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Review

The Support For Sunscreen

When we’re young, we don’t give much thought to the fact that the skin we’re in is what we are stuck with, and if we damage it or abuse it now, we won’t enjoy the healthy glow later. Crowds of people go to the beach, or grill outside during the summer months, completely devoid of sunscreen either because they don’t think it’s a big deal, or they look at it like something extra to do. Maybe they don’t want their skin to feel greasy, or they aren’t willing to carry a beach bag.  In every case, people who go out under the sun without protection are only increasing their chances of developing skin cancers of varying levels, as well as skin that looks like wrinkled leather and spots on the face in later years. It can also result in dark spots on the skin, and to sensitive skinned people, to hyperpigmentation of skin, which are troublesome to get rid of..

Regardless of what skin type you have, there are plenty of sunblocks available to you that will not adversely affect breakouts, particularly if you’re prone to acne. Mineral based sunscreens will clog your pores, so they’re the best ones to stay away from, looking instead to chemical based sunscreens. A good sunscreen for acne prone people is La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios (SPF40) which uses the active ingredient mexoryl sx, which gives the most photo stable UVA protection without clogging pores which lead to breakouts.  If you’re active in the summer, you’ll want one that is more lightweight and durable, which won’t disappear as you sweat.  A good one for active people is Beyond Coastal Active (SPF 30) which applies fast and is lightweight and dry to the touch. It uses all natural ingredients that are safe for your skin, and avoids the dangerous chemical oxybenzone.

For people who have sensitive skin, finding a good sunblock is even harder because they break out in a rash or hives.  This is usually caused by the fragrance or chemicals used in the sunscreen. A good one to use if your skin is sensitive is Mychelle Sun Shield (SPF 28) which is a mineral based sunscreen that utlizes natural ingredients like aloe to moisturize and keep skin feeling soothed and protected. A bonus is the antioxidants they use that keeps your skin looking vibrant and healthy even with age. On that same note, if you’re older and already suffering the adverse effects of years spent in the sun, you might want a sunblock that uses anti-aging ingredients along with the helpful UVA blockers. Recommended is the product called Ocean Potion, which includes Vitamin C, tocopheryl acetate, and algae extract, which are antioxidants proven to halt the signs of aging by neutralizing free radicals in skin cells.

Use care with your skin, and pay attention to things like new moles or freckles that have grown recently to be sure you’re on top of things like skin carcinomas before they get out of control.  Avoid things like sunburn from overexposure. If you get blisters, red, sore or peeling skin, you’ve overdone it and raised your risk factor for skin cancers.  Always be sure you’re near a shady spot so you can spend some of your time out of the sun if you’re going to be out for extended periods of time.  If you must have your sunshine “fix” be sure to enjoy it either in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower, because UV radiation peaks the most at midday.  Don’t neglect your eyes, which are just as sensitive to the sun’s effects as your skin, and can cause cataracts. Avoid any sunscreen that comes with vitamin A, because testing has shown that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin that had cream containing vitamin A, than those who didn’t. It’s chemical compound name is retinyl palmitate or retinol and is found in 20 percent of all sunscreens on the market.  If you’re low on vitamin D and going out in the sun to help raise your levels, remember that you can also take vitamin D supplements to get the same effect as the sun, with a lot less of the risk.  You can enjoy the sunshine and still keep your skin safe, just be sure to use precautions.

Did You Know?

The EPA reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA. More new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year than the combination of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. They estimate one in 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.  Those aren’t small numbers, and the danger is real.  People who live in the southern hemisphere of the world are at particular risk due to the depletion of the ozone layer in that part of the world, so extra precautions should always be taken.

If you’re a diver, a study reported by National Geographic in 2008 indicated that some chemical sunscreens were found to bleach coral reefs, and they suggest choosing a mineral sunscreen if you plan to dive near the reefs, to maintain the fragile balance in the reef habitats.

SPF factor is not the best way to determine a good sunscreen.  SPF100 doesn’t protect any better than SPF50, and none block 100% of the sun’s rays, so don’t pay more for a higher SPF rating that is pure marketing hype.  SPF15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks 97% and SPF50 is the highest at 98%.

Lastly, this article about sunscreen from Skincancer.org explains everything you ever wanted to know about sunblocks, UVA and UVB rays, the definition of SPF and a lot more to keep you aware and prepared.

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