Our last Yoga in the Park happened two weekends ago... and I only remembered that I might need sunscreen when we got there. One hour of practicing yoga in the hot sun next to the ocean and you can be assured I had some key red spots! My arms and shoulders were actually sore for about three days. Skin cancer is not ideal.
The reason we didn't get sunscreen this year was my want for something sans chemicals.
Sunscreens and sunblocks don't just provide a friendly 'stay away please' to UVA, UVB rays, they often contain potential estrogenic mimicking chemicals such as parabens. The Environmental Working Group assessed over 800 sunscreens and proclaimed only 16 percent to be both safe for our health and environment and effective. Oxybenzone, found in 400 products, is a weak hormone disruptor found in the urine of 95% 6-8 year old girls tested... with some freaky ovary producing, oxybenzone showing fish near sewers. Not to mention the loads of other unstable chemicals present in sunscreens and sunblocks (Adria Vasil, Ecoholic).
So instead of protecting our skin from harmful skin cancer, we're slathering on chemical filled creams that are absorbed into our bloodstreams and-or wash down into our waterways creating ovary toting fish (which of course eventually gets re-consumed by us via water system). According to EWG, the FDA failed to finalize it's 1978 safety standards, resulting in an understudied industry.
Here are some pretty troubling EWG statements on sunscreen:
- There's no consensus that sunscreens prevent skin cancer.
- There's some evidence that sunscreens may increase the risk for cancer
- Although there are more higher SPF products out there, there's no evidence proving they're better.
- The common ingredient in sunscreen, vitamen A, may speed up skin cancer.
- Free-radicals and other skin-damaging chemicals are by-products of sunscreen.
- Choosing between nanomaterials and potential hormone disrupting chemicals...(click on the link for detailed discussion on each).
EWG have conveniently put together their 2010 sunscreen guide with an easy rating system. Erin, over at The Conscious Shopper, has recently tried out a sunscreen (and found it wanting). The EWG's FAQ section has a ton of information regarding sunscreen safety (who knew it was so complex??).
Sadly, most of the 'safe' sunscreens are difficult to find in Canada. As Adria Vasil of Ecoholic points out, simply buying a sunscreen from a Health store doesn't assure a free pass on chemical-ville.
Quick tips to keep your Guerrilla Yoga easy on the environment and your health:
- choose sunscreen with key ingredients zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. If the cream isn't white, than it probably has nano particles... which may be a bit sketchy, but EWG basically thinks they probably aren't. Read their description as to why.
- Wear protective UVB, UVA clothing (Patagonia has some pretty awesome stuff).
- Choose sunscreens of SPF 15 or 30. Don't choose anything over SPF 50.
- Avoid sprays or powders (yum, inhaled chemicals!)
- avoid ingredient 'retinyl palmitate' (vitamin A) as it may speed up cancer.
The one sunscreen I recognize... Jason's sunscreen. I'll be looking around this weekend for my anti-skin cancer friendly to the trees sunscreen.
Strangely enough, that day practicing in the sun, my face was absolutely fine. Not even a bit of pink. And wouldn't you know I was wearing my mineral powder? Yep. Sunscreen protection. (please don't judge makeup wearing prior to outdoor yoga... it's one of my personal journey processes...).
I hope everyone enjoys the sunny weather and Yoga in the Park! (For those Haligonians reading- Sunday June 13th, Point Pleasant Park Tour Site 10 at 11am :) )
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com