Non-Toxic Alternatives to Sunscreen

Non-Toxic Alternatives to Sunscreen

Now that summer is here, many people are using sunscreen-based creams or simply applying sunscreen to protect their skin. Sunscreen is an important protector against harmful UV rays. Unfortunately, few people actually look at what is in their sunscreen and research which ingredients are toxic.

Your skin is your largest organ – and for many of us it is one of our most treasured features. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to read the label on every skincare product and research each ingredient. If a bottle says “Natural” or “Nontoxic”, many Americans believe the product is safe. Unfortunately, these terms mean very little when it comes to health and safety as they are not strictly regulated. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it “has not engaged in rulemaking to establish a formal definition for the term ‘natural.’” There are also no specific standards listed for the “nontoxic” label.

Chemicals to avoid when buying skincare products

Because the overall labeling of a product as “Nontoxic” or “Natural” is so inaccurate, it’s important that you read every ingredient of skincare products you plan to use. Here is a cheat sheet of ingredients to avoid in any skincare product:

  • Benzophenone and its derivatives like benzophenone-2 (BP2), dioxybenzone, oxybenzone (BP3), or sulisobenzone
  • Butylated compounds like butylated hydroxyanisole(BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Cinoxate
  • Ethanolamine compounds including diethanolamine, oleamide DEA, stearamide MEA, TEA-lauryl sulfate, and triethanolamine
  • Formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and DMDM hydantoin
  • Fragrance
  • Heavy metals like aluminum, arsenic, lead, or mercury
  • Homosalate (also called 3,3,5-trimethyl-cyclohexyl-salicylate or HMS)
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Mineral Oil
  • Nitrosamines – called diethanolamine (DEA) or triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Octinoxate, also called Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicyclate, OMC, parsol, escalol, or  2-ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate
  • Octocrylene
  • PABA including OD-PABA, padimate O, 4-aminobenzoic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid, Et-PABA, 2-ethylhexyl ester, p-carboxyaniline
  • Parabens
  • Phenylbenzimidazole or ensulizole
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Vitamin A

That’s a lot of ingredients! Take a look at your skin products that include an SPF rating (and yes, that includes bottles of sunscreen). If they have any of the above ingredients in them, you may be putting dangerous chemicals on your skin.

Don’t worry, there are products that exist without these ingredients. You can also follow our directions below for a DIY sunscreen.

Ingredients in our DIY Natural Sunscreen

Before we give you a recipe for homemade all-natural sunscreen, we wanted to talk about why some of these ingredients are recommended.

  1. Cold pressed virgin olive oil

Olive oil is great all around. It tastes delicious, has wonderful moisturizing properties and has an SPF rating of 8. We recommend cold pressed virgin olive oil for use in homemade sunscreen as this is the specific type of oil that has been tested for an SPF rating.

Olive oil can not only protect your skin from the sun, it contains antioxidants that will help skin recover from environmental damage. So, if you some suffered skin damage from the sun, from burns or just from aging, olive oil may help you recover.

  1. Coconut oil

With so many fantastic uses, it’s no wonder that coconut oil also has an SPF rating of 8. Coconut oil will not only will it protect your skin from the sun, it penetrates and moisturizes through layers of your skin. Additionally, coconut oil smells great!

  1. Zinc Oxide

This product is considered one of the safest for broad-spectrum sunscreen. Zinc is an essential mineral that we use in our body and it’s the only active sunscreen ingredient that has been approved by the FDA for infants under six months old.

We all remember zinc as a white cream or white strip that lifeguards have used to protect their noses. This highlights the one downside to utilizing zinc oxide in a homemade sunscreen – it has a tendency to clump into a white mass. That’s why we have put together this natural, DIY sunscreen. The formula used has minimal clumping – offering greater all-around effectiveness.

DIY Sunscreen Formula

1/2 cup cold pressed virgin olive oil

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup beeswax

2 tablespoons zinc oxide

1 teaspoon vitamin E

2 tablespoons shea butter

6 drops  helichrysum essential oil

6 drops of lavender essential oil

Directions:

Add everything except zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.

Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat. Place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan so that the saucepan is cradling the bowl.

As the ingredients start to melt, stir occasionally to mix.

Add the zinc oxide and helichrysum essential oil and mix well. This may take quite a bit of stirring.

Apply!

We have many other great DIY formulas and recommendations for natural skincare here at Change for the Health of It. If you are looking for personal health advice, be sure to contact us today.

 

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1253722/

http://www.greenerchoices.org/eco-labels/label.cfm?LabelID=131

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm456090.htm

http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/products/sunscreens/

http://www.lovelivehealth.com/5-natural-oils-that-protect-your-skin-as-well-as-sunscreen/

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really Work

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really Work

Ten Summer Weight Loss Tips That Really WorkIt’s summer! Sleeves are shorter, shorts are regular weekend wear and we are heading to the beach or pool. This is the time of year when men and women around the U.S. want to lose weight. Whether you have a few stubborn inches that don’t seem to want to go away or you have a lot of weight to lose, we have the strategy for you.

