Jackie McKool

The Truth About Sunscreens from a Wholistic Health Perspective

It’s that time of year again where we will be more active outside enjoying the wonderful sunshine whether it’s on the warm sunny beaches or even the snowy mountain peaks! But along with that enjoyment is the ongoing battle of protecting our skin from over exposure of the sun. As always, my heart and passion is to educate you on the Truth About Wellness, so I want to plant some seeds of thought regarding the pros and cons of both the sun and sunscreens.

More often than not I see sunscreen on the list of things to pack whether it’s for a hiking trip, kids camp, or an organized trip that entails spending any kind of time outdoors. While this may be important, there are definitely harmful sunscreens, and safe ones to use. Making these recommendations for sunscreen as the protector, too often implies that the sun is bad for us, when in reality it is vital to our overall wholistic health.

Pros and Cons of the Sun

Yes, if we spend too much time out in the sun unprotected it can cause us skin damage, if not cancer itself. But, the sun also offers us a vital nutrient, Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for our immune system, calcium absorption, muscle function and much more. We must have it! Our best source of Vitamin D is from the natural sunshine. Unfortunately, a lot of people are low in Vitamin D and don’t even know it. But when we lather on the sunscreen, we prevent the absorption of Vitamin D. Those that are at most risk of lacking in Vitamin D are darker skinned people and those with minimal exposure to sunlight. It is best to avoid being in direct sunlight unprotected at mid-day, but still be sure to get a minimum of 20 minutes of sunlight a day to receive a healthy dose of nature’s vitamin, Vitamin D.

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Pros and Cons of Sunscreen

Sunscreen can offer us some protection from the harmful rays of the sun, but if we are not using the right kind, sunscreen can actually do us more harm than good. A serious fact, but unknown to most people, is that the mass marketed sunscreens out there are very toxic to the body and to our health and can actually cause us cancer rather than prevent it.

Did you know that our skin is the largest organ of our body? And just like what we put in our bodies can either do us harm or good, the same goes for what we put on our bodies. What we put on our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream, and the chemicals that are in most commercial sunscreens are very harmful to the body.

What to Buy and Not Buy

When choosing a sunscreen, it is best to look for sunscreens with minimal mineral formulations of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. As long as these minerals don’t penetrate the skin (most studies show that these ingredients do not penetrate skin to reach the bloodstream, but research continues), then we should be okay. On the other hand, we want to avoid sunscreens with non-mineral ingredients. The most common ingredients in non-mineral sunscreens are octisalate (found in 59 percent of commercial products), oxybenzone (52 percent) and avobenzone (49 percent).

Oxybenzone, which can trigger allergic reactions, is a potential hormone disrupter and penetrates the skin in relatively large amounts. Some experts caution that it should not be used on children. Some 55 percent of sunscreens rated by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are non-mineral, and 15 percent combine both mineral and non-mineral active ingredients. (1)


Don’t fear the sun. Sunshine is just as vital for our physical health as it is our emotional health. We really should be exposing ourselves as well as our skin to natural sunlight on a daily/routine basis – in moderation. But, if you have to use sunscreen, some brand names that would be a better choice with cleaner, safer, less harmful ingredients would be products made by companies such as Alba Bontanica, Acure and Badger to name a few.

You can find a variety of these better sunscreens at most local natural health food stores and if you are fortunate to have one in your area, a local outfitters or general store usually carries some type of healthy sunscreen as well – just be sure to read the labels before buying.

(1)for more information on safe sunscreens visit Environmental Working Groups website at https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

Did you miss some of these earlier blogs? These could give you some great insight — especially as you pursue your health journey:
“Chiropractic Care, What it IS and What it is NOT”
“Don’t Let Fear Sabotage Your Wholistic Health Plan”
“How Committed Are You to Your Wholistic Health?”

Still needing a graduation gift for that high school or college graduate? How about starting them on the path of wholistic health with a copy of “Are You Being Deceived About Truth Wellness?”

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