With summer now well underway, here's a summary of my knowledge on sun protection. I'm not a professional, but I have read up extensively on the topic.
Why use sunscreen?
Most people don't realize that the sun is associated with as much as 90% of wrinkles and skin aging. Even worse, the effects of sun damage may not show up for 20 years, so what may seem like harmless tanning or Vitamin D-getting now can wreck havoc on your skin later on.
Additionally, UV penetrates the clouds year-round, so whether you live in gray Seattle or the sunny equator, be sure to apply any time you'll be outside, rain or shine!
General: There are two types of sunscreens:
· Physical: Use minerals Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to physically block sun. May leave a white cast on the face with flash photography, but generally safer to use.
· Chemical: Uses chemicals that absorb UV rays (e.g. Oxybenzone).
· Oxybenzone: Active ingredient in most chemical sunscreens, a hormone disrupter that may be absorbed into the skin
· Retinyl Palmitate: A form of Vitamin A that can increase risk of skin cancer when the used on sun-exposed skin
· SPFs over 50: Generally not shown to be effective, and may even cause more exposure to UV radiation
· Parabens: Preservatives included under inactive ingredients
Make sure to:
- Reapply at least every 2 hours because the sun breaks down the sunscreen
- Find a “broad spectrum” sunblock that covers UVA and UVB. UVA causes wrinkles, UVB causes burns. Some sunscreens only protect against UVB so make sure to be aware of this.
- For spray sunscreens, make sure to not inhale while spraying (or spray on hand and then rub onto face). Also make sure to spray a couple times to ensure even coverage.
- Apply if you're sitting in front of a window or driving in a sunny car! Glass only blocks UVB, but not UVA rays, so keep your skin shielded.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats whenever possible - they're not only a fashion statement, but also offer valuable protection. Try to get a hat with tightly weaved straw so that the sun isn't able to get through. For the winter, look for stylish black wool options.
- Pat, don't rub, sunscreens into your face. You don't want to tug mercilessly on your face and cause wrinkles!
Stay tuned for a list of the specific sunscreens I use!
Links to read more:
Check the list of the safest sunscreens here: http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/