Is Your Sunscreen Working Full-Time?
With so many sunscreens on the shelves today, sometimes you just buy the ones that are on sale or the ones that you can buy in a bundle. Or, you opt for the latest type of sunscreen (sunscreen gels and sprays are the latest trend) since it is new, and you are curious to try it. As much as beauty and health products should be appealing to us, it is also wise to make sure we are actually purchasing a sunscreen that is doing the job and working full-time at it.
A sunscreen’s objective is to protect us from UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the rays that cause premature aging and make your skin leathery and crocodile-like. UVB rays are the rays that cause you to turn red because your skin is getting burned. I always remember the difference by thinking UVA –A is for aging, UVB –B is for burning.
When shopping for the right sunscreen there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Read below to use these helpful tips and then check out some of my favorite sunscreens that work exceptionally well and have The Skin Cancer’s Foundation seal of approval. You can also check if your current sunscreen has the approval on their site.
Purchasing a full-time sunscreen
When you purchase a sunscreen, make sure that it says “broad spectrum coverage.” This coverage protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If it doesn’t say this this, it might only cover against UVB rays, which is how most sunscreens used to be made years ago.
SPF is what protects from UVB rays, so the higher the Sun Protection Factor the better. At a minimum, an SPF 15 works just fine for most people, but if you have sensitive skin or your face gets burned easily, a higher SPF will work even better.
For my face, since it is the most sensitive part of my body and I want to veer off any and all types of rays until my dying day, I use Dermagolica’s Super Sensitive Shield SPF 30, which screens 97 percent of the sun’s rays and works perfectly for my easily sunburned face. To put this in perspective, an SPF of 15 screens 93 percent of rays. Unfortunately, no sunscreen ever blocks 100 percent.
To protect from UVA rays, you’ll want to look at the ingredients for avobenzone, an oil-soluble ingredient that protects against the strongest UVA rays. Some recent products say that they use helioplex technology, that is the case where they have combined avobenzone with other ingredients to ensure it lasts and protects as long as possible within the mixture of the rest of the sunscreen. This is a great thing to see in sunscreens.
Make sure to avoid the ingredient oxybenzone. This ingredient is known to affect the endocrine system. Studies have found that it can enter the bloodstream and mimic the hormone estrogen, which can later lead to thyroid problems along with cancer related skin tumors.
Lastly, although sunscreen sprays are very popular especially with kids due to their easy application and fun smells, studies are being done to test the long term effect of inhaling the actual sunscreen since many believe this could be very detrimental to one’s health. So avoid getting into the sunscreen spray trend, but if you do decide that it is what works for you, then be sure to at least hold your breath while you apply and to be sure to spray at least 6-8 inches away from the area of application.
The sunscreen below topped Consumer Report’s 2016 list for the best sunscreen meeting all of their requirements. I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Milk for my body and feel great knowing it is doing its job fulltime since it topped the list.
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum SPF 70 was also on the Consumer Reports list for 2016 and is my favorite for when I want to use a water resistant sunscreen. It goes on light and is fragrance free — as fragrance free as a sunscreen can be. This product also uses helioplex technology.
A sunscreen that is very affordable is Pure Sun Defense Frozen Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50. This sunscreen can be used by kids and adults and also made it to the top of Consumer Report’s 2016 list of best sunscreens.
Born and raised in the DMV, Emma Blancovich has a big appreciation for discovering things to do around town, such as new restaurants to try and supporting the local music scene by attending live shows. During the week she is an editor for trade associations, but on the weekends you can find her hiking up trails with the latest fitness gadgets then getting ready for a night out using the latest beauty and health products.