It’s there in almost everybody’s handbag and backpack. I am talking about the innocent looking sunscreen lotion or a sunblock cream. While it’s meant to protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun, it does all this and much more than you asked for.
I am guilty for having purchased a sunblock twice. Yes, of a reputed brand. Both times, it remained in my closet and went way past its expiry date. Reason? I found it uncomfortable. Something was not right. Forget the SPF count and all that jazz. It just didn’t feel right.
Sunscreen lotions block the harmful effects of UV rays on our skin. Or so, that is what the advertisers say. Yet, a majority of sunscreens are harmful when used on our body.
- Some of the ingredients used in such lotions interfere with our hormones. The longer the cream is left on our skin, the more the penetration into the skin.
- Some ingredients act like endocrine disruptors. This is particularly harmful for pregnant women as it causes an abnormality in the development of the fetus. Understand more about endocrine disruptors here.
- Many sunscreens release skin-damaging free radicals. These can cause permanent damage to the DNA. This happens because the chemicals absorb the UV light and in the process, some of it may get used up or some of it may mutate when exposed to the sun.
- Many sunscreen lotions are full of chemicals, some of which are not even suitable for our skin. It can cause an allergy and even premature aging when used in excess.
- Remember, the negative effects are a slow process. So, it will take quite some time for you to know the reaction.
- Watch out for ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Retinyl Palmitate, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octocrylene, and Paraben preservatives. Yeah, it’s tedious to read the label. But, if you must use, please read the fine print.
- When people slathered with sunblock enter the ocean, a lot of it gets mixed in the water. Aren’t we already polluting our oceans? Do we need this? The chemicals when mixed with the water resist degradation. This is harmful for the aquatic life that is already battling polluted water. (Imagine the effect of even a 1000 number of people taking a dip with all the chemicals at a beach!)
While many argue about the harmful effects of the sun, it’s advisable to enjoy the sun rays in the early morning or late afternoon hours. This is the time to benefit from the rays. (Unless, of course, your work demands that you should be in the sun all day long.) Either way, you can opt for long-sleeved tops, hats, scarves, sunglasses to protect your eyes, and even an umbrella. The options are many….the choice is yours!