Did you know that sun exposure is actually good for you? Our skin takes in the sun and our body makes vitamin D, a vital nutrient for healthy bones and teeth. But there is such a thing as having too much fun in the sun. More than 10-60 minutes of unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin damage, cancer, eye damage and immune system issues. A simple safety measure for sun protection is that bottle of sunscreen you keep in your medicine cabinet. Or so you thought. Some sunblocks have detrimental side effects for your skin and long term health. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips on how to find the safest sunscreens this summer!
1. Check Sunscreen Labels for Chemicals
Just as you might read a nutrition label before purchasing a snack, you should read the ingredient labels of skincare products. Steer clear of sunscreens containing oxybenzone, a chemical linked to cell damage and hormone disruption. Another ingredient you should avoid is retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that could potentially accelerate the development of skin lesions when applied in sunlight. Opt instead for lotions containing zinc or titanium oxide, both of which are not easily absorbed into the skin or broken down in the sun.
2. Choose Sunscreens Approved by EWG
Every year, the Environmental Working Group puts together a reference guide on sunscreens. The guide evaluates the effectiveness of popular brands on the market so that consumers like you can make informed and safe purchasing decisions. According to this year’s EWG study, 24% of SPF products would not pass the 2019 FDA standards.
3. Opt Out of Aerosol
Though spray-on sunscreens can be tempting in their functionality and ease, try to avoid them when you can. Aerosol applicators increase the risk of ingesting sunblock particles, which could enter your bloodstream and cause serious organ damage.
4. Find Sunscreens That Protects Against UVA and UVB
You may not know it, but the sun actually emits two different kinds of wavelengths: UVA and UVB. Make sure you purchase a sunscreen that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can infiltrate cloud coverage and cause wrinkles, accelerate skin aging and destroy vitamin D. UVB rays, on the other hand, are primarily responsible for blisters and sunburn. Make sure to safeguard your skin against premature ageing, painful burns and irreparable, long-term damage by using a sunscreen that blocks both wavelengths.
5. Avoid Sunscreens with “High SPF”
Don’t fall for packaging that advertises a high SPF. Most of the time, an SPF higher than 30 is excessive, as higher SPFs are only slightly more effective than lower SPF lotions. With a high SPF, you may even develop a false sense of security and spend more time out in the sun without reapplying. Instead, stick to lower SPF sunscreens and reapply frequently, especially after swimming or sweating.
Have Safe, Fun in the Sun this Summer!
Before you buy just any sunscreen, make an informed purchasing decision. Read ingredient labels, lean towards lotions and make sure the brand you’re considering blocks both UVA and UVB wavelengths. Remember that a limited amount of sun exposure is actually beneficial to your health, but if you plan on spending a lengthy period of time out in the sun, plan on wearing more clothes or finding a safe sunscreen to apply to your skin!
Seeking a professional consultant for best skincare practices? Dr. Lorraine Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional, and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are. If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, happier life, schedule your visit today!