I’ve always had questions about sun protection and the products I was purchasing. Was I using the correct SPF number, was I reapplying my sunscreen properly, and most importantly were the brands I was using safe and nontoxic.
After much research I've complied information to help you make better choices on how to protect your skin from the sun's powerful rays.
Does SPF matter?
YES. SPF is short for sun protection factor. In sunscreen, SPF helps to block your skin from the sun’s radiation. The sun omits two types of radiation: UVA and UVB. UVA rays contribute to the signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging. UVB which are responsible for your sunburn can be more carcinogenic. UVA rays also make UVB rays more reactive, so combined, the two can be dangerous. Anytime you’re outdoors you’re putting yourself in front of harmful radiation – and the worst part is even if you don’t get sunburn that radiation can have a negative impact on your skin and overall health.
Does SPF help extend your skin’s natural defenses against the sun’s rays.
YES, So here’s the SPF lowdown – if it’s a #15 than you’re providing yourself with 15 times more protection than without sunscreen. SPF 30, would provide 30 times more protection than skin without sunscreen. All good right – BUT you need to be sure to choose a broad spectrum sunscreen since they block out both UVA and UVB rays.
Do all skin tones need to use sunblock?
YES. It seems to be a common myth that people who don’t easily burn don’t need as much sunscreen, but that’s not true. Although dark skin does offer more natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays than light ski no one is immune to the sun damage. Health experts advise everyone, should use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Should I reapply frequently?
YES. Sunscreen lasts an average of two hours. That means you should plan to reapply every two hours. If you sweat a lot, notice your skin burning, or spend time in the water, you’ll want to reapply more frequently.
How high an SPF do we really need?
According to the FDA higher SPF does not provide additional benefits to your skin and may offer a false sense of security. Industry standards for protection say you do not need to exceed SPF 50.
Is choosing the right sunscreen important?
YES. It really depends on your skin type and how you’re spending your time outdoors. If you are putting a sunscreen under makeup to go to work than SPF 15 should be fine, but for a day at the beach, sporting event or even a day of gardening you’ll need to review your options carefully.
Water-resistant sunscreen - Provides good protection for water activities – BUT don’t be fooled by the words “waterproof” as no sunscreen is completely waterproof or sweat proof for that matter.
Spray sunscreen - Everyone knows it's much easier to apply sunscreen by spraying it on your body BUT it seems many skin experts prefer a cream-based sunscreen. Sprays may release harmful chemicals that you and those around you breath in during the application process.
Broad-spectrum - Means that the sunscreen blocks against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s a great idea to always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
All-natural sunscreen - Although some dermatologists feel that mineral based sunscreens are not as effective as traditional ones I ONLY use mineral based sunscreen. To get the most out of your mineral sunscreen, it's important to use them as directed – by applying a generous amount (one ounce for the entire body) 15 minutes before sun exposure. The two most commonly used mineral ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two sunscreen ingredients the FDA has says are generally safe and effective. Also mineral formulas also have the benefit of being much less irritating than traditional ones and of course are chemical free.
Here are a few SAFE and local NJ brands to consider this summer:
Jersey Shore Cosmetics All Natural Anti-aging Mineral Sunscreen is recommended by the EWG, It’s registered as a Non toxic Sunscreen by Hawaii’s Ban Toxic Sunscreen Coalition. With an SPF 35 it provides broad-spectrum protection which prevents premature aging and helps to prevent health risks associated with prolonged exposure to the sun.
Poofy Organics Sunscreen is NON-NANO SPF 30+ and offers BROAD SPECTRUM coverage. It’s effective, toxic-free and is 20% zinc oxide. Best of all it's free of chemical fragrances, parabens, and nanoparticles.
Just Skin Food Natural and Organic Sunscreen, broad spectrum SPF 30 is EWG rated, toxin free and safe. Even their packaging is a biodegradable paperboard tube. It contains no water or oil, which means no shaking is necessary to achieve even distribution with each application and, it is loaded with certified organic anti-oxidant rich ingredients.
Current All Natural Zinc Surf Paste is designed to protect you and the environment. Made with broad spectrum coverage it’s ingredient include non nano zinc oxide which is reef safe and non-nano particles are used so the zine is too large to be absorbed into your pores and into your blood stream. Perfect for surfers, lifeguards and active ocean lovers.
Use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 to reduce negative side effects from harmful UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. BUT don’t rely on just sunscreen as a way to avoid the sun’s radiation. Protective clothing, sunglasses and shade are key ways to help protect you from the hot sun.