Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunscreen 411!

With summer officially here including its traditional beach, pool, and other outdoor activities in the sun it is important to remember your skin’s health by applying sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are created equal.  It is important to look at both the active and extra ingredients on the labels and compare options on the shelf or online. Broad spectrum, titanium oxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone are key words to look for that mean healthier protection.  Broad spectrum means it protects against both UVA (primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer) and UVB (contribute to premature aging) rays which requires more than one type of active ingredient.  Only 8% of sunscreen on the market protect fully against both.  Usually they come in natural mineral forms (zinc and titanium) which can be a bit harder to rub in or chemical sport versions (avobenzone and Octinoxate). 

The lotions with oxybenzone and chemicals ending in paraben are shown to be harmful, create free radicals in the sun and should be avoided. Also try to pick sunscreens that don't have aton of crazy sounding fillers, but rather have fillers that help to moisturize and and nourish the skin with natural substances like aloe and oils.  Optimal protection is within the SPF 30 – SPF 50 range. Values of SPF over this range have been shown to add little benefit. 

Increasing research and development in the field of sun protection have shown that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, more frequently if sweating or swimming. However, recently new formulas have become available that only need reapplication every four hours. These formulas are known as Helioplex and Mexoryl. No matter the formula sunscreen should be applied liberally. Liberal application would mean that enough lotion is used to fill a shot glass, approximately one ounce. If applied liberally a bottle of lotion should not last into another year, but if it should, sunscreen should be thrown out after three years of use or if it has reached the expiration date as labeled.

Suggested Sunscreen Products:

No-Ad with aloe and Vitamin E: named consumer reports best buy  

Coppertone Water Baby SPF 50: pediatrician recommended for babies and toddlers

Beyond Coastal Active Sunscreen SPF 30: recommended for intense sun and is water resistant

Jason Pure Natural Sun Sport SPF 45: recommended for long outdoor workouts
Thinksport Livestrong Sunscreen SPF 50: sweat and water resistant 


No comments: