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We Are Sunshine

Doctor: Does SPF Do More Harm?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Yet another physician is asking whether or not daily exposure to sunscreen chemicals may be more harmful than what sunscreen is supposed to be preventing — sunburn.

“Sunlight, in reasonable doses, enables natural immunity, promotes skin growth and healing, stimulates hormone production and contributes to an overall sense of well-being. Getting 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight a day enables the body to manufacture vitamin D naturally, and sun is responsible for the synthesis of the pigment melanin, the skin’s natural sunscreen,” Dr. Natasha Turner wrote on health education website

Turner continues, “Another concern is whether the actual ingredients of sunscreen are toxic. Like many cosmetics, you should be prudent when selecting a sunscreen to avoid toxic chemicals. The biggest culprit is retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, octisalate, octinoxate and avobenzone. These ingredients have been known to produce skin lesions in the sun (ironically enough), while others can interfere with hormone receptors in our bodies. If you take a look at the back of any sunscreen bottle you will find quite a few items that I have previously recommended that you steer clear of, including parabens (if you don’t believe me, scan through the sunscreens in your local drugstore, right down to the sun-protecting lip balms).”

Smart Tan recommends sunscreen use only to prevent sunburn, which is the product’s only intended usage. Over-use of sunscreen as a daily-use product is unnatural — akin to drinking cough syrup every morning to prevent a cough instead of just when you have a cold.