Thursday, June 16, 2011

Taking Care of the Body God Gave Us - Protection From the Sun

As summer beckons, don't forget the sunscreen! As part of caring for that temple of the Holy Spirit that is our body, we need to protect ourselves and our families from the sun. It's a good idea to protect yourself from the sun year-round, but it's especially important during the summer when the sun is brighter and people tend to spend more time outdoors. Many people are probably aware that danger comes from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones that cause the most immediate red burn, but UVA rays penetrate deep into skin to cause lasting damage and possibly future skin cancer, so it is important to screen out both.

To screen out harmful rays of the sun, what do you need? Hats, parasols/umbrellas, sunglasses and clothing to cover up are very helpful, but this is where is also pays to check the active ingredients on your sunscreen. Because I have fair skin and I have also known a number of people who have had skin cancer, this is a health issue to which I pay special attention. For those of us here in the United States, the main active ingredients to look for are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and avobenzone. Of these three, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the least likely to irritate or cause allergic reaction. The chemical avobenzone reacts differently with the skin than do the previous two physical sun blockers and some folks have had difficulty with it (in my case, my eyes swell shut if I apply avobenzone-containing sunscreen on my face). In addition, studies have come out in recent years finding that avobenzone breaks down with light exposure, which reduces its effectiveness and may generate harmful free radicals.

Due to my allergy issue and concerns related to the ongoing scientific debate on avobenzone, I tend to avoid this ingredient. While sunscreens such as No-Ad brand are cost effective and come in huge vats which makes them very tempting from a budget standpoint, I stay away because of the avobenzone and other chemicals they contain.

However, there are some very good titanium dioxide and zinc oxide based formulas. My personal favorite is a broad spectrum sunscreen from Keys Soap. The formula is very gentle and it provides excellent protection. The one issue with it is that it's not waterproof, so while it is good as an everyday sunscreen, I wouldn't use it at the beach.

When I'm going to be in the water, I often use one of the various avobenzone-free formulas offered by Badger or I'll use Johnson & Johnson baby sunscreen. There are a number of other very good sunscreens on the market, but some of them tend to come in small (1.5 oz. or less) containers and cost more than I would like to spend. I have built up quite a research file over time, so if you would like to know more about a particular brand or would like more sunscreen suggestions, just let me know in the comments! Since I know I have Australian readers, I'll point out that Blue Lizard suncreen gets very good marks everywhere I've looked and I'm told it's available there.

So, why am I talking about sunscreen on a Christian homemaker's blog? As every Christian knows, we are not solely our own creature. We were created by and belong to God and given bodies that we are admonished to keep pure and to care for. As we care for our homes, we need to care also for the people within and see to their health.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Linked up here:


  1. Our Australian sun is nasty in summer (we have the highest skin cancer rates in the world) so wearing suncream is SO important. We have ads that run in summer to remind everyone to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP - Slip on a hat, slop on suncream and slap on a shirt. I grew up with this message. Its a great way to remember!!

    All my makeup is also contains sun cream so my face has layers of it!!

    A very good reminder - so SLIP, SLOP and SLAP:)

  2. Hi Amy! Thanks for posting. I found your blog through Women Living Well and just wanted to say hi. :) As a fair-skinned redhead, I appreciated your sunscreen post. :)

  3. Thanks for the reminder. I have to admit I am not good about sunscreen!

  4. I'm better at remembering the sunscreen for the children than I am for myself. Thanks for the info!

  5. I'm with Cheryl, though there is SPF 15 in my daily moisturizer. I need to be more conscious though. Thanks for the reminder :)

    Visiting from Titus2sdays.

  6. This is good for me...our crew is 50% I need the reminder, especially since we've had so little sun out here in Oregon...when "summer" actually takes a bit for me to fall into full-swing-sun-protection.