Not all sunscreens are created equal. “Six years ago the EWG [Environmental Working Group] examined sunscreens and made the startling discovery that most products offered poor protection from sun damage and contained toxic ingredients.”
So, what to do? Personally I want to be sun safe, keep my skin looking as young as possible for as long as possible, and get enough Vitamin D so as not to be deficient. I’ve read up on my concerns and this is what I’ve found…
Try not to buy into the typical claims like sweat proof, waterproof, max block, SPF a million, etc. No sunscreen can deliver on any of those claims no matter the ingredients. You should wear a lotion that is water resistant even if you’re not going in the water though. When you’re outside, especially during summer, it’s hot, you’re sweating, and need a product that will stay on your skin better. You should reapply when you get out of the water, off the volleyball court or your bike. Basically no matter what activity you’re doing. Ideally reapply about every hour to hour and a half to ensure you’re well protected.
You want to look for zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Mexoryl SX, or 3% of avobenzone. Ingredients to avoid are Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) it can cause cancer and oxybenzone, it’s an allergen and can disrupt hormones.
SUN PROTECTION FACTOR
Use an SPF 15 through 50 lotion, not a spray or powder. This was a bummer to me. Sprays are so convenient, if my hubby isn’t around I don’t have to ask someone else to slather my back. The issue with sprays is it’s hard to tell where the sunscreen has been applied and we underestimate how much they need. Powders are usually in the form of makeup, I use a mineral makeup powder on my face and thought I was multitasking. Guess not that well… The benefits of any SPF higher than 50 are misleading and more expensive because the protection is almost identical even though the number is higher.
Getting enough Vitamin D is super important. Vitamin D deficiency plays a role in osteoporosis and osteopenia, 17 varieties of cancer, heart disease, obesity, infertility and PMS, chronic fatigue, depression, and that’s just the first half of the list. A daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun takes about 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight on your face and hands. Once you’ve absorbed your daily dose lather up! Or apply sunscreen before going outside then take a supplement. There are even gummy vitamins called SmartyPants that make it easy to enjoy 100% of the recommended daily amount. SmartyPants also acts as your complete multitasking multivitamin by including Omega 3 DHA from eco-friendly small fish oil (yet, miraculously, without the fishy aftertaste).
images via well+GOODnyc
However you spend your summer make sure you incorporate a SPF 15-50 water resistant safe lotion sunscreen into your daily routine!