Infinity Spine Center Blog

Family Feud and Sunscreen: Helpful or Harmful?

Steve: Miley, give us your guess for “name something you smell at the beach?”
Miley: the ocean water, Steve! The ocean water!
Steve: survey says!
Steve: Miley, that’s great! Ocean water was the number 1 answer!
Steve: Kendrick, name something that you smell at a beach.
Kendrick: sunscreen, Steve!
Steve: survey says!
Steve: Kendrick! You nailed it! Sunscreen!
Steve: Whitney, name something that you smell at a beach.
Whitney: body odor!
Steve: Survey says!
Steve: Whitney! You’re unstoppable!
Steve: YOU WIN!
The sun’s intensity is heating up in Arizona and summer means beach time is right around the corner. What’s the best way to protect yourself from too much sun?
Not all sunscreens are created equally
Chemical sunscreen

Most sunscreens on store shelves are refered to as chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens work by creating a reaction on your skin from a chemical(s) (see below for most common) and UV rays. When you wear chemical sunscreen and the UV rays reach your skin, the UV rays react with the chemicals in the sunscreen and produce heat. This chemical reaction decreases the number of UV rays that reach your skin.



Chemical sunscreen
Be on the lookout for these…

The chemicals used in many sunscreens show potential risk including biochemical and endocrine disruption including reduced sperm count and endometriosis in males and females, respectively.

Look below for all kinds of nerdy brain juice.
Quick facts on oxybenzone:
  1. It’s in 70% of sunscreens
  2. Studies have identified oxybenzone in the urine/blood of pregnant women as well as in fetal and umbilical cord blood
  3. Testing confirmed that low levels of oxybenzone has the potential to disrupt human development
  4. Exposure to oxybenzone from “normal” sunscreen use demonstrates that enough chemical enters the mother’s blood making it available to the fetus at high enough levels that can indeed inhibit human development
Although I don’t use any sunscreen anymore, I used this in the past. It does block the sun for sure. WARNING!!! Many mineral sunscreens leave a white residue all over your skin.
Mineral sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to reflect UV rays. These minerals simply sit on top of your skin to physically block the rays of the sun.

Mineral sunscreens block both UVA and UVB and are less likely to clog your pores and cause irritation to sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreens also act to block heat from the sun’s rays which make it a better choice than chemical sunscreens.

If you do use sunscreen, opt for mineral sunscreen with non nanosized particles. Nanosized (small) particles are more likely to be absorbed into your body than non nanosized. You can even make your own non nanosized mineral sunscreen!
Want to whip up your own sunscreen?

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup beeswax
  • 4 tablespoons zinc oxide (this is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin but be careful not to inhale the powder)

Melt the beeswax in a small crock. Once melted shut off the heat and add the coconut oil and zinc oxide. Whip it real good till even consistency. This stuff won’t pump due to the thickness of beeswax so throw it in an 8 oz jar or container.

“Yo, Cornerman, hook me up with a link for some of dat mineral sunscreen!”
My shoulders and back got a little red after the first day in Siesta Key so I had to apply some of my homemade sunscreen.
Cornerman’s sunscreen: the paleoketovegan way
Top 5 ways to avoid damaging effects of the sun

1. Increase your exposure to red and near-infrared light. Red and near-infrared light prepares and repairs your skin from the damaging effects of UV rays. If you live outside and catch sunrise and sunset you’ll get some red and near infrared. If you want a modern-day cheat code hit up RNIr therapy to protect your skin.

2. Once your skin turns slightly pink, you’ve likely had enough UV. At this time, it’s best to cover your skin with a hat and long sleeve shirt if you plan to continue to be outside. If you happen to burn, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B12 are nutrients critical in the repair of your genes after too much UV exposure. You can get these nutrients in a meal of green vegetables and seafood!

3. If you have a highly inflammatory diet/lifestyle, you’re more likely to sunburn. This is due to increased oxidation of crappy fats in the outer parts of your cell as well as imbalance in free radical production. Avoid foods that are highly oxidative like crappy fats–this is important if you live in Arizona when the sun shines like no other and it’s hot as all get out! Heat + light both oxidize unstable fats.

4. Along with eating more stable fats, like SATURATED fats, increase your intake of green vegetables. The green pigment in vegetables comes for chlorophyll. When you eat greens and you’re in the sun, the chlorophyll (or metabolites of chlorophyll) is activated by the sunlight to increase ubiquinol–you may have heard of this before–CoQ10. It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells and as we age the amount of CoQ10 decreases. If you have taken statin drugs this will also crush your CoQ10 levels.

5. If you did your homework and spent time outside this past winter getting sun, you’ll be less likely to burn. However, if you were hibernating all winter, be sure to gradually increase your time outside to allow your skin to adapt to the sun. You need the (everyone is different) sun! Many vitamins are activated by light including vitamin A, D, B2, B12, and folate.

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma

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