Many commercial sunscreens are full of damaging, toxic chemicals that do more harm to your skin than good; some ingredients are even potential carcinogens that promote skin cancer growth, including oxybenzone, benzophenone, and retinyl palmitate. Take the time to really get to know what you are putting on your body; here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to your sunscreen.
- Use creams in place of powders or sprays, which can produce tiny particles that are not safe to breathe in.
- Use mineral-based natural sunscreen with the active ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients are known for their superior UVA protection and have less than .01 percent or no skin penetration.
- Beware of sunscreens with an SPF over 50. Research suspects that SPFs over 50 do not provide any additional protection!
- Reapply as directed, usually every 2 hours or more if you’re in the water.
- Use sunscreens with vitamin A (usually listen as retinyl palmimate or retinol). It may speed up the development of cancer on sun-exposed skin.
- Use sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. Oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen, can penetrate the skin and cause allergic skin reactions and hormone disruption.
- Use sunscreen with added insect repellent. Sunscreen is meant to be liberally applied and reapplied often throughout the day, while insect repellent should never be applied liberally or often.
- Use makeup as sunscreen. While some makeup includes SPF, most people don’t wear enough makeup or reapply often enough for it to be effective.
Sunscreens are an essential part of a day in the sun. Knowing what is in your sunscreen and how to best use it will keep your skin healthy and protected.