For those who don’t usually live in a hot country, picking up a sunscreen can be slightly confusing, so here are a few basic tips:
Why choosing organic or non-toxic sunscreens is a good idea?
Over the counter sunscreens contain potentially dangerous ingredients so before feeling smug and safe with your 50+, check out the ingredients you’re applying on your skin.
Remember, ingredients do penetrate deep into your body through your skin.
Totally organic or non-toxic sunscreens will not contain dangerous ingredients. However, it is still wise to know what’s what. There are some potentially carcinogenic ingredients you don’t need on your skin, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, benzophenone, octocrylene, octyl mehtoxycinnamate, disopropyl adipate, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin A), micronised titanium, zinc oxide nonparticle and parabens.
Besides being potentially carcinogenic (may cause some forms of cancer), these ingredients may also create changes in your DNA, as well as create other health hazards, such as allergies and skin problems.
What SPF really means?
SPF 10 means that it would take your skin ten times longer to get red than if you weren’t wearing any protection. It is indicating how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin when that particular product and factor is being used.
Choose a broad spectrum
If a sunscreen has an SPF but does not offer broad spectrum protection (which protects against UVA, as well as UVB), then it is only guarding against sunburn but not skin cancer. Not all sunscreens offer broad spectrum protection.
The difference between UVA and UVB rays:
UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. UVA rays cause tanning and are constantly present, no matter the season or the weather. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA plays a huge part in skin aging and photo aging (wrinkling) as the UVA rays penetrate much deeper into the skin than UVB. So, if you think a tan will make you look younger and slimmer, think twice. UVB rays cause sunburn and is the chief cause of skin reddening and tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. UVB rays can burn and damage at the beach, on high altitudes and on reflective surfaces, such as snow or ice.
The bottom line:
Go for an organic sunscreen with a full spectrum protection. You don’t really need a very high protection – a Factor 30 should be enough. Even the highest SPF broad spectrum cannot completely protect against the sun, so stay out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
Have you heard this good tip? Avoid going into direct sunlight when your shadow is shorter than you are as the sun damage is at its greatest. It’s amazing how you can learn something new each day.
The bottom line is therefore that a little bit of sun in moderation is protection in itself.
So, relax and enjoy your summer without getting too sunburnt!