Your Guide to Understanding the Importance of SPF
When it comes to sunscreen, we all know the repercussions of not using enough: premature aging and skin cancer being the most prevalent. Read on for the reasons we all need sunscreen, spotting the difference between chemical and physical SPF, and how to prioritize clean ingredients in your sunscreen!
In this post you’ll see
We ALL Need Sunscreen!
Chemical VS Physical SPF
Prioritizing Clean Ingredients
We ALL Need Sunscreen!
Who should be wearing sunscreen? EVERYONE! Men, women and children of all races over 6 months of age should use sunscreen every day. This includes people who tan easily and those who don’t — remember, your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether or not you burn. Babies under the age of 6 months are the only exceptions as their skin is highly sensitive. Here are the top four reasons why applying sunscreen should be a daily habit year-round:
– It Protects Your Skin from UV Rays: The depletion of the ozone layer has increased our risk of sun damage from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen blocks these rays, greatly reducing the likelihood of sunburn. Look for products like those from Goddess Garden with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 (some doctors recommend nothing below 30), and use each and every day. For full body coverage you’ll want to apply about an ounce.
– It Lowers Your Skin Cancer Risk: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71,943 people were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2013, and 9,394 of these cases were fatal. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers in half.
– It Prevents Premature Aging of the Skin: Sun damage from UV rays causes photoaging of the skin, which is characterized by a thick, leathery look; discoloration; and a breakdown of collagen, which contributes to lines, sagging and wrinkles. Studies show that those below age 55 who apply sunscreen regularly have 24 percent less chance of developing these signs of aging than those who don’t.
– It Helps Maintain an Even Skin Tone: Sunscreen helps prevent discoloration and dark spots from sun damage, helping you maintain a smoother and more even skin tone.
Also, don’t forget sunscreen by itself isn’t enough! Wear clothing, sunglasses, and hats to minimize your skin’s sun exposure. Also try to avoid peak midday sun, and stay in the shade to be sun smart especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest!
Chemical VS Physical SPF
When choosing the best sunscreen for you, it is vital to know the difference between chemical sunscreen and physical sunscreen!
Chemical Sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converting them into heat, then releasing them from the body. The active ingredients in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone. It is important to note that chemical sunscreens don’t sit on the skin or block rays, instead, they feature active ingredients that absorb UV rays before your skin can soak them up. These chemical UV filters include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. In most cases, chemical sunscreens do not leave a visible film layer on the skin, which makes them easier to wear on a broader range of skin tones. Because they’re designed for absorption, chemical sunscreens tend to go on smoothly without feeling sticky or greasy, and they don’t leave that telltale white cast over the skin.
Physical Sunscreen sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients in physical blocks. Physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreens, work by creating a physical barrier on the skin that shields it from the sun’s rays. These sunscreens deliver broad-spectrum protection by reflecting UV radiation away from your skin and help ward off UVA-related skin damage, including hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Mineral sunscreens can also help block UVA rays that come through windows, which can cause pigmentation and breakdown of collagen.
Prioritize Clean Ingredients!
When deciding the best steps to take to protect yourself from the sun we know that there are so many things to keep in mind it can be overwhelming! Some clean beauty proponents will tell you the answer is simple: Choose a mineral over chemical. But not everyone agrees. Much of the debate about chemical sunscreens relates to the ingredients themselves. The same ingredients that absorb so well may pose health concerns. In 2019, the FDA proposed rules and regulations intended to update sunscreen requirements. The agency hasn’t yet found evidence that the majority of sunscreen chemicals can cause harmful side effects. That said, the FDA has banned two sunscreen ingredients: aminobenzoic acid (PABA) & trolamine salicylate.
When browsing for the best sunscreen make sure to check the ingredients for these things:
Active Ingredients: Mineral sunscreens will list zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide only. Be wary of the term “mineral-based,” which often means zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide has been mixed with chemical sunscreen.
Water Resistance: A sunscreen can claim to be water-resistant only if it has undergone a 40- or 80-minute test. If water resistance is not stated clearly on the label, the sunscreen will most likely wash or sweat off.
Broad-Spectrum: This is important, as it means that the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
Toxic Ingredients: Red flags include phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance, and anything ending in “-paraben.”