Top 5 Dangers to Avoid in Sunscreen

Do you know what dangers lurk in your bottle of sunscreen?  With the recent soaring temperatures this Memorial Day weekend, summer days have officially arrived! 

Read on to find out how to choose a sunscreen that properly protects your skin without containing dangerous ingredients:

  • Oxybenzone: An active ingredient often used to absorb UV light in sunscreens, this chemical penetrates skin and acts like estrogen in the bloodstream. It can disrupt the hormone system and studies have linked it to increased rates endometriosis in older women.
  • Misleading High SPFs: Most people mistakenly assume that a 100 SPF sunscreen has double the coverage of 50 SPF. In reality, the extra SPF protection against UVB rays is negligible.  Additionally, suncreens with higher SPFs often have less effective protection against skin-damaging UVA rays.  Stick with sunscreens with an SPF of 30-50 instead.
  • Poor UVA coverage: The FDA regulates a sunscreen’s overall SPF level, but not its specific coverage of UVA protection. Exposure to UVA rays creates free radicals in your skin that damage DNA and skin cells, and accelerate skin aging.  It is also linked to a higher risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MI): What a mouthful! An increasingly used chemical preservative, methylisothiazolinone is a skin sensitizer and allergen.  In 2013, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named it the 2013 Contact Allergen of the Year.  This preservative is so popular that even supposedly “green” companies like Seventh Generation and Method use it in their products.
  • Vitamin A: Called retinyl palmitate in an ingredient list, studies have shown that Vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to skin that is exposed to sunlight. Interestingly, it is commonly added to skin care products for its supposed anti-aging properties.

How should you protect your skin in the summer then?

  • Look for mineral sunscreens that use titanium and non-nano particle zinc as active ingredients instead. Stick with solids and creams, and avoid spray-on sunscreen.  Always reapply as directed and after being in the water.
  • Wear an awesome wide-brimmed hat. Cover your shoulders and arms with a lightweight shirt.  We love white ones made from linen.  Bring an umbrella to the beach to create your own sun-safe shade.
    • Stay out of the sun during peak hours (11am-1pm in most areas)
    • Always wear sunglasses that provide full spectrum (UVA & UVB) protection.

    If you do get burned, get out of the sun and apply our Ultimate Healing Salve to clean (freshly-washed!) skin as soon as possible and at least 2-3 times a day until your burn goes away.

    Now get out there and have some great adventures, beautiful ones!

    Be safe in the sun with proper sunscreen, wide brimmed hats and sunglasses | Em & El Organics