Saturday, April 20, 2013

You Are What You Eat...and That Includes Your Sunscreen

We live in a very toxic world.  Everywhere we go, every single day we are inhaling, digesting, and absorbing dangerous chemicals into our bodies.  To be honest, I'm actually pretty ignorant when it comes to stuff like this.  While there is a part of me wants to learn more about the poisonous compounds that line tin cans and the hazardous pesticides that keep my food looking pretty, there's another part of me that thinks filling my head with all that information would make me completely neurotic and want to live in a bubble.  So I find a balance between ignorant bliss and over-educated paranoia (okay, I lean a bit more toward ignorant bliss).

Lately, I've gotten a lot of emails and questions about what sort of sunscreen and baby products I use for Isla, mostly from mother's who want to find the safest and least toxic brands for their babies.  There's something about motherhood that makes us suddenly care about stuff like this.  We want to keep our babies pure.  To keep their little bodies as healthy as we possibly can.  Sure, I use disposable diapers and yes, I use non-organic products on Isla, but regardless of these choices, I always think twice about what goes on and in her little body.  So why don't we do the same for ourselves?

Skin Deep (we have no affiliation) is an incredible project and site where you can check the toxicity of a wide array of cosmetic products from shampoo to sunscreen, and everything in between (yes men's products too).  They give you a "score" of 1-10 (ten being most toxic) and then break down ingredient concerns (again with a score of 1-10) into these categories: overall hazard, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunology toxicity and user restrictions.  It's a lot of info.

The skin is the body's largest organ and it's actually pretty scary how mindlessly most of us slather products on it like it's no big deal.  Did you know that the American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them?  Some of the ingredients that are in our everyday lotions and potions are incredibly toxic.  Check it out.  What you learn you are unknowingly ingesting might surprise you.  Turns out, we're a whole lot more than what we eat these days...


the Liveaboard Wife said...

As I began to read, I was planning on mentioning the Skin Deep website. Glad that you use it. Also, I'm a liveaboard who lives at the dock (b/c we are still working). I love the Green Grab Bag that sends boxes of natural products monthly. This way, I'm always getting a sample of good-for-me products, and I can use them and then purchase what I like. It's difficult to find things that are not overrun with chemicals.

Darrian Gourdine said...


Since you guys are in the Caribbean, may I suggest that you look into a supplement called "Scott's Emulsion".
It is an immune booster that has been around for 100 years. I given it as a child by my Grandmother and it really works. Now, here is the disclaimer: IT TASTES AWFULL!!
However, it boosted my immune system and I was never one to suffer from colds or flu like a lot of kids I knew growing up. The women on the islands can tell you about it and reviewers on Amazon will attest to its benefits. There are ways to mask the flavor (honey and lemon), but I to this day do not have issues with colds or flu.
I have read that it may contain by products of peanuts in it. That was never the case when I was growing up. The Caribbean version may be like the Old formula in the U.S., (Peanut free) if that is a concern.
You might want to check it out... Just a thought.

san blas sailing said...

My sun block of choice is Hawaiian Tropic 60+. It’s very thick and starts out white

Jeffrey Donnelly said...

You should checkout the Environmental Working Group's free smartphone app. It is a sunscreen database that rates them by the safety of the chemicals they contain as well as how well they do their job in the UVA and UVB spectrums. Really handy when your out shopping and need to reference it.

Jordan Mallory said...

This is a great article. I have been looking for new sunscreen that will be better for my skin. I was told to try All Natural Sunscreen because it does contaminate your pours as much.

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