The Most Common Weight Loss Challenges

Losing weight is often a challenging experience. Let’s face it, often we feel deprived, starving, and grumpy during a diet. If you face the following weight loss challenges, remember that you are not alone:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Making short-term changes only
  • Bad diet/weight loss information
  • Losing focus
  • Feeling hungry
  • Temptations

These common obstacles make losing weight a frustrating experience for anyone. However, they can absolutely be conquered or even avoided. The ten weight loss tips below can help you move past these issues and reach your weight loss goals.

Ten Weight Loss Tips

Alright, you have seen the obstacles to your weight loss. How can you overcome them? Find out here:

1. Dedicate yourself to making a permanent change.

A “diet” is a transient thing that begins and ends after a specific weight goal is reached. Often, when we are done dieting, we go right back to our old bad habits that made us gain weight in the first place.

Instead of deciding to diet for thirty days and deprive yourself of every pleasure in life to try and look great in a bathing suit, change your perspective. Do you want to become more healthy? Would you like to stay at a specific weight all-year-round? Discover the goal that would help you stop dieting and change your lifestyle for good.

2. Keep a food journal

A food journal is more than just writing down what you ate. It’s a discovery of your eating habits and how they made you feel. Instead of just listing the foods you are eating every day, record this:

  • Everything you’ve been eating and drinking, along with the time of day.
  • What you were doing while eating? Were you on the go, at a social function, eating at your desk?
  • How did you feel while you ate? Were you happy, sad, bored, starving, or anxious?
  • How did the food you ate make you feel? Were you stuffed, exhausted, energized?
  • At the end of the day, take a look at how your emotions affected your eating and consider how you felt after you ate.

A food journal is a great way for you to spot eating habits you should break (eating in the car or grabbing fast food on-the-go) and it can also show you how specific foods make you feel. Maybe that burger and fries filled you up, but if it made you feel exhausted and low-energy after you ate it, you will have additional incentive to change your choice in food.

3. Get someone to help you

Changing your lifestyle in a beneficial way, whether you are dieting or exercising – or both – can be difficult. Ask a friend or hire a health coach to keep you on track. If you ask a friend to be your diet buddy, be sure to set up “check in” times when you call or text each other. Also, see if you both can go to the same exercise class or head out for a hike on weekends to compare notes.

4. Set up health milestones

As you head toward your weight loss goal, be sure to establish specific milestones. These don’t always have to be weight related. Instead, try setting up health related milestones. For example, you may want to shoot for feeling energized all day long. Another milestone could be that you exercised each morning, or that you drank eight 8oz glasses of water in one day. No matter what your weight goal is, these health milestones can help you stay encouraged and enjoy the changes you are making to your body.

5. Give yourself rewards

As you reach a health milestone, be sure to reward yourself. Don’t use food or “cheat days” as a reward, however. Instead, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, get a sitter and head to karaoke with friends, give yourself the guilt-free time to sit in the park and finally finish your book, or have fun vegging on the couch watching your favorite show. Just be sure that the reward is something that makes you happy!

6. Remove all unhealthy food from your house

In my experience, when there is food that is bad for you in the house, it will get eaten – most likely by you. Instead of constantly having to resist a temptation, remove any unhealthy food from your home and replace it with food that is good for you. There are delicious, vegan ice creams you can make with coconut oil, frozen bananas, unsweetened cocoa powder or strawberries, a drop of vanilla extract, and some maple syrup for taste. These types of simple snacks can help you end your cravings and start enjoying your new lifestyle.

7. Start exercising

Diet and exercise are always the two largest parts of any weight loss program. If you are working hard to lose inches, it’s important to begin an exercise routine.

While ideally you would be exercising every day for a half an hour or more, I know that life can get in the way. Instead of setting unrealistic expectations, try a gradual approach to exercise. Sign up for one or two group classes a week. Dedicate time every couple of days for a swim or a hike. Take the dog on a jog or play with your kids at the park. Exercise doesn’t have to be something formal like Pilates, yoga or spin class. You can get out and live life while still exercising.

8. Beat low energy moments by taking vitamins

Here at Change for the Health of It, we provide a proprietary blend that helps beat stress, anxiety and lower energy while our clients are dieting. While I can’t give you the formula for our blend, the vitamins below can help you keep your energy up and your mind focused:

  • All of the B vitamins, including B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E

9. Eat at normal meal times

It’s often tempting to simply skip meals to encourage weight loss. This generally leaves one starving and ready to eat anything. Instead, eat at your normal meal times and focus on enjoying the food that you eat. By changing your focus from worrying about your food and your weight to eating a healthy meal and enjoying it, you are more likely to be aware of your food and stop eating when you are full.

10. Don’t beat yourself up

If you slip up in your diet or you miss a day you had dedicated to exercise, don’t beat yourself up about it. So many people stop eating healthily or end their exercise programs because they missed a day or messed up one time. It’s okay to have days when you aren’t perfect. We are all human. So, don’t throw all of your great work and effort to the wind because of one mistake. Instead, remind yourself of your health goal and work toward your health milestones.

Changing your lifestyle is a big step, but it’s a worthwhile one. Here at Change for the Health of It, we help people just like you lose weight successfully throughout the year. Click here to get more information on our effective weight loss program.