Protecting your skin when you’re in the sun is incredibly important, especially if you’re someone who has fare skin (such as myself). Being exposed to too much sun can not only lead to incredibly painful burns, but they can also result in even more painful lesions and blisters that can last for weeks on end.
Everybody knows that irresponsible sun exposure leads to bad things happening to your body. As a result of this, many people lather on layers on sunscreen for protection. Although this may help protect your skin from the sun, if you happen to be a male then there is a good chance that it can drastically lower your fertility by stopping the function of your sperm cells.
Sunscreen and Male Fertility
According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, many of the filters commonly used in commercial sunscreen to block out the ultraviolet (UV) rays also has a negative effect on male fertility.
Researchers say that this is due to the fact that these filters keep sperm cells from functioning properly. The filters are included in a list of a variety of chemicals that can effect both male and female fertility, otherwise known as endocrine disruptors.
29 out of the 31 UV filters approved for use in both the United States and Europe were tested by dissolving them into sperm samples sent in by participants who had a healthy level of fertility. Researchers found that half of the filters that they tested caused the sperm cells to stop functioning properly.
According to Niel Skakkebaek, study leader, this may explain the low levels of fertility found around the world.
“Globally, we see that semen quality is generally very poor,” Skakkebaek said. “These results are of concern and might explain in part why unexplained infertility is so prevalent.”
Skakkebaek explains how sunscreen threatens fertility by its ability to mimic a female hormone called progesterone, and because it is so easily absorbed into the skin and body.
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“When you put sunscreen on the skin, some of the UV filters can penetrate the skin and go into the bloodstream,” Skakkebark said. “If chemicals can work like progesterone, they can potentially affect the sperm function.”
Natural Sunscreen Alternatives
Although there is reason to believe that men may be putting their sperm at risk by wearing sunscreen, this doesn’t mean that they should forgo sun protection in general.
Milk thistle. The seeds of milk thistle contain a flavonoid compound called silymarin. This compound has been shown to not only prevent sunburns caused by UV radiation but it has also been found to reduce UV-light induced tumors by 92%, suggesting it is also effective at preventing skin cancer caused by the sun.
Milk thistle-based lotions and moisturizers are easily available and contain this skin protecting compound.
Olive and coconut oil. Both olive and coconut oil have surprising skin-protective benefits, with each of them having an SPF of 8. This means that using these oils as sunscreen can protect your skin from sun exposure for up to two hours.
Wear clothes. This is by far the most effective way to protect your skin from the sun. Depending on the density and thickness of your clothes, they can prevent up 100% of UV rays from reaching your skin, making it the most effective way to protect your skin from the sun. Wear light, long-sleeve shirts and wide-brimmed hats for the best protection.
For more ways to protect your skin and a natural, homemade sunscreen recipe, click here.
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