The sun is luscious but also searing, and we must be very diligent about protecting our delicate skin. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are stronger during spring and summer and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, according to satellite data, NASA scientists determined that UV radiation has increased over the last three decades.
Sun care products generate sales into the billions of dollars, and hundreds of products are on the market. It is undoubtedly daunting to be looking at the shelf and determining what you should buy. This guide should help you determine what is best for you and your family.
How does sunscreen work?
The two main types of sunscreen are chemical and physical (which is also called mineral). Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays, and physical sunscreens deflect the rays.
What are the ingredients in each type of sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens utilize a long list of chemicals, including PABA, oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and octinoxate. Many of these, like oxybenzone, have been determined to be potentially harmful. In particular, these chemicals are harmful to infants, children, and pregnant or nursing women. Physical sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. While these are effective and safe, many people find them drying on the face and difficult to apply.
What about SPF?
The SPF number can be misleading. The percentage of strength does not reflect the number. For example, 80SPF is not double the strength of 40SPF. The reality is that once you hit 50SPF, it’s not beneficial to go higher, particularly with chemical sunscreens as the amount of chemicals is higher without much-added benefit. Another issue is a “false sense of security.” Higher SPF does not mean it’s okay to bake longer in the sun.
What you Need to Know
We need to find balance when it comes to the sun. We actually need to absorb some sunlight to get our daily dose of vitamin D, which is necessary to strengthen bones and our immune system. We can strive to get 15-20 minutes of unfiltered sunlight in the mid-morning or late afternoon hours.
Finally, the most effective means of avoiding sun damage is by using umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing.
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. This should jolt all of us into rising to the challenge of protecting ourselves and our families while enjoying our sun-kissed days outside.
For a comprehensive list of sunscreens and their ratings categorized by best rated for beach and specifically for children follow the link below: