Using a moisturizer with sun protection everyday is non-negotiable. For women I would suggest a BB cream with anywhere between 20-35 SPF. Evidence has shown that above 30 SPF, there’s not much more protection.
Beware of the advice to generously use sunscreens as an antidote to the suns UV radiation. The irony here is that the evidence showing that sunscreen prevents skin cancer is incomplete, and some studies have even shown an increased risk with sunscreen use – possibly because people are not applying sunscreen’s correctly. Or because they spend more time in the sun, believing they are truly protected from the radiation.
Most people buy whatever sunscreen is labelled with the highest SPF, and assume it’s the best. This can be so misleading. FDA has issued rigorous new rules designed to sort out the confusing world of sunscreens.
Sunscreens most now equally protect against UVB and UVA rays, and can no longer claim to be “sweatproof” or “waterproof” as both feats are impossible. There’s also a proposal on the table to limit SPF levels at 50 (anything more is unwarranted).
Lets start by the basics, HOW does a sunscreen work?
There are two types of sunscreens available – chemical & physical. Each sunscreen can be effective by working different mechanisms to block the UV rays.
- Chemical sunscreens, including oxybenzone and octyl methocynnamate protect the skin by absorbing the suns rays. They do this by actually seeping deep within the skin. This is why we are told to apply 20 minutes prior to going outdoors. Most people enjoy chemical sunscreens because they are easy to apply and they don’t leave a thick film behind.
- Physical sunscreens, which utilizes zinc oxide and titanium oxide as active ingredients have one key draw back, which is functionality. They could leave behind a film upon application.
However we are hearing more and more about allergic reactions caused by chemical sunscreens, because oxybenzone can cause allergic reactions. If that’s the case I would suggest choosing protection containing zinc, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl instead. Also oxybenzone is linked to horomone disruption – endocrine disruptions.
Concerns are always what to choose? The first thing is to ensure you are using a good stable sun protection. Don’t leave it out in the heat all day, and keep an eye on the expiry date. When looking at the list of ingredients try to use the one with the fewest ingredients with toxicity concerns. Do not use a sunscreen which contains retinly palmitate and if possible try to avoid oxybenzone. Whenever possible avoid sprays or powders.
- A hat that helps protect areas that are the most vulnerable to sun damage like the scalp and nose.
- Apply suncreen 30 minutes before going outdoors.
- Apply correctly - adults need to apply an ounce (palmful) every 2 hours. DO reapply after swimming.
- If allergic reaction occurs, stop use and stay out of the sun.
- For everyday, use a good quality BB cream with 25 or 35% SPF.
- To avoid breakouts double cleanse your skin at night. Or use a cleanser with 5% glycolic or salicylic acid.
- Use a Clarisonic brush to better cleanse the sunscreen off – if blemishes appear do the double cleanse.
- You shouldn’t wait until wrinkles appear to start using anti-aging products.
Keep in mind there are positive effects of sunlight. Spending time outdoors can be nourishing! So while enjoying the sun on those lazy days generously reapply sunscreen to exposed skin.
It’s all about saving one skin at a time!
picture credit: Elmada
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