It’s spring, soon to be summer, and that means we’re outdoors again with fresh air and sunshine! Though we should be wearing sunscreen all year long (ahem), many of us only think about it when the sun is out and the weather is warm.
Before you slather and go, consider this: many members of the medical community believe that ingredients found in conventional sunscreens are causing hormonal disruption, thyroid alteration, endometiosis in women and may in fact contribute to cancerous tumor growth.* There is an active debate among researchers as to whether or not these ingredients, specifically Oxybenzone and Octinoxat, are highly toxic or innocuous. Why wait for the results? There over 100 effective sunscreens out there that do not contain these ingredients.
And remember, your skin is your largest organ and capable of absorbing a percentage of what we put on it. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to make the healthy choice when it comes to skin protection:
DO choose a natural, mineral based sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide because they provide strong sun protection with few health concerns.
DO use a sunscreen that gives both UVB and UVA protection. Did you know that the term SPF only refers to protection from UVB rays, the rays that cause sunburns? Make sure your sunscreen also protects you from the harmful UVA rays that penetrate deep into our skin causing all sorts of mischief!
DO apply sunscreen liberally and repeatedly during sun exposure to achieve the product’s SPF rating.
DO add tinted UV-protective film to your car’s side and rear windows since UVA penetrates glass.
DON’T buy or use any sunscreen containing Oxybenzone, Octinoxate or artificial fragrances. Stay clear of retinyl palmitate too, a form of Vitamin A, which may speed up the growth of skin tumors and lesions, according to FDA studies.
DON’T rely solely on sunscreen. DO wear a hat, UV blocking sunglasses and a ‘Rashguard.’ Sun Protection clothes provide greater total UVA/UVB sun protection than typical summer clothing or a typical 30 SPF sunscreen.
DON’T use sunscreen powders or wipes. These delivery methods have been proven to be ineffective.
DON’T use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 50. Sky-high SPFs give a false sense of greater sun protection and can tempt you to stay in the sun too long.
My Picks for Best and Safest Sunscreens: All Terrain TerraSport SPF 30, Badger Sunscreen SPF 30, Kiss My Face Kids’ Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, Juice Beauty SPF 30 and Supergoop Everyday SPF 30.
* See The Environmental Working Group’s The Trouble with Sunscreens, 2014, www.ewg.org