know you're the same person.

  37. I hate sunscreen and rarely use it. My long runs are in the morning and my afternoon runs are short, so I build up a tan naturally in the summer without any burning. I'm also genetically primed to tan easily rather than burn, as long as I don't do anything crazy like go out in the mid-day sun for hours and hours.

    I think most people can successfully get healthy sun exposure just by being sensible about when and how long they're outside. Some people are, of course, predisposed to melanomas and they should be more careful, but in general I think it's best to avoid both heavy sun and sunscreen. Have outdoor fun early and late, and spend the afternoons indoors!

  38. I agree with the hat & clothing advice...

    I'm a big fan of homemade products (although I don't make / use them as much as I wish I did). I googled 'homemade sunscreen' and came up with a couple recipes using natural oils and stuff to create sunscreen - one says it comes out as a cream!

    Might be worth a shot...at least then you know what you're slathering on! And natural oils provide great moisture, too.

  39. Bathing in chemicals- I hate to see what they'd say about the sunscreen I just bought for your face that has bronzer in it!

    I'm a recent convert to sunblock, too, from the olden days of sun worshipping. So my comment to all this is DANG IT!!!! I think it's still what I want to do, though, rather than have a leather face at age 45.

    Also, I heard you can absorb vitamin D through your eyes, as well as skin? I googled it, though & I didn't find a good explanation. (????)

  40. I'm an Aussie, and we certainly do take sun protection seriously here. We have very high rates of skin cancer, which are unfortunately rising at the moment.

    Here we have a campaign called "Slip, slop, slap." It means slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. Some schools even make wearing a hat compulsory for children when they are outside.

    We have a huge variety of sunscreens and protective clothing here. I also hate the gunky feel of most sunscreens so I get the gel based ones where possible. These have an unpleasant alcohol smell at first, but they go on easily and are absorbed well by the skin, and I've never been burned using them. I'm not sure if they are available in the US though. We are also getting more of the titanium dioxide and "invisible zinc" sunscreens. I have no idea what the chemical composition of these are like though, I've never really worried about that sort of thing, although I might check up on them now.

    I also have some facial moisturisers with SPF 15 from an American brand called Paula's Choice (not sure how you feel about links in comments, but the website should be easy to find with a Google search). They are fantastic, don't feel at all icky, and use avobenzone as the active ingredient. They are much better than any other moisturising sunscreen I've ever tried. The woman who runs this company is a huge advocate of using sunscreen everyday to protect your skin from sun damage, and her products are very carefully developed to not irritate or be dangerous. She reviews and recommends other brands, as well as selling her own line. Some great general skin care info there as well.

    Apologies for the very long comment. It's my first one on your blog. I love your posts, very amusing!

  41. Being that I am of northern European heritage, I am very pale. No, I think that pale is an inaccurate description: ghostly is better.

    I can pretty much guarantee a sunburn with thirty minutes of sun exposure unprotected. This time of year if I as much as run errands I use sunscreen. I prefer Clinique SPF 55. It doesn't irritate my skin and it has a version that I can put on top of my make up with minimal problems (it works-- don't ask me how).

    I read somewhere that anything over 35 serves no purpose. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I still buy nothing less that a 55.

    Sunscreen spilled in my bag in Cozumel and got all over my passport back in 1999. To this day it still smells like coconut.

    Good Times, Good Times,


  42. This is a bit of a no-brainer in Australia. The sun is so strong and 1 in 3 Australians will develop a skin cancer in their lives. As a fair skinned person who burns at the sight of the sun I have had strangers on the street tell me off for looking a little "rosie".

    There is a huge selection of sunscreens available in Australia. My personal favorite is Megan Gale's Invisible Zinc range. They use ZinClear - invisible zinc - so are relatively chemical free (no PABA or PABA derivitives). They come in clear and tinted - I use the tinted version as foundation in summer. Non-greasy, moisturising and a great all-round every-day block. (30+ as well!)

