It’s June, which means summer is here! So let’s talk sunscreen. Applying sunscreen is one of the easiest steps we can take to keep our skin looking its best! It protects us from premature aging, sun burn and skin cancer.
- The sun causes 80% of our premature aging. It breaks down our collagen. When it’s rebuilt, we also get abnormal fixes, resulting in wrinkles.
- Any change in color is a sign of skin damage. Think about changes ranging from redness to freckles, to melasma.
Sunscreen comes in all forms. We always recommend covering up with hats/clothing, but if that’s not possible, opt for a physical sunscreen. Why?
☀️ Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are powerhouse ingredients. They’re physical (mineral) blocks that REFLECT UVA and UVB rays.
☀️ They are the only FDA approved sunscreen ingredients considered generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE). They stay on the surface of the skin rather than getting absorbed.
☀️ They are great for sensitive skin as they rarely cause a reaction.
☀️ Sun Protection Factor (SPF): This measures how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin. For quick reference, SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99%. At minimum, opt for SPF 30 or above.
☀️ Broad spectrum: Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays primarily stay on the surface, whereas UVA rays penetrate deeper.
☀️ Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers only to UVB protection even though we now know both rays can cause damage; regulations written in prior decades hasn’t yet caught up to our current knowledge. Doh!
The Lowdown on Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreens, rather than reflecting, absorb the rays, and through a chemical reaction, dissipate it as heat. They also absorb into your bloodstream, some remaining for several days. Further research needs to be done to determine if absorption is indeed harmful. Meanwhile, the FDA advises everyone to continue wearing sunscreen.
Since we do have the research to show Zinc and Titanium are safe and effective, we recommend sunscreen options which have them as active ingredients.
- Apply enough! About 1 oz (think a shot glass) for your entire body.
- Apply 15 min prior to going outside so it has time to set.
- Reapply every 2 hours or after towel drying.
- Reapply if you’ve gone into the water, even the water resistant type.
- Don’t forget hands, ears, décolletage, and scalp.