Sun, Skin, and Sunscreen

by Amanda Moss, FNP

We woke up to rain, but by the afternoon the weather was gorgeous. Such is life in the Texas panhandle, right?

I was itching to get outside, so I went home and got ready to head out to Palo Duro Canyon for a quick hike with my dogs, Paxton and Penelope.

Our nutrition coach, Kyla, and I recently discussed natural sunscreens, like those containing carrot or coconut oil. All of the sunscreens in my drawer had expired, so I decided it was a good day to try out some coconut oil instead.

The sun was in full-force in the canyon, and it soon became clear that coconut oil may not be the best choice. I assessed the damage when I got home: not a bad burn in the hour I was outside, but I was certainly pink.

So what’s the real deal with natural sunscreens and what is their SPF? SPF is short for sun protection factor and basically, SPF is a measurement of how much UV light gets through to your skin when you're wearing sunscreen.

Research shows that olive, coconut, peppermint, and tulsi oils all have an SPF of around 7, which explains my pink, but not quite red, skin.

Combining natural ingredients may be the answer to sun safety, as each ingredient provides a different type of protection. Using just one ingredient likely isn’t enough.

As May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the most important takeaway is to use sunscreen. Remember to apply liberally and often. Though we would all like to reduce the amount of toxic products we use on our skin, the risk of skin cancer is far higher than the risk of using a less-than-natural sunscreen.

I’ll keep researching alternatives, but if you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact me or another member of the team at the Center for Functional Medicine!

Center for Functional Medicine

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Amarillo, TX 79109

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