Sunscreen While Pregnant
Do you take the time to carefully apply sunscreen each time you head outdoors? Or are worried you might lose your natural glowing tan? We don’t know about you, but we’ve certainly noticed the recent media explosion of questions over whether the use of sunscreen is safe or not. We find it quite coincidental that the countries that highly promote the use of sunscreen, are also the countries that have the highest prevalence of skin cancer. We are most interested however in whether the use of sunscreen while pregnant is safe or not.
What type of sunscreen do you use?
There are mineral based sunscreens available which typically contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the active (and natural) ingredients that help to deflect harmful UV rays. Then there are chemical based sunscreens which actually absorb UV rays.
One problem is that most sunscreens combine both natural ingredients along with a host of other chemicals. This is for a number of reasons including the fact that mineral based sunscreens don’t apply as smoothly without the “help” of added chemicals.
Chemicals to look out for
Benzophenones – Either listed on the product ingredient list as dixoybenzone or oxybenzone. They are added as a stabilizer in sunscreen but the safety of using a product containing benzophenones is of concern. The main issue raised in US National Institute of Health studies is that a UV filter BP3 used in sunscreen showed up in 96% of urine samples and 85% of breast milk samples.
Further studies need to be undertaken to examine how exactly benzophenones
affect the body but there is already a strong link to benzophenones being an endocrine disruptor which is enough to put us off using any product containing it!
Parabens – Parabens are one of the most common preservatives used in cosmetics and thank goodness they are receiving a huge amount of media attention lately as to their dangers. Look for any lengthy scientific chemical name ending in “paraben” such as “isobutyl paraben” and “propyl paraben”. They have been linked to breast cancer, infertility and other side effects.
Sunscreens ability to block vitamin D
Many sunscreens when applied correctly do a great job at blocking UV rays but also have been found to block vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for you to produce adequate levels of calcium, which in turn means healthy bone structure for your baby. It’s quite common for women to experience vitamin D deficiencies while going through pregnancy so it’s important to keep an eye on your levels.
So should I use sunscreen while pregnant?
We would never recommend against sunscreen entirely, but there are certainly safe options out there that use only natural ingredients that are checked against the safe cosmetics list. Using chemical based sunscreens while pregnant could be harmful to you and your baby, due to the latest scientific findings as we explored above. Luckily there are many safe cosmetics during pregnancy that you can use without worry of any unwanted side-effects or long term health issues.
Don’t forget about all the other forms of sun protection such as covering up with clothing and hats. It’s also important to make sure you are receiving healthy daily doses of vitamin D from the sun. Up to 20 minutes a day where possible. The best time to do this is in the morning or evening when the UV rays are not so powerful.
To summerize it all, applying sunscreen while pregnant is most defenetly advised. Just take a good look at the package for any chemicals you’d want to avoid.