    Not sure if it's available outside Oz, but you can get it on the net.

  43. I'm saving all these recommendations. It's been two years, I think, since I looked at the Skin Deep site, and clearly it's time I made a list and went around stores doing another sniff test.

    Mary Anne, wearing sunblock and hats in Kentucky, even though all my skin cancer relatives were living in Alabama and Florida

  44. Sunscreen can be goopy- but is worth it for the skin protection! I love my Dove moisturizer because it comes with some sun protection (only SPF 15, I think... but better than nothing!).

  45. whoa, thats gotta hurt! and i cant believe how white she was before -_- I feel bad for her... i bet that week was one to remember (in a bad way ;)

  46. I despise applying sunblock (especially if I'm putting it on my arms and have to wait for it to dry before I put my shirt on...I'm so impatient!). But I must wear it, at least when I'm going to be outside for any length of time, because I am Very Pale.

  47. I work in the pharmaceutical industry (but I don't understand half of what I hear!) But I have learned that special interest groups will twist any findings to fit what they want people to hear.

    I have a friend who says Chemistry is Chemistry. I guess that means that a chemical reaction for one thing won't necessarily cause the same chemical in something else. So unless it has been specifically tested and proven for that particular thing - don't believe it. Just because it has ingredients that 'have been known to cause blah blah blah' in one formulation or another, it doesn't mean that it will in this instance. (but it also doesn't mean that it WON'T). It is something that needs to be further tested to prove one way or the other.

    Now - I have no idea if they made any sense at all - since I really don't know what I'm talking about!


  48. Great post. My two cents:

    1. I have sunscreen -- Clinique Super Defense spf 25.
    2. I rarely wear it -- mostly because I'm pregnant and am worried about the chemicals affecting baby. And because I'm lazy.
    3. The sunblock/chemicals thing is really, really confusing, especially when you start looking at nanoparticles. What I've used for when we go to the beach, etc. (not often) is EWG's rankings -- I pick the lowest one of a brand I can actually find at a store and that's reasonably priced. I tried Dr. Hauschka for sensitive skin and it caused massive breakouts.

  49. Every spring I go backpacking and this leaves me exposed, on mountain ridges for hours and hours a day. I'm blond, blue-eyed and fair skinned.

    I *hate* sunscreen, and with no shower available, it's really impractical anyway. So...I cover up. There are a lot of super lightweight wicking fabrics that allow me to wear long sleeves. I wear running tights anyway because I think they are more comfortable.

    I use a bandana and a baseball hat combo to cover my neck area and the hat shades my face. The bandana can also be soaked in a stream, and when it's drying out next to your head, it's very cooling.

    Yeah, I look a little dippy, but I'm not overly hot and I don't get sunburned. The only problem I have is my wrists and backs of my hands.

    When I was a wee tot, mom put me in a white t-shirt at the beach to prevent the burn, and that seemed to work well. She's one of those people who tans easily and often and is totally unrepentant about doing so.

  50. You're up a gum-tree, as they say in the antipodes. Learn to love the sun. Learn its rules, then it doesn't bite! Have you ever seen a mother crocodile pick up its newly hatched babies and carry them in her mouth, between those rows of vicious-looking teeth, to a safe place in the water? They don't bite her and she doesn't bite them. Miraculous, but then so is nature when you know the rules.
    So; Rule #1: The sun is your friend, not your enemy. You make vitamin D from sunlight, and Vitamin D gives you strong bones protection from cancer.
    Rule #2: Wrong food is your enemy. Know your blood type to understand what food is desirable and what is to be avoided.
    Rule #3: Vitamin A protects the skin from sunlight. Vitamin E protects Vitamin A.
    Rule #4: Go naked in the sun. Use stinging nettle tincture diluted 50:50 with water as a sun protector. Also take homeopathic stinging nettle (Urtica Urens) before and after going in the sun. Always condition your skin after the sun with Neways After Sun Care cream.


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