Sunscreen 101 – A Complete Guide with Recommendations
Talking about sunscreen is a subject that really touches me for two main reasons. First, it is definitely related to the fact that I want to take an active role into my health. Second, it is important to protect our skin to prevent skin cancer and reduce the sun’s ability to increase the aging process due to damaged collagen and elastin.
The sun can be dangerous, especially during certain hours of the day. For example, sun exposure is not recommended from 10am to 2 pm, which, in most cases, happens to be the most crowded times at the beach. This is where sunscreen comes into play. Now that there are plenty of different sunscreen solutions and products around that are safe, we can still enjoy the ocean in the sun without worrying about our skin.
When buying sunscreen, make the differentiation between a product for the face and a product for the body. Your face will require a higher SPF, especially if you are pregnant or on birth control. Your hormone levels will be very high that could cause dark spots on your face, which is something terribly hard to deal with once you have it. In my opinion, in that scenario, the only thing that really works is the laser treatment, but that is a different matter we can cover another time.
What I found
There are two different types of sunscreen: Chemical and Mineral. Both shield our skin from the harmful effect of the UV rays, but in different ways. Chemical sunscreen may be potentially harmful for you and your baby. You may notice with this one that they smell and make the water look glossy, which I doubt is a good thing for us or the environment. Mineral-based creams are the safest option available in the market at this time.
All those chemical ingredients have been used for years now, and are still available in the market today. Though Chemical sunscreen’s job is to help our skin to avoid sunburn, they absorb into our skin. This results in the UV rays being absorbed too, accumulating our bloodstream that cause unpleasant effects on our health, especially impacting the endocrine system. Keep in mind that not all of the chemical-based products have the same absorption capacity, by why risk it if there are better solutions available?
Chemicals I Avoid:
Ingredients with higher toxicity concern are: Oxybenzone & Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate). These two ingredients are a solid NO for me. Oxybenzone, in particular, has been linked to hormone alteration and cell damage that is associated with skin cancer. It is also known to cause severe allergic reactions. The worst part of all is that this specific ingredient is technically an organic ingredient, making it very misleading for people out there, like me, looking for the best safest organic products. In addition, if you suffer from melasma and\or rosacea, you should avoid those two ingredients because it could worsen your condition.
Other chemicals that have a moderate toxicity concern, but I still try to avoid are:
- Avobenzone – This one contains lower toxicity and is considered safe, but studies show that when in contact with other components, such as UV rays, it can become toxic. For this reason, I am still trying to avoid it.
Under the umbrella of mineral sunscreen ingredients, we have zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Those two ingredients are natural mineral blockers, which form a barrier on the skin to reflect the sun from both UVB and UVA. For this reason, they are considered broad-spectrum. Both ingredients are non-comedogenic which means they will not clog your pores either, which is an additional plus if you suffer from acne.
Comparing the two, zinc oxide is considered safer and hosts better protection towards UVB and UVA. It is also the only ingredient that can be used as an active ingredient in baby sunscreen (babies under 6 months). The only downside is the whiter film look it will leave your skin with.
Things to Consider With Mineral SPF
- Something you will want to take note of is to look for a non-nano mineral sunscreen. This is the safest option and is entirely eco-friendly.
- Make sure to check and see if the sunscreen contains paraben. This is an important aspect since it is not a secret anymore that paraben is linked to breast cancer and they have the ability to interfere with the male reproductive system.
- Also we weary of any sunscreen products that have BHT, Synthetic fragrances (I prefer all fragrance free products, but if you choose to have some fragrance, try to look for natural options available), and final Diazolidinyl urea (commonly used as a preservative for many beauty products, but are highly cancerogenic).
I know it can be overwhelming after reading all that information above. I tried to be as direct as possible, but there is a lot of information to cover and I truly want to give you the best foundation to make the best choices.
My Recommended list
There are so many products out now, but these ones I have personally used and I recommend.
- The first one is a daily tint sunscreen, which can be used instead of the foundation. You basically leave your skin compact, protected, and feature a natural look. You could use it to go to the beach or just as a daily foundation substitute. In fact, this particular product is a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30. You can find it here.
- The second option is a cream that I find fabulous. It is rated by ewg and is my go-to for every outdoor activity. I discovered this gem last year, and I still used it today. The SPF30 has a very strong protection action, it is a non-nano mineral, and it is formulated without harmful chemicals. You can find it here.
My Secret Body Spray Brand
Bodysprays can be very convenient, fast, and easy to apply. But again, they can be toxic if inhaled. So be extra careful when using it. With that being said, I found those brand options to be the best.
- Bare Republic
- 100% pure
- All good
My Secret Body SFP Brand
- Juice Beauty
- Solara Suncare
- All good
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