Sunscreen Safety- is there any? article by Sabina M. DeVita Ed.D. I often wondered- Did the Egyptians shop at Shoppers Drug Mart for sunscreen? Or did they frequent the local pharmacy to purchase their skin protection products for the hot sun, fierce winds and sand storms? During their era, the sun was scorching, hot, burning- with fierce sand storms that would easily sand-blast a car today and yet as ridiculous as these questions are- they had to rely on something more spectacular and more natural. Matter of fact - they had to rely on mother nature's own skin emollient protection which they did. What's alarming?- there aren't any truly safe sunscreens! As the Silent Spring Study found alternative sunscreens contained up to 7 target chemicals that were unlabeled, including estrogeniic UV filters. The alternative sunscreen with the highest number of target chemicals was a product marketed for babies, children and sensitive adults. Over the past decade, many scientists studying cancer have come to virtually the opposite conclusion; that is, the use of sunscreen chemicals may be increasing the incidence of cancer and that sunlight exposure may actually decrease human cancer rates and improve your health. This is a strong statement.
EWG - a major site for environmental toxins- skin deep cosmetics database - suggests this for sunscreen: "The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals to absorb through the skin, no questions about whether they work." But for many that may not be practical and so EWG does make some suggestions of products with fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin. The less toxic lotions contained either titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide or both. Though less toxic- both these ingredients were rated accordingly: EWG- Their rating for titanium dioxide "Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease." Rating for zinc dioxide "Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease".
Egyptian natural Sunscreen - Essential Oils are a Chemical Free Alternative! Let's use the Egyptian style of sunscreens- they're much safer and definitely it's real green. Sunscreen with Essential Oils recipes below are from my book “Saving Face”– by Dr. Sabina DeVita Ed.D. Sunblock Mix 3-6 drops Helichrysum Italicum with 100 drops of sesame oil or olive oil. Apply on skin every few hours. Sunscreen 1 oz. Sesame oil 1oz. Coconut oil 1 oz. Olive oil 10 drops Helichrysum 5 drops Lavender 3 drops Roman Chamomile Mix and apply. Sunburn Relief LavaDerm Cooling Mist- a spray containing Lavender and aloe vera. More recipes in my book.
Myrrh Essential Oil
Another favorite Egyptian recipe:
Myrrh Essential Oil - 15 ml
Myrrh (Commipihora myrrha) has a rich, smoky, balsamic aroma that is purifying, restorative, revitalizing, and uplifting. It is a helpful aid to meditation, having one of the highest levels of sesquiterpenes available. Sesquiterpenes are a class of compounds that have a direct effect on the hypothalamus, pituitary, and amygdala, the seat of our emotions. Myrrh is referenced throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The Arabian people believed it helped wrinkled, chapped, and cracked skin. Today, myrrh is widely used in oral hygiene products.
Myrrh was highly prized and used by the Egyptians. They would mix Myrrh with animal fat to prevent Sunburn. The Egyptian drawings depict men and women with “cylindrical cones” on their heads. The cones actually contained the all natural sunscreen mixture that would melt slowly in the hot sun covering their hair and skin!
What Amount to use for this natural Egyptian Sunscreen?
When mixing with a vegetable oil - A good rule of thumb is to mix 5- 10 drops of essential oil per ounce of vegetable oil. It is always best to read the recommendations for the individual oil as well.
There are certain oils that are to be avoided in the sun as they are photosensitive and can create skin spots or discoloration of the skin: So do Remember to avoid essential oils that contain citrus; including your blends! Now you can enjoy the sun and have a great healthy glow!