Spray sunscreeens are popular, especially for use on children. But safety experts are particularly concerned about the possibility that people might accidentally breathe in the ingredients, a risk that’s greatest in children, who—as any parent knows—are more likely to squirm around when they’re being sprayed.
• I suggest not using sprays on children. If you have no other product available, spray the sunscreen onto your hands and rub it on. As with all sunscreens, be especially careful on the face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Try to avoid inhaling it!
• Make sure you apply enough. Tests have found that sprays can work well when used properly—but it is harder to make sure that you apply enough, especially when it’s windy. It is recommended to spray as much as can be evenly applied, and then repeating, just to be safe. On windy days, you might want to spray the sunscreen on your hands and rub it on.
Sensible sun exposure is crucially important as your body produces vitamin D in response to UVB light striking your skin. The primary risk of skin cancer is from getting sunburned. This inflammatory process damages your skin. Aside from covering up before you get burned, you can reduce your risk of sunburn by eating plenty of anti-oxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. You can also supplement with astaxanthin which acts as an effective internal sunscreen. A naturally occurring substance, astaxanthin, is a carotenoid or fat-soluble plant pigment that gives certain marine plants and animals their pink or red colors. Subjects who took 4 milligrams of astaxanthin per day for two weeks showed a significant increase in the amount of time it took for UV radiation to redden their skin. Eat an array of fresh, raw unprocessed foods to deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 which are the first lines of defense against sunburn.
Identifying a Safe Sunscreen:
- The two known safe sunscreen ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and they must be NON-nano-sized.
- The safest is a lotion or cream with zinc oxide. It is stable in sunlight and provides the best protection from UVA rays.
- The next best option is titanium dioxide. Make sure that the product will protect from both UVA and UVB rays.
- SPF protects only from UVB rays. These are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allow your skin to produce vitamin D. The most dangerous rays are UVA. These are the ones that cause cancer and skin damage.
- SPF above 50 tends to provide a false sense of security, encouraging you to staying in the sun too long.
- Higher the SPF does not provide much greater protection. In fact, Consumer Reports found that many sunscreens are far less effective than claimed on the label – 24 of 73 products evaluated offered less than half the protection promised.
The FDA has an acronym for “generally recognized as safe and effective’ – Grase. “Grase” sunscreen products are mineral blockers that sit on top of the skin to physically block the sun’s rays instead of protecting the skin through a chemical reaction to light.
– Contact Meredith Perabo, Senior Manager at Beautycounter, www.beautycounter.com/meredithperabo, for personalized help
Continue to read labels!
One ingredient in particular is a cause for concern: the preservative methylisothiazolinone. It is used alone or in mixtures. Methylisothiazolinone is a skin sensitizer or allergen. Over the past several years, physicians have reported serious cases of skin allergies, most notably in children exposed to methylisothiazolinone, by baby wipes and products meant to be left on the skin. In a study published in 2014, researchers at Baylor University surveyed the ingredients in 152 children’s body care products labeled “hypoallergenic” and found methylisothiazolinone in 30 of them. The American Contact Dermatitis Society named methylisothiazolinone its “allergen of the year” in 2013.
In 2015, researchers from 15 American and Canadian clinics reported an increase in methylisothiazolinone allergies in patients. The researchers concluded they had documented “the beginning of the epidemic of sensitivity to methyliosthiazolinones in North America”. That methylisothiazolinone has become relatively common in sunscreen is a matter of concern because sunscreen users are likely to be exposed to significant concentrations of it. The products that contain it are intended to be applied to large portions of the body and reapplied often.
In March 2015, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety concluded that no concentration of the chemical could be considered safe in leave-on cosmetic products. But methylisothiazolinone is still allowed in U.S. products. In 2014 the Cosmetics Ingredient Review, or CIR, expert panel – an independent body the American cosmetics industry pays to advise it on the safety of cosmetics ingredients – told the industry that methylisothiazolinone was safe for use in body care products as long as manufacturers came up with formulations that wouldn’t cause allergic reactions. Since FDA has little legal power to regulate cosmetics ingredient safety, it has authorized the cosmetics industry to police itself through this panel, but it’s recommendations are not legally binding, and in several decades, it has declared, as I outlined in last week’s blog, only 12 ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe.
