With the unofficial start of summer here, it is time to start thinking about how to keep our skin safe when out and about in the sun. Although it is recommended to wear an SPF year round, we start thinking about it now that we are spending more time outside, gardening, cooking out, relaxing, and going on vacation. The best way to protect ourselves from the sun is to cover up, wear a big hat and sunglasses, finding shade, and using a beach tent if you are planning on being in the sun for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so I have put together some facts and resources on staying sun safe with sunscreen!
You may be wondering which sunscreens are the best. To be honest, I don’t have a perfect answer, but I can help guide you to find a sunscreen that can best fit your needs. As we are becoming more aware of the toxins in mass produced skincare products, I find myself choosing physical sunscreens over chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are a good option for those of us who may have skin that is sensitive/sensitized, acneic, or is experiencing any other skin conditions.
There are two types of sunscreen’s, physical and chemical. The packaging may not label your sunscreen as such, so it is always a good idea to know what to look for in the ingredients. These ingredients are also good to know when looking for something like a daily moisturizer with an SPF.
A physical sunscreen’s active ingredients will include titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide. These are mineral based ingredients that will reflect or scatter some of the UV rays.
A chemical sunscreen’s active ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) and will absorb the UV rays, turning them into heat and then releasing from the skin.
Remember regardless of which type of sunscreen you choose, you always want to make sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and to reapply as stated in the FDA’s guidelines. This can be a feat for those of us that wear makeup or find it messy to keep reapplying a lotion through the day. There are alternatives, such as mineral sunscreen that you can brush on throughout the day like a setting powder. They even come with a cover and a built in brush for easy portability.
According to FDA sunscreen guidelines…
“Reapply at least every two hours. And more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Remember to read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)”
Shopping for sunscreen can also be a daunting task, as it can be overwhelming standing in that aisle. Lotion, spray on, or stick, different strengths, and brands, how do we know which are tried and tested? Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) publishes a Guide to Sunscreen. They go more in-depth and rate the best and worst brands of sunscreens, according to their research. This is a great resource to check the score of your sunscreen or to find one if you don’t already have a preference.
In my personal circle of friends and on social media I have noticed an increased interest in skin health. Using a daily sunscreen can help you maintain healthy skin, and slow down extrinsic aging. Once we are into adulthood, it is never too early to start preventative anti-aging. Using sunscreen daily can be an easy, quick, and vital role to your daily routine.
As stated by The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.” http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts
If that sun kissed glow is what you absolutely desire, you can always opt for a sunless spray tan. Plus you can always choose to skip the tan lines when you go sunless! Skincatering offers sunless tanning by appointment in their Springfield location. Although sunless spray tanning does not offer any UV protection, it does give you a healthy natural looking glow without the effects of long term UV exposure.