What’s The Problem With Sunscreens?

sunscreens should be applied before hitting the beachThe sunscreens that we are told to use every day are now the focus of two respected consumer watchdog  organizations.  And they came up with two very different  lists of problems and recommendations.  Now what?

The venerable Consumer Reports reviewed  more than 60 lotions, sprays and sticks , all with an SPF over 30.  After rigorous testing ( more rigorous than required by the FDA) they reported that a startling 43% failed to deliver on their promised SPF.  Even more surprising, only 25% of mineral based sunscreens reached expected levels.  By contrast 58% of chemical sunscreens met promised protection levels. While better than the coverage than mineral sun protection formulations, its still leaves  much doubt about your protection on a sunny day.

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Question and Answer: What’s the Problem with Dimethicone?

Question: I’ve seen ads for make-up that claim its dimethicone free.  What is dimethicone and why should I care if  its in my skin care products?  Can  it damage my  skin or cause environmental  problems?

Answer:  Dimethicone is a type of silicone. It is an especially large molecule that stays on the surface of the skin and  form a protective barrier.  Dimethicone is used in practically every type of toiletry including  moisturizers, sunscreens, eye cream, eye make-up shampoo and  diaper ointment.

The FDA has approved dimethicone  as safe and effective for personal care products.  Dimehticone is not on lists of chemicals which are suspected to cause health problems.  In addition, its not been found in human cells  or urine, indicating that it stays on the skin’s surface. Even the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which finds a problem with practically everything, have … Continue Reading…

Organic Lettuce– Healthy but Tasteless

Reading about all the pesticides and herbacides in fruits and vegetables, I finally scared myself.  I decided to start buying  organic versions of the produce  that has the highest chemicals levels  when grown in  commercial farms.  This week I started with a beautiful head of organic  lettuce that came with impressive credentials.   Grown hydroponically, it stated in no less than three languages that had been grown without  pesticides.

It was a real beauty, like a giant green rose. First I made a simple salad with a light vinegrette.  As soon as I tossed the salad,  the leaves collapsed into a pale green sludge.  The next day I  put a leaf on a tuna salad sandwich, and  the lettuce tasted thin and bitter.  After two  bites, I pried open the … Continue Reading…

Are Organic Foods Healthier?

I have to confess that I  felt pretty smug about following the NHANES  anti-aging data and started to meet  the recommended 5-7 daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  Given that the study linked high levels of vitamin C to  fewer wrinkles I was convinced I was on the right track. My sense of accomplishment was rattled  when I read that vegetarians  can have  higher levels of pesticides in their body because  they eat more  produce.  Not what I wanted to hear.   The article suggested that vegans and vegetarians eat organic foods, grown without pesticides to  get the health benefits of increased intake of fruits  and veggies without risk of additional chemicals.

Sounds reasonable but organic foods are significantly more expensive  than traditionaly grown  fruits and vegetables.  In my local market … Continue Reading…