After more than 25 years of playing soccer, I have played through all kinds of weather conditions – 80-degree dry sunny Sacramento, 95% humidity in tropical Puerto Rico, 100-degree desert temperatures in southern California and 90-degree windy nights in Trinidad & Tobago. With hot temperatures and scorching sun, I have to rely on conventional chemical sunscreens to protect my skin. I dreaded the thick, greasy lotions that left my skin grimy and in bad condition with red bumps, rashes, dry patches and clogged pores. That was only what was happening on the surface.
On a deeper level, tons of chemicals permeated the skin’s layers and absorbed directly into my body. Scientifically speaking, using a minimal amount of harmful ingredients on one day does not cause cancer, but the accumulation of synthetic ingredients year after year is a huge risk.
Spending all of those hours outside, I thought I was protecting myself by slathering on sunscreen by the gallon, but where did it leave me now in 2016, considering all of the harmful crap I put on my body? Despite alleged sunscreen technology (add nano source), skin cancer has still grown over the past 35 years – what is going wrong?
Thinking back to all of the summer soccer camps and tournaments spending 8 hours a day outside got me thinking. Is that what happened to me? Did my body, organs and health systems absorb pounds of toxins and carcinogens? What happened to those chemicals? Are they still present in my body? Am I still at risk for mistakes I made years ago? Who is responsible when every product in stores had dangerous, hidden chemicals – the consumer, the store or the corporations?
I knew I did not want chemicals in my body, but I did not know the first step to make. Why didn’t I want to treat my skin as strict as my athlete diet of quality ingredients, super foods and vitamins? Deciding to take my health into my own hands, I did research. I chose to rid my sunblock of oxybenzone, octinoxate, nanoparticles and chemicals that could possibly disrupt my body’s endocrine system, natural hormones, organ function and cellular health.
It is so confusing when you read articles explaining that 0%, 60% or even 100% of everything on the skin is absorbed. The only thing that scientists have really proven is that ingredients with particles less than 500 Daltons (the mass measurement for particles) can penetrate the skin’s layers. Some things are a risk, yes, but not everything is harmful. However, why take risks when you don’t need to?
Of those ingredients absorbed, oxybenzone, causing allergic reactions and possibly cell damage, is one of the most dangerous. It is not only present in sunscreen, but also in over 550 other body care products. This synthetic component directly absorbs into the body and tested to be “present in 97% of Americans.” Other sunscreen chemical examples include octyl-methoxycinnamate, which has thyroid hormone-disrupting effects and found in over 800 sunscreens and homosalate, a hormone-disrupting UVB blocker and found in over 400 sunscreens.
Kunz provided yet another perspective in 2006 that explained the chemicals in sunscreens have “a greater effect in combination than individually,” which proves the more chemicals used in products, the more dangerous the risks.
Once you become tired of the risk associated with using chemicals, the best option is to only use physical, mineral sunscreens. Once you’ve decided to switch to natural sunscreens, there is a second risk you need to know about. Minerals (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) contain nano particles. The problem is that these particles are small enough to penetrate through pores, causing internal side effects, as well as breathing problems or lung damage through inhalation. Furthermore, scientific tests resulted in superior protection over titanium dioxide.
We made a conscious decision at Sport Botanics to use only non-nano zinc oxide that cannot penetrate the skin and cause damage. Nor can the particles be inhaled because the sunscreen is in liquid form.
If you don’t believe me about all this chemical mumbo jumbo in cosmetics, check this video out below: The Story of Cosmetics.
why for athletes
Since the age of 3.5, I’ve been and will always be an athlete. I’ve learned over the years what I put on my skin was directly absorbed and, sometimes, affected my performance on the field.
For these reasons, we developed an organic, vegan and animal-friendly body care line for high-performance athletes. Eventually, the entire product range will be introduced by Spring of 2017, but we started by launching Defense – an SPF Sunscreen – just in time for summer that helps you burn your opponents, not your skin.
Elite outdoor athletes need an effective sun protector that is simple to use and easy to travel with. Defense protects against both UVA & UBA rays, stays put when sweating and is non-irritating.
This product is for outdoor athletes and designed with specific organic ingredients. Zinc oxide is an active natural, broad spectrum element that blocks UVA and UVB rays. Ours contains no harmful nanoparticles that can permeate through pores and cause damage. This is the only non-organic product used due to the FDA prohibiting organic labels for minerals, salt and water.
Organic jojoba and sunflower seed oil soothe, moisturize and heal, while organic shea butter nourishes and deeply hydrates. Lastly, organic olive oil helps lock in moisture and leaves a non-greasy feeling. One of the other reasons I fell in love with this product is that all of the inactive ingredients (Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60 & Non-GMO Vitamin E) are from sunflower seeds and coconut.
Some of you don’t know what to do about your skin problems. Some of you are looking for organic products, while some of you already use organic cosmetics. Whatever your motivation, your skin, body and hair will be hydrated, repaired and protected from the elements after using Defense SPF Sunscreen. The only thing you need to focus on is training hard, running fast and beating the competition. Sport Botanics is the only body care you will need as a high-performance athlete.