The season of beach towels, sandy feet and poolside BBQ’s is upon us! And for some of us, that means it’s also time to arm ourselves in the fight against sunburn and skin pealing.
Every year, protecting skin from the sun becomes more and more important. It’s become so common that many daily moisturizers and skincare brands add SPF and sunscreen into their formulas. But, we’re not so crazy about that…
Why, you ask?
Well, some products have good intentions, but their execution is what bothers us. Keeping up on the health of your largest organ means staying aware of what can cause major damage.
So, is sunscreen bad for your skin? Yes….but also no. It depends on the ingredients.
Confused? Let’s get into it.
Some formulas can embed dangerous chemicals in your skin and body.
Although the repellent is supposed to protect against the sun’s rays, what you’re lathering up could be internally harmful.
According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG), some formulas include ingredients meant to help the product stick onto the skin and stay on. That sounds good in theory, but that also means your skin can absorb some of these chemicals, and eventually leak them through the rest of your body.
And what’s worse?
The EWG complied a list of these chemicals that actually show up in blood tests, urine samples…and breast milk!
Some of the detected chemicals include:
The Scientific American reports that some of these chemicals can disrupt the body’s endocrine system. This system regulates metabolism, tissue development, growth and other bodily functions. These molecules can mimic the natural hormones, which can confuse the body.
And that’s just the lotion… how do the sprays fare?
Sprays oftentimes share the lotion’s ingredients…and then some. Whereas chemicals could seep into the skin through topical lotions, sprays get the added bonus of being inhaled. That gives those dangerous toxins access to your lungs.
SPF is also problematic.
Sunscreen SPF is supposed to protect your skin from harmful rays, but that’s not always the case. SPF stands for sun protection factor and is intended to describe how much time a sunscreen can protect from the sun’s UVB rays.
So, what’s the problem? It’s simple psychology.
We all want the most bang for our buck, which leads to consumer misconceptions. The bigger, the better, right? While that’s not always true, many people often opt for higher SPF numbers. After all, if SPF 20 is recommended to protect you for the day, imagine how long SPF 100 would protect you for?! Yeah… that’s not how it works.
Just because the number increases, doesn’t mean the effectiveness exponentially improves with it. In fact, one report shows that an SPF 30 screen only yielded 4% more protection than SPF 15. The FDA has warned companies to not create products over SPF 50 because of this, but some still persist. These higher doses could carry even more chemicals in their formula, giving more opportunity for a sort of reaction.
But that’s not the only problem with SPF…
SPF may protect against UVB rays, but not always UVA.
The sun emits different types of rays from its dazzling brightness, but not all products protect more than just against UVB rays. UVA lights can reach deeper in the skin, but that’s actually why they are so popular.
You might be thinking, “popular?” What do we mean by that?
UVA rays are actually used in tanning beds, to achieve tanner and more “beach-ready” skin. Scientifically…that’s not what’s happening. According to Consumer Reports, that tan skin is actually a result of DNA damage. Woah!
The skin’s dark appearance is your skin’s reaction to prevent injury, which consequently, could trigger cell mutations that lead to cancer. Not good!
In the US marketplace, screens that cover UVA and UVB are labeled as Broad Spectrum. But even then, American FDA laws are much less lax when compared to Europe. They can be labelled as Broad Spectrum, but their performance can be questionable in comparison.
Down with sunscreen?
So, should you raid your medicine cabinet for all the bad sunscreen and take them on a first-class trip to the trash bin? Maybe. What kind do you use?
There are some better alternatives to the chemical-filled bottles of lotion and sprays. The EWG recommends mineral lotions (NOT spray), which contain natural chemicals like zinc or titanium. But be forewarned, “nano-particles’ from these products could also cause allergic reactions. Then again, lots of things can cause allergic reactions depending on the person.
Scared? You don’t have to be. The EWG lists out some products that they deemed safe for human use and without a lot of those frightening chemicals.
It is always wise to protect your skin. But if you’re looking for different/additional alternatives and options, there are other routes you can take.
Limiting Sun Time
Okay, okay, we hear you. NO, we are not advocating you lock yourself in a room with blackout curtains and creep around like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. We are just asking that you are conscious of the amount of sun exposure your skin receives.
We love the sun and so should you! It’s a great source of vitamin D, but just like some of our favorite foods, excess is detrimental to health. If you’re going out to the beach, chances are you don’t want to cover up…then why would you be going in the first place? But if you’re going to chill, bring a hat and perhaps an umbrella to help lessen your skin’s full-sun exposure time.
ALWAYS remember to hydrate. Make sure you’re drinking water. You may be annoyed when your favorite Instagram influencer says “water” is their only skin-routine necessity, but they have a point. They’re probably exaggerating about their routine, but not about water’s importance to skin.
So if you drink water, you’re good? Nope, sorry.
Also make sure you’re hydrating your skin by taking showers or soaking in baths.
Protecting Your Skin…from the Inside
How can you up your skincare and sun-care game? You can try astaxanthin, which is the cartenoid responsible for the red-pinkish color of some sea critters. While the product can be helpful for inflammation, it can also do great wonders as sun-care! Consumption has been linked to protection from the sun’s rays. It’s like an internal sunscreen.
Oh, but that’s not all! It’s skin benefits are pretty cool, if we do say so. Studies show that:
- It can help improve wrinkles and skin texture.
- It can help preserve moisture in your skin.
Astaxanthin is the perfect skin companion for any routine. That’s why we offer the superfood power in our own staple, Super Xanthin. Super Xanthin offers protection from the sun, and muscle tissue and free radical support.
So…What’s the verdict?
Should you use sun screen? That’s going to be between you and your healthcare practitioner. Just be sure to use safe sun-care gear in some form. Now, get out there and have some fun!