I know it's not summer yet, not even spring, but here I am,
thinking about what I'll use for sunblock when I head to Nicaragua
in just 10 short weeks. Yes, during Tri break in April, several
volunteers and I will head to sunny Ometepe Island in Lake
Nicaragua on a medical brigade for the non-profit organization
Natural Doctors International. It's not exactlyonthe equator, but
it's much closer than Chicago. We'll almost certainly burn if we
aren't prepared. I should know, because Nicaragua turned me into a
crispy piece of bacon last year! And that is the only one time in
my life that I'll say anything negative about bacon.
Nicaragua 2013 on our medical brigade for Natural Doctors
So, back to the sunblock options. Clearly I chose to wear
nothing to protect me from the sun last year. If
you've seen me, you know I'm fairly far over on the pale end of the
spectrum, so this was not the correct choice. That was just bad
planning on my part.
I'll do it right. I could use the standard, commercially prepared
sunblock from the store. Yikes. Have you ever looked into the
ingredients list and the health impact of some of those
ingredients? If so, you're ready to move to the next option with me
-- coconut oil. I actually used Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut
Oil straight out of the jar while vacationing in Puerto Rico a few
months ago, and I am mildly happy to report that I barely achieved
a tan at all, despite my hours in the sun. Slather that stuff on,
and not only do you have the benefit of looking like an oiled up
body builder (that's me for sure), but you have the benefit of
approximately SPF 10 with none of the side-effects of conventional
On a side note, I'm generally against using sunblock of any kind
on a regular basis. Why? I like making Vitamin D. It's my body's
job. When you block the sun -- specifically, the
UVB rays -- you block your body's ability to synthesize
Vitamin D. Oops. Coconut oil blocks many of the UVB rays, which
also contribute to skin aging, etc., but it allows approximately
10% of them to get through and get the Vitamin D process
I'm personally bothered by the research available linking common
sunscreen ingredients to cancer (specifically
-- skin cancer!), hormone imbalance
(infertility), and neurological disorders, thus, I do not slather
it all over my children's skin or my own on any type of regular
Check out this article for a brief summary of some of the issues
associated with sunblock and some of the reasons that coconut oil
can be a better choice for your health overall: Ditch the Toxic Sunscreen; Use Coconut Oil
Instead (Natural Society).
Here is the Environmental Working Group's database of
sunblock (and other cosmetics), where you can search by brand,
see the overall rating of your favorite cancer-preventing cancer
causer, and see the health hazards of each individual
Finally, here is a snapshot of the results for a product I used
to use on myself. Curses. It scores a 7 out of 10 on the toxicity rating system,
where 10 is the most toxic.
Choose wisely, my friends.
• So What Is Chinese Medicine?
• Jabbing Nerves with Needles
• Mission in Nicaragua
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