Sunscreen Guide 2017

The best and safest way to avoid sunburns and aging (UVB/UVA) rays is to stay out of the sun!   However enjoying Summer activities, outdoor exercise and fresh air can be difficult to do indoors ;).  So now we go to step 2 - Choosing a Sunscreen.  It sounds easy enough, however there are hundreds of different sunscreens out there.  It can be easier to choose a husband!  I thought I'd make it a little easier for you by putting together My Top Ten Summer Sun Care Survival Tips…

  1. Do not use a chemical based sunscreen.  Choose Mineral based.  Products using minerals are not easily absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore to not add to our toxicity levels.  Yay! (For face we recommend our beloved EltaMD 41 physical UVA/UVB sunscreen).
  2. Apply every 2 hours while in the sun.  Sunscreens breakdown and become less effective the longer they are on.  Also be sure to reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.
  3. Be careful with sprays as the molecules become air born and can be inhaled.  The effects of particles in the lungs is not yet known - but it's probably not good.  
  4. Wear a hat.  Not a baseball cap - a real hat with a real wide brim.  Protect your face - you only have the one!
  5. Avoid prime time sun.  Try to hit the shade between 12-4 if possible. Ya, ya, grumble, grumble - don't shoot the messenger! 
  6. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen - those have both UVA/UVB protection.  (The sunscreens in Europe have much better UVA protection - so if travelling abroad, pick one up there!)  Keep in mind both UVA and UVB rays can cause melanoma and childhood sunburns increase our chances.  Read more here - http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/skin-cancer-on-the-rise/.
  7. Use a higher quality sunscreen on your face.  Don't use the same cream you use all over your body.  The skin on our face is much more delicate and reactive.  Hasn't it been through enough?  Treat it kindly and use the proper sunscreen for it - it will thank you (by not breaking out, drying out, forming a rash, being itchy, etc).  
  8. Don't be so darn lazy!  This is sunscreen folks - not a serum, moisturizer and anti-aging treatment all-in-one.  A. Those all-in-one's do not work as well (Jack of all trades….you know the saying)  B. They can cause more harm than good.  Some ingredients are great but when combined together and combined with the sun - they can be cause for concern.
  9. This one will surprise you - avoid sunburns but not sun exposure all together.  Apparently Vitamin D plays a large role in keeping us skin healthy as well.  I say - sunscreen on the face daily and get your Vitamin D from 15 minutes of sunshine on the body.  There's no reason to age quicker and get sun spots on our beautiful faces!
  10. Completely confused and frustrated?  Perhaps you'd rather just purchase one of these - http://www.ecostinger.com/men-uv-swimwear-stinger-suit-with-hood-dive-skin-upf50-gold-chlorine-resistant/.

The bottom line is there is still a lot we don't know about a lot.  Lol!  We don't really know what causes melanoma and why the numbers are going up.  Are they increasing because the children born in the 70's and 80's had many sunburns as children?  Or because we have been slathering ourselves in chemical based sunscreens for decades?  Hopefully with continued studies we will have the answers to these questions.  In the meantime, buy the UV unitard and sneak in 15 minutes a day of sunshine without sunscreens (except for your face - sunscreen that face!), and then cross your fingers - cause that always helps!  

Enjoy your Summer!

FYI although I am extremely brilliant (no chuckling please), I definitely must thank our friends at Environmental Working Group (LINK)… for all of their diligent research and reporting. We look forward to better news in next year's guide!  Feel free to peruse the full guide they have put together.