Is Sunscreen Safe to Use?
Summer is upon us and with it brings hot summer days and more importantly summer skincare. We all know how important it is to protect our skin with sunscreen throughout the year, but it’s even more important during the summer months when the sun is hotter than ever. There has been a lot of information circulating about the use of sunscreen and its effectiveness as well as its safety. The latest report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sparked discussions about what ingredients we need to be aware of in our sunscreen. Certain chemicals have come into question as many companies work to provide the best and safest in sunscreen protection. These chemicals, namely Avobenzone and Oxybenzone, have brought up concerns about their absorption into the skin.
According to the FDA, additional data is needed regarding these health concerns. Oxybenzone has been reported to cause endocrine disruption, allergic reactions, and systemic toxicity including potential impact on hormone levels, reproduction and development. The ingredients that have found to be the safest and most effective in sunscreen protection are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Dioxide.
The FDA has also weighed in on the sunscreen protection factor and the higher numbers. I have always stated that the higher the SPF does not necessarily mean more protection. You do not need more than SPF 30 for everyday use. The key is to reapply if you are out in the sun longer than 2 hours or if you sweat heavily. If you feel more comfortable using a SPF 50 then by all means do so but remember anything higher than that is not giving you any more protection. As a matter of fact, the amount of protection you get from an SPF 30 to an SPF 50 is about 1%.
Three important characteristics of your sunscreen are:
Broad Spectrum (both UVA and UVB protections)
The key to sun protection is to have a routine that includes daily sunscreen (I like to carry around a powder sunscreen to touch up my protection throughout the day), UV protective clothing, sunglasses, a hat as well as limited direct sunlight (if you can). These factors are still the best way to prevent premature aging and skin cancer.
It is important to be aware of your sun exposure time and stay vigilant about your protection as well as what you are using as your sun protection. Sunscreen is just a part of a larger skin protection regime that needs to followed consistently for better long term results.
Want to learn more skin care tips? Check out these blog posts.