Are Sunscreens Helpful or Harmful?

In spite of the fact that in recent years, sunscreen usage has risen dramatically for skin cancer prevention, according to EWG (Environmental Working Group,, cases of skin cancer have tripled from 7.89 in 1975 per 100,000 population to 23.57 in 2010. With the many warnings of skin cancer, many of us look at the sun as our enemy. However, most people often do not get enough good daily sunshine and thus most often lack enough Vitamin D for building and maintaining strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D3 also plays an important role in the metabolism of calcium, as well as the functions of the heart, eyes and nervous system. Being outside in the early morning for 15-30 minutes on a good brisk walk or bike is so good for adults and children too.

Over exposure to full sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm for extended periods of times without shade (when the sun’s rays are the strongest) is not good for you or your skin. When the UV (ultraviolet) rays attack, free radicals can be created which are unstable oxygen molecules that have only one electron instead of two.  Since electrons are found in pairs, these free radical molecules must raid other molecules for another electron. When the next molecule looses its electron to the first, it must also find another electron, and process repeats itself. This process can damage and alter the functions of the cells, which can cause premature wrinkling and genetic
cell damage as well.

However, are sunscreens the answer?

According to the research from EWG who published their 2014 guide in reviewing over 2000 sunscreens and 257 brands, 75% of these sunscreens contained toxic chemicals that put you at risk for many health issues. EWG stated that these readily absorb into the bloodstream and can create effects, which include estrogen and hormone disruptors, skin irritations,
allergic reactions, and damaging free radicals themselves. Many of them sold, as toxic as they are, can also be ineffective as a sunscreen.
Additionally, sun blocks with high SPF can create a calcium deficiency due to the lack of vitamin D absorption.

What might be an excellent solution? Here’s what I have found….


  • 2 oz. fractionated coconut oil (solid parts remove to remain liquid)
  • 20 drops pure lavender essential oil
  • 8 drops pure helichrysum essential oil
  • 2 drops pure rose essential oil (optional)

   - Place in 2 oz glass or amber oil container with drip cap or spritzer top.
   - Apply before going out in the sun for periods longer than 15-20 minutes.
   - Apply after being out in the sun, adding lavender essential oils for a burn.

Also, remember to just be smart:

  • Get at least 20 minutes of full sunshine daily - go on a walk or run or bike ride
  • Nourish your skin with the Ultimate Skin Protection Oil before going out for periods longer than 20 minutes
  • Cover up with clothing if out in the sun for extended periods of time.
  • If you feel you need a sunscreen for those extended periods, choose a non-toxic sunscreens with a zinc or titanium base (only)
  • If you do get burned, apply Lavender essential oil (but only a pure therapeutic grade will provide the protection you need).

Your skin is the largest organ in your body so take good care of it with healthy oils that will nourish and protect your skin - instead of adding
additional threats with toxic sunscreens!

Erleen Tilton
Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Aromatherapist - get your FREE e-book here!



Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author of Empowering Your Health and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to hit television series, he is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.