Apricots are orange colored fruits full of beta-carotene and fiber that are one of the first signs of summer. Although dried and canned apricots are available year-round, fresh apricots are in season in North America from May through August. Any fresh fruit you see during the winter months have been imported from either South America or New Zealand.
Relatives to peaches, apricots are small, with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy but perfectly sweet. Apricots will grow wild and are recorded as far back as prehistoric times. They were present in ancient Greece and Rome, and many experts claim that original cultivation happened in India more than 3,000 years ago.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, apricots contain vitamin A, C, K, E, and niacin in significant amounts. They also contain a number of other essential vitamins in trace amounts (less than 5% of daily requirement). Apricots also have good mineral content, which includes potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They are a very good source of dietary fiber. Apricots have nearly all the minerals necessary for bone growth like calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and copper. Add apricots in season for healthy growth and development of your bones, as well as prevention of various age-related bone conditions, including osteoporosis. Owing to the presence of iron and copper, apricots help in the formation of hemoglobin, particularly helpful in treating anemia.
Apricots are a wonderful way to protect your heart from a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. A high amount of vitamin C, as well as potassium and dietary fiber, all contribute to goodhealth.
Apricot oil is good for skin care. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and soaks in after application. Apricots are not just useful for maintaining the smooth and shiny appearance of the skin; they also aid in improving a number of skin diseases including eczema, itching, scabies, and a number of other irritating conditions. This is specifically due to the antioxidant compounds found in apricots. Not only do they have a healthy amount of vitamin A, which has long been associated with healthier skin, but the antioxidants in apricots protect the skin from the effects of free radicals, which can lead to skin deterioration and signs of premature aging.
There are no inherent dangers of eating apricots, except for normal allergies that some people might have. However, there is some concern about the nature of its dried form. Sulfites are found in most dried foods. Sulfites can seriously impact asthma and induce asthmatic attacks. Consume fresh apricots, rather than dried versions, when they are available. Also, apricot seeds have been known to cause cyanide poisoning in some people, so make sure you do not ingest or eat the seeds.
How to Buy
Look for apricots that have a golden color and are firm.
Avoid apricots that are pale yellow or greenish-yellow, rock hard, very soft or shrivled.
How to Store
Ripen apricots in a paper bag at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Unripe apricots can be stored at room temperature up to 5 days. Refrigerate ripe apricots in a sealed container up to one week. (Be sure that they are ripened first, as they will not ripen in the refrigerator.)
How to Cook
Slice the ripe apricot at the natural seam, twist the apricot in half, and remove the pit.
Grill apricots, add them to rice pilaf or make apricot chutney. Apricots are delicious with grated lemon zest and juice, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, freshly grated nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cardamom, or mint!
Deborah Madison, The Greens Cookbook
2 pounds of apricots
12 ounces of cherries
25 grams/1 ounce of sugar or more to taste
1 1/2 T tapioca
115 grams/4 ounces gluten free baking flour
115 grams/4 ounces brown sugar
pinch of salt
115 grams/5 ounces unsalted butter or Earth Balance non-dairy butter in sticks, cut into small pieces
Rinse the fruit; then slice the apricots in half and remove the pits.
Cut the halves into thick slices or chunks. Apricots often ripen unevenly, but don’t hesitate to include those parts that are soft to the point of being mushy. They will cook into a sauce as the crumble bakes.
Stone the cherries.
Combine the fruit and toss them with the sugar and tapioca. If the cherries are especially tart, add more sugar to taste.
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
Add the butter and work together with your fingers until the ingredients are blended.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Pour the fruit into a gratin dish with a 2 1/2 pint capacity .
Cover it with the topping and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and there is a thick juice around the edge.
Remove the crumble from the oven and let it rest.
Serve warm with warm coconut cream or coconut vanilla ice cream.