It’s starting to look like spring in Ohio, well, for at least a few hours until it starts to snow again!
I don’t know about you but I’m already on Pinterest looking at all the ways I’m going to drain my bank account attempting to landscape my yard this spring. The warming temps means we will be spending more time sun and we need to up our sunscreen game.
One question I often get asked is…… What sunscreen do you recommend most? My answer is quite often any one that you will actually wear every day! So let’s talk why we need it, different types, myths and sunscreen for all skin types and colors.
Why sunscreen is so damn important!
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — every day. The number one cause of melanoma? Exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet (UV) light; the same light you get from tanning beds and the sun’s rays.
Beside the risk of skin cancer sun exposure is the biggest extrinsic cause of aging. Studies show that 80 to 90% of the damage that we try to peel, Botox, and filler away comes from the sun. That beautiful summer bronze look that we all love comes with a price. So what is it exactly that about the sun that we need to protect ourselves from? UVA and UVB rays! I’m sure these sound familiar so let’s break them down for you.
UVA Rays: (Think A for Aging) penetrate deep into the skin’s layers, triggering a breakdown of collagen—the key skin-firming and structural protein in the skin. This breakdown triggers the formation i wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and overall lack of firmness (as well as skin cancer).
UVB Rays: (Think B for Burn) also penetrate the skin’s layers, but not as deep as UVA rays. They penetrate the uppermost layers where melanocytes (cells responsible for skin pigmentation) are found, triggering hyperpigmentation. These rays can trigger burning of the skin (as well as skin cancer). This is also why it is important for every one of every skin color to wear sunscreen. Melanocytes = Melanin so POC are most definitely susceptible and not immune to sun damage and skin cancer, but we will talk about that a little more later.
Let’s dive into different types of sunscreen/sunblock, yes, there is a difference and you will probably find you prefer one over the other or you skin tolerates each differently.
Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone.
The Pro’s of chemical sunscreen is they absorb quickly and don’t leave a milky white look to the skin. The Con’s are some people are allergic or sensitive to the chemicals. Those of us that suffer from Rosacea (myself included) or Melasma know that heat is a trigger that worsens the condition, so avoiding the absorption of heat is key!
Physical sunblock or Mineral Sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun's rays. Mineral sunscreen [ingredients], zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are small particles that sit on the skin’s surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin.
The Pro’s: They offer immediate protection unlike chemical that takes up to 20 minutes to be effective. Is tolerable to those with sensitive skin and anyone chemically conscious.
The Con’s: They leave a milky white residue on the skin. Physical sunblock can also be comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores and worsen acne suffers.
1. Sunscreen causes cancer. While there is a chemical interaction there is no evidence that it causes cancer, however there is plenty of research and evidence that UVA/UVB rays do cause skin cancer.
2. I have Dark skin and don’t need it. This is false. As we touched on earlier UVB rays penetrate the the uppermost layers of skin where melanocytes live. Melanocytes produce melanin and while you have more protection with increased melanin you are not impervious to the harmfull effects.
3. My sunscreen is waterproof and I don’t need to reapply it after swimming or sweating. No sunscreen or block is waterproof, it’s water resistant but still needs to be reapplied every hour to 2 hours.
4. There is SPF in my makeup so I don’t need any additional. Unless you are applying your foundation to your entire neck and décolleté (which is in proper and wasteful) you aren’t getting full coverage. You should be using a SPF of 30 or more liberally.
5. I don’t need sunscreen if it’s cloudy or cold. The clouds and the sold don’t block the invisible UVA and UVB rays. Just like when you go to the dentist and they put the lead apron on you to protect you from the radiation. ( Fun fact because I was a dental assistant.. You get more radiation exposure from the sun daily than radiographs in the dentist office) UVA and UVB rays penetrate without us seeing for feeling the effects of the sun.
What sunscreen of block is right for you??? I say again, Whichever one you will commit to wearing daily!