When your a youngster sunscreen is the devil! As a child I remember hating to put sunscreen on but my mom insisted otherwise I wasn’t allowed to go out. So I constantly had a white face and thick lotion put on me all day long at the beach. Well fast forward 30 years and all those times my mom said ” dont forget your sunscreen” come to haunt me in the night and for good reason.
You see, she was right about one thing, sunscreen is absolutely necessary but for very different reasons now than when I was a kid. Being a child meant wearing sunblock to simply keep from getting burned which would make the rest of our trip a living hell…for my parents!
Now, going into my forties I realize why I needed sunscreen all the years leading up to this one…premature aging! The sun ages you faster than any other factor in your existence. Years and years of UV exposure can take their toll and as I sit here with hyperpigmentation on my face I can attest to the detriment it causes. If you don’t believe me look at yourself in the mirror and then turn around and look at your butt naked. No wrinkles or beauty marks on your bottom because it never sees the light of day. Your face and arms are a different story.
Nowadays I use sunscreen and shade at all times these days with the hopes of aging gracefully and not so quickly because life hits warp speed once you reach 30.
Every year something different is brought up about sunscreens, whether it is their hyped SPF values or their toxicity but one thing remains the same, they are essential. Now one thing you need to know is that all sunscreens are not created equal and it helps to know what you are buying. The saying “you get what you pay for” is appropriate when it comes to sun and skin care products.
- Always go for broad spectrum. These block UVA rays which cause wrinkles and skin cancer and UVB rays which cause sunburn and cancer as well. Non broad spectrum lotions cannot make this claim.
- No Parabens. These are synthetic preservatives that mess with hormones and stimulate cancerous tumors. Parabens are found in tons of commercial sunscreens and hygiene products like skin care and hair care. They will be listed last on the ingredients bottle. Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) is also something to avoid as it breaks down into free radicals with UV exposure.
- Don’t be fooled by high SPF (sun protection factor) numbers. SPF products at the supermarket that read 70 or 100 are all hype. SPF measures the percentage of UVB rays blocked so for example: SPF15 blocks 93% of rays, SPF50 blocks 98%. The FDA is contemplating banning anything over SPF50 because it is a waste. Dermatologist recommend SPF30-50.
- Caution….Oxybenzone. An ingredient in many commerical sunscreen products is a skin irritant and also creates cell damaging free radicals when introduced to UV rays. Research show it could lead to a low sperm count fellas so beware. Look for ingredients like Avobenzone instead or oxybenzone with know known health risks associated.
- Don’t believe in Sweatproof & Waterproof. There is no such thing in either of the two previous comments. Water resistant is more appropriate and properly describes some sunscreens. According to the FDA is is technically impossible for a sunscreen to be waterproof. A sunscreen gets it’s water resistant tag only if it retains the original SPF for at least 40 minutes while in water.
Brands You Should Be Buying
- Sun Bum Pro Line SPF 50 contains a mineral block and is fortified with Vitamin E that stays through rigorous water testing. Men’s Journal tested it in 30 minutes of flip turns in the pool and it passed with flying colors.
- Beyond Coastal Active Sunscreen SPF 30 is avobenzone based and contains vitamin C and E to increase UV protection on the skin. It is also water resistant and contains yerba and rose hips for skin nourishment. It is rated by EWG (environmental working group) at one of the top brands in the industry.
- Banana Boat Natural Reflect Lotion SPF 50 is an all mineral formula and is only product that can be found at a local Rite aid or CVS and contains all requirements. It contains the sun
- Badger SPF 34 sunscreen is one of the best products on the market. Firstly it doesn’t contain any of the products mention in this post. It’s broad spectrum protection comes from Zinc dioxide (the white stuff the lifeguard always had on his nose). It is certified organic and contains moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba & cocoa butter.