Science Mom: It Puts The Sunscreen On Its Skin Or Else It Gets The Hose Again
Summer — with apologies to our friends in the southern hemisphere — is here at last! As we all head outdoors to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, it’s important to remember to protect ourselves from that big burning ball of UV light in the sky. A splash of sunlight on your face might feel good, but at the cellular level, it’s taking a molecular baseball bat to your DNA. You need to slather on some sunscreen before you head outside!
Some people, however, may have tried to convince you that the sunscreen you’re applying is just as bad as the sunlight itself. And if you’re scared of something, of course, the Internet is a great place to go to get your fears confirmed. You can find any number of sites warning you of the dangerous ‘toxins’ in sunscreen — I even found a few swearing that UV light from the sun couldn’t possibly cause cancer, because UV light is needed to make vitamin D in your body. And vitamins are good for you, right?!
As in most cases, too much of a good thing is not so good when it comes to sunlight. Yes, your body needs some UV light to help manufacture vitamin D, but 20 minutes a day is plenty, and you can get some vitamin D from your diet as well — especially from fatty fish and fortified dairy products. So no, you will not come down with a case of rickets if you properly protect yourself from sun damage.
But what about the other issue some people object to about sunscreen use: that the chemicals involved are dangerous, toxic, or otherwise ‘non-natural’? Let’s take a look at what exactly it is that goes into your bottle of sunscreen.