The health benefits of coconut oil are undeniable. No matter whether consumed or applied topically, this oil can improve your health on many different levels. Aside from being beneficial for a long list of health issues, coconut oil is great for improving your skin quality as well.
Surprisingly, not many people know that coconut oil can also be used as a safe alternative to chemical-laden sunscreens.
Why Is Coconut Oil Better Skin Protection Than Sunscreen?
There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun – UVA, which mostly account for skin damage from excessive sun exposure (this can lead to cancer and premature skin aging) and UVB, which can also lead to damage and sunburn, but are also indispensable for the production of cancer-protective vitamin D in your body.
There’s no doubt that sun exposure is the best way to ensure optimal vitamin D production in your body. So, if you block the UVB rays completely, which most commercial sunscreens do, you will actually put yourself at a higher risk of cancer because you’ll be blocking vitamin D absorption.
As written in an excerpt from a 2012 CNN article about sunscreens:
“The EWG said consumers should not purchase sunscreens with SPF greater than 50. SPF (sun protection factor) works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin. It is very misleading to put high SPF numbers on labels because it gives consumers a false sense of security and doesn’t offer a lot more protection.”
You may think that the higher the SPF, the better the protection, but a higher the number doesn’t always provide more health benefits. Namely, research has found that sunscreen with SPF 15 can block about 93% of all incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%.
“A product with SPF 100+ blocks about 99.1 percent of the UVB rays. You don’t really need a high number. They end up being expensive and don’t offer more protection than SPF 50. Keep in mind, SPF protects only against UVB rays.”
In addition, sunscreens pose an additional health risk owing to the long list of carcinogenic ingredients they contain.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has revealed that harmful chemicals linked to cancer and disrupt hormones have been found in almost 75% of store-bought sunscreens. Some of these chemicals include:
- Retinyl palmitate, a known skin cancer risk factor;
- Oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor that causes cell damage and cancer;
- Zinc and titanium nanoparticles found in colorless sun screen lotions.
When these chemicals are rubbed into your skin and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are just as dangerous as toxins taken in orally.
According to Bruce Fife, ND, and author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil, coconut oil can protect against sunburns and cancer when applied on the skin. Plus, extra virgin coconut oil, which is unrefined, doesn’t fully block the UVB rays needed for vitamin D synthesis in the body, which is the case with commercial sunscreen. What coconut oil does is protect the skin and underlying tissues from damage caused by excessive sun exposure. Plus, it extremely favorable for tanning as it gives a light tan instead of burning or turning red.
As stated by Fife, “Consuming coconut oil also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.” However, he raises awareness against using hydrolyzed or processed oil, which doesn’t provide the same health benefits as pure and unrefined coconut oil does.
To sum up, you daily sun exposure is vital for your overall health because it’s the best way to help your body create health-boosting vitamin D. However, overexposure can trigger serious health issues, mostly in relation to your skin health. To protect your skin health from dangerous UV rays, use unrefined coconut oil. It’s the safest sun protection alternative.
So, the next time you head for the beach or the pool take some extra virgin coconut oil from your pantry instead of a toxic sunscreen product.