A sunscreen obsession that almost killed me

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I'm from Team Amrutam and I've a story to share with you all. 

I used to be a total sunscreen fanatic. I mean, I followed all the rules – the three-finger rule, reapplying every three hours, and wearing sunscreen even when I was indoors. I went through two bottles of 100 ml sunscreen each month! I was terrified of the sun and the potential damage it could cause.

But then something unexpected happened. During a routine checkup, my doctor took one look at me and said, "Your vitamin D levels are dangerously low." That's when it hit me – I had completely avoided the sun and deprived my body of this essential nutrient.

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, plays a crucial role in calcium absorption, bone health, immune function, and potentially reducing the risk of certain cancers. Our bodies synthesize vitamin D through exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun, a process that my excessive use of sunscreen had effectively blocked.

It got me thinking – have we gone too far with this whole sunscreen obsession?

Don't get me wrong, sun protection is important, but it's all about finding the right balance. Experts recommend getting a little bit of sun exposure to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, and then using sunscreen especially during peak UV hours. For those of us who are concerned about the potential risks of chemical sunscreens, there are alternatives out there.

Several studies have raised concerns about the long-term effects of certain chemical UV filters commonly found in sunscreens, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These compounds have been linked to endocrine disruption, potentially impacting hormonal balance and reproductive health. Furthermore, some research suggests that these chemicals may contribute to coral bleaching and harm marine ecosystems.

To mitigate these risks, individuals can opt for physical or mineral sunscreens containing active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which act as physical barriers against UV radiation. Additionally, seeking shade during peak sun hours, wearing protective clothing, and exploring natural alternatives like aloe vera gel can help minimize sun exposure while still allowing for vitamin D production.

Aloe vera gel, derived from the succulent aloe plant, has gained popularity as a sunscreen alternative. It contains antioxidants and compounds like polysaccharides and phytosterols that can provide a physical barrier against UV rays. Moreover, aloe vera gel possesses soothing and healing properties, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or concerns about chemical sunscreen ingredients.

At the end of the day, the key is to take a balanced approach. It's all about moderation and listening to our bodies. A little bit of sun can be a good thing, and a little bit of sunscreen (or natural alternatives like aloe vera gel) can be a good thing too. We don't need to completely avoid the sun or slather on sunscreen every minute of the day. Instead, we should aim for reasonable sun exposure, adequate protection during peak hours, and a mindful approach to our overall health and well-being.


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