Most of us have now heard that skin cancer rates are still rising despite the fact that we use more sunscreen. So, how do we protect ourselves, especially when we want to avoid plastering our skin with toxins. Here’s 10 things you need to know about sunscreen:
- There is a big difference between sunscreen and sunblock.
- Sunscreen can penetrate your skin. The chemicals have been found in blood and even human breast milk.
- Sunscreen typically acts as a filter. These chemical filters include one of more of the following problematic chemicals:oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Oxygenzone has found to be the most common and the worst in terms of health issues. Many of these chemicals have been found to affect and disrupt normal hormone balance, and cause skin allergies.
- Sunblock, on the other hand, provides a physical block. The naturally occurring minerals, zinc oxide and titanium oxide provide this effective block. These minerals in their non-nano form are safe for everyone including babies.
- The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is never an exact science. Each company or brand will test out their product to determine how much longer you can stay in the sun without burning. If you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than you would with nothing on your skin without burning, the product gets an SPF 30. But still understand that it’s not an exact science. Many now believe that there is no such thing as SPF 5o or 70, and that SPF 35 is as high as it can go. Here are the facts, which are surprising: An SPF of 15 filters 93.3% of UVB radiation, SPF 30 filters 96.7% and SPF 45 filters 97.8% This is worth noting because many of us believe that an SPF 30 is double that of and SPF 15, but it only filters out 4% more rays!
- Having tested hundreds of natural sunscreens (and from making my own), I can see that SPF 30 in one brand performs very differently to SPF in another brand. You need to carefully try it out for yourself.
- The most important thing when using a mineral sunscreen is to RE-APPLY every 2 hours, if you are out in the sun.
- You do not need to apply mineral sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing out in the sun (as you do with a chemical sunscreen. As soon as you apply it, it’s effective.
- Avoid fragrance in sunblock where possible. It’s almost always synthetic fragrance that can push an otherwise non-toxic product into the toxic category.
- Be wary of sprays and powder sunblocks. As much as 90% can be lost in the wind or the air. Use these convenient products as toppers.
I know you’re gonna ask me to recommend brands now, so here are some of my top recommendations:
Suntegrity: One of the best non-toxic and super safe sunblocks on the market. I love all of their products both for face and body. Almost all of their products contain skin nourishing ingredients and are thus 5-in-1 products. Have never burned with them.
Badger: Very safe and great for babies and kids, but can be a bit thick, white and pasty.
Keys Solar RX: Created by a melanoma survivor. Super effective and a great selection of products
Sunshine Botanicals Total Eclipse: A revolutionary facial sunblock BB cream for those with even the most sensitive skin. It’s a light and airy mousse, which I’m in love with.
Jane Iredale: Jane has a number of really effective mineral sunblock products. Most notable is her Powder Me Dry SPF sunscreen, which is one of the few facial powder sunscreen that literally sticks to your skin, and Hand Drink SPF 15.
Also, check out my Pros & Cons Facial Sunscreen post.
If you fancy having a go at making your own sun block, check out my DIYs here.