My favorite season is finally here! I love the long, hot days of summer, hanging out by the beach and pool. Us Leo girls are ruled by the sun! Being a girl who loves the outdoors, I have to be really careful about getting too much sun. Sun protection is very important to me, not only to protect against skin cancer (not fun, trust me), but to keep your skin looking young, vibrant, and wrinkle free!
Let’s talk about sun protection, the good, the bad (and even the delicious), so you will be more than ready for your long, hot summer days at the beach. Just don’t forget your hat…
Chemical Sunscreens (the bad)
Chemical sunscreens use a combination of (you guessed it… chemicals) that get absorbed into your skin (this is why it tells you to wait 20 minutes before going in the sun). They “scatter” the sun’s rays to prevent burning. These sunscreens typically provide protection from UVB rays (the ones that cause sun burn), but not as much for UVA rays which cause early aging and skin cancer. Half of the sunscreen products sold in the US don’t pass the more stringent European Union standards because they don’t block UVA rays. They also typically have unwanted chemicals in them that are absorbing into your skin… more on this in a bit.
Physical Sunscreens (the good)
Physical (or mineral) sunscreens use natural titanium and/or zinc, and they act like a mirror to reflect (or block) the sun’s rays. These sunscreens form a barrier on your skin, and do not break down over time like chemical ones. Zinc Oxide is one of the most popular physical sunscreen because it provides natural, broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB) protection, and is skin-soothing (which is why it is used in diaper rash creams). ALL physical sunscreens are broad spectrum. They might be a bit harder to rub in, but I’ll take that any day over pre-mature aging and collagen breakdown!
A few ingredients to avoid
Retinal Palmitate is a vitamin A derivative, and when on sun-exposed skin, can spread development of skin cancer lesions by 21% (FDA, 2011), That’s why you are told to use Retin-A at night, but not during the day. Not what you want in your daily sun protection!
Oxybenzone is in half of all sunscreens on the market. It is a known endocrine and hormone disruptor and can trigger allergic reactions on your skin. It scores an 8 (not good) on the EWG toxic ingredient list.
Good news!! Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list (and an app) with the top sunscreens of 2107 that are good for you (as well as a list of not so good ones) so you don’t have to sweat over it! See what I did there… ?
A couple of my favorite sunscreens are…
I love (and use) the Suntegrity” 5-in-one” Moisture Face Sunscreen every day. It has 20% zinc, and has lots of other skin friendly ingredients (like aloe, green tea, cucumber, and pomegranate). It treats, hydrates, protects, primes and gives you a bit of coverage (it is tinted). I love multi-taskers!
I also like the ThinkSport sunscreen for body (it smells great), and I use MD Solar Sciences Mineral Cream face sunscreen when I need water resistant (at beach or tennis).
Another layer of protection for your face (and this one is definitely a multi-tasker)…is using a topical vitamin C. You can further up your protection against free radicals by applying antioxidants (as well as eating them!) A vitamin C serum will give you an extra layer of antioxidant protection, and it can protect and repair photo (sun) damage, as well as help with collagen production, and gets rid of age spots, too! True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster is on my list to purchase next!
Skin Protecting Snacks
While we are talking about vitamin C… let’s talk about what you can eat to help protect your skin! Citrus fruits (which contain vitamin C) and the essential oils they contain offer your skin extra protection. Tomatoes and watermelon (both of which contain lycopene) help protect against sunburn. Green tea helps guard against UV radiation, and pomegranates have phyto nutrients that provide antioxidant protection. Also, foods rich in omega-3’s (salmon, chia and flax seeds) have fats that act as a sunscreen. Have a glass of green tea, some guacamole (and, of course your sunblock) and you’re good to go!
Now go buy a cute hat ( I love the Wallaroo hats… they have spf ) get your physical sunscreen (and vitamin c serum), eat your healthy snacks, find some shade, and have a great summer!!