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)
(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:
- Developmental/reproductive toxicity
- Endocrine disruption
- Persistence and bioaccumulation
- Organ system toxicity
- A few minor things like skin irritation, and
- Biochemical or cellular level changes.
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!