As much as we all love a sunny day on the water, our skin can only handle so much exposure to the big bright circle in the sky. Life-giving sunshine can cause serious damage to our delicate bodies if we’re not careful. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays can cause problems as minor as dry skin and sunburn, or as major as skin cancer.
Studies abound with some pretty scary details about the harm that can be caused by too much sun. As a result, an entire industry has sprung up in recent decades promoting products that are supposed to protect us when we venture outdoors. Many of the common sense ideas do a great job keep us safe. Grab a wide brimmed hat, wear long sleeves or a cover-up, limit your time outside, grab some shade when you can, etc… For those folks who prefer a tank top and shorts, or, one of mankind’s’ greatest inventions – the bikini – the market has a solution for you too – sunscreen. Slap this wonder product on your exposed skin, spread it around, and voila, you are safe from all that UV radiation.
Unfortunately, most sunscreen is brought to you by the major chemical companies who are responsible for creating some of the nastiest toxins out there. Mounting evidence is showing that your typical, grab-some-on-the-way-to-the-beach sunscreen might be doing as much damage to your body, if not more, than the sun is. Considering that most medical research suggests that up to 1/3 of the sunscreen we apply is absorbed through the skin, it is frightening to think what this stuff could be doing to our bodies.
Hormone disruption, allergy problems, reproductive system damage, the creation of free radical reactions, an increased risk of birth defects, cellular damage and DNA disruption are just some of the things that can happen from exposure to this stuff.
Worldwide, the greatest rise in skin cancer has been experienced in countries where chemical sunscreens have been heavily promoted, primarily the United States and Australia. A study several years ago in Queensland Australia, where the medical establishment has aggressively promoted the use of sunscreens for years, revealed more incidences of melanoma per capita than any other place on Earth. Recent research in the USA suggests California is closing the gap.
So what are we to do the next time the sun is shining and the water calls?
For sure, sun protection garments are a great beginning. On a hot summer day though, getting in the water or soaking up a few rays is just part of the deal for most boaters. In addition to common sense, why not try some non-toxic sunscreen? Like most problems that need solving, Mother Nature has created a host of ingredients that do the job without all the harm. Naturally occurring plant and mineral compounds such as Coconut Oil, Green Tea Extract, Shea Butter, Titanium Oxide, and Zinc Oxide, do a great job of protecting us from the sun without damaging our DNA. Next time the sun comes out do something simple that can make a difference. Use your common sense, grab a hat, and replace your toxic sunscreen with the good stuff.