Ditch those toxic sunscreens!
Not only will wearing sunscreen constantly interfere with your body’s production of Vitamin D, many artificial ingredients in most sunscreens can actually be harmful for your health. Every year, the Environmental Working Group looks at which sunscreens are the most toxic and contain the most potentially hazardous ingredients. Many common brands made the list, including those from Neutrogena, Rite Aid, Walgreens "Well" brand, "Up and Up" brand from Target, and Coppertone.
When shopping for sunscreen, make sure you check the ingredient list – put it back on the shelf if you see any of these ingredients listed:
- Oxybenzone – because it’s been linked to hormone disruptions and cell damage that may provoke cancer.
- Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A palmitate) – because this form of vitamin A may speed up the development of malignant cells when exposed to light. This ingredient should only be found in night creams.
- Synthetic Fragrances (Parabens, Phthalates and synthetic musks) – these have also been linked with hormone disruption and can interfere with reproduction/fertility.
- Let yourself get about 20 minutes of sun (with at least 40% of your body exposed) before slathering on the sunscreen – this helps optimize Vitamin D production in your body.
- If you’re spending all day at the beach, make sure to bring clothing and a hat to cover up – this is a nice, healthy alternative to wearing sunscreen.
- Use a natural non-toxic sunscreen – my favorites are from Badger, Kabana and Miessence Organics.
(Safely) Enjoy Those Summer Cocktails
Everyone is allowed to enjoy a few summer cocktails, but keeping hydrated and supplementing properly can help prevent the dreaded hangover the next day! (Special points for drinking lemon water in between each alcoholic drink, which helps detox your liver and helps flush those kidneys!)
Supplementing with the following can help replenish your body with important things that are stripped after a day or night of enjoying your favorite beverages:
- N-acetyl cysteine – This amino acid helps increase glutathione and reduce acetaldehyde toxicity, which can cause many hangover symptoms. You want to take at least 200 mg 30 minutes before you start drinking to lessen alcohol’s toxic effects.
- B Vitamins – Alcohol can deplete your body of vitamins B1 and B6. Taking these beforehand, as well as the next day can help lessen hangover symptoms.
- Milk Thistle – Since milk thistle contains antioxidants that have been found to protect the liver from toxins, it has been found to help lessen the effects of alcohol.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C can help your body and liver detoxify alcohol, and has been found to have a protective effect for your liver.
- Magnesium – This mineral is also commonly depleted with alcohol consumption, and because it can have anti-inflammatory effects for your body, it’s very important to take before or after a night (or day) out!
Use Proper Ergonomics at the Beach!
Everyone deserves to relax at the beach, but we can’t let our spinal health go by the wayside! It only takes 10-15 minutes in one position for our ligaments to begin to lose elasticity, which can put stress on your spine and nervous system. These tips can help prevent injuries and encourage spinal health!
- Get up and take a walk – Just like I commonly tell patients to get up from their desks at work for at least 10 minutes every hour, you need to keep that rule in mind at the beach as well! Take advantage of the beautiful weather and break from your office and get your body moving! Barefoot walking in the sand has numerous health benefits for the spine and nervous system.
- Don’t look down at your book – We all love catching up on summer reading at the beach, but arching your neck forward while reading your books may cause problems in your cervical spine. You can combat this by holding your book closer to eye level while keeping your head and neck upright.
- Try not to spend too much time laying on the sand face down – this popular sun tanning position can be a potentially harmful position for your spine because it can cause stress on the vertebrae in your lower back and neck. Keeping your head in a neutral position, or lounge chairs with a cutout for your face like this one (http://www.brookstone.com/Ergonomic-Comfort-Lounger) can help prevent stress on your spine!
Happy Independence Day and hope you enjoy your healthier trips to the beach!!
EWG Sun Safety Campaign, How to Pick a Good Sunscreen