Sunscreen is an essential part of your outdoor gear, However, not every sunscreen is actually protective or free from harmful chemicals. In fact, the ingredients must be your ultimate concern.
Before purchasing a new sunscreen, you should make sure whether it will leave you overexposed to damaging UVA rays, break down in the sun, or if it contains certain ingredients that may mess up your hormones and damage your skin!
Also, remember to regularly check your skin for new tender or growing moles and consider consulting a dermatologist if you notice anything unusual.
The best prevention against harmful UV radiation is shade, protective clothing, proper timing, and a good sunscreen.
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1. Pick a Good Sunscreen:
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) encourages people to live healthier in a healthier environment. They have a sunscreen database that assesses the safety and efficiency of SPF-rated products, including +880 sunscreens for sports and beach use, +480 moisturizers, and +120 lip products.
EWG give high ratings to brands that offer broad spectrum and long-lasting protection with ingredients that cause the least health concerns when absorbed by the human body.
2. Don’t Fall for High SPF Labels:
Any sunscreen that is labeled higher than SPF 50+ can lure you to stay in the sun for a longer time. But you should know that even if you don’t burn, your skin might get damaged. The best option is to stick only to SPFs between 15 and 50+ and no more than 50.
Choose your product in accordance with your skin color, the time you spend outside, and the amount of cloud and shade cover. Also, remember to reapply often because sunscreen chemicals sometimes degrade in the sun, wash off, or rub off on towels and clothing.
3. Avoid Sunscreens with Vitamin A:
Eating veggies that are rich in vitamin A are good for your health, but spreading vitamin A on your skin is not. According to government reports, tumors and lesions can develop faster on a skin coated with creams containing vitamin A, also known as retinol or retinyl palmitate.
It’s included in 14% of all sunscreens reviewed in 2017. So you may want to absolutely avoid any skin or lip product whose ingredients list includes vitamin A, retinol, or retinyl palmitate.
4. Avoid Oxybenzon:
Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen that can easily penetrate your skin after application and eventually damage your hormone system. To avoid health hazards, you should look for sunscreens with zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX, or 3% avobenzone. These can safeguard your skin against harmful UVA radiation.
5. No Insect Repellent!
Even though a combination of insect repellent and sunscreen seems appealing, it’s better to use two different products instead of a single mixed formula. Combination products are problematic because sunscreens and insect repellents are safe and effective when used separately, and if combined, the sunscreen’s capacity to block UV radiation can be weakened by the repellent, while the toxicity of the repellent is improved by the sunscreen. If you really need a bug repellent, you should buy it separately and make sure to apply it first.
6. No Spray!
Harmful ingredients can be found in both sprays and lotions, but are much more dangerous in sprays because you can potentially inhale these chemicals, as well as they’re also inflammable. Spraying sunscreen is not recommended, especially for children whose lungs are more sensitive to damage.
In fact, sprays fill the air around you with tiny particles that may be dangerous to breathe. If it happened that a spray-on sunscreen is your only option, you should spray the sunscreen into your hand and the apply it on your skin. Also, make sure the spray has fully dried before going near anything burning to avoid catching on fire. But if you’re shopping for sunscreen, reach for a lotion instead.
7. Additional Sun Safety Tips to Protect Your Kids:
The best protection is a hat and shirt. Then, offer your kids a sunscreen that’s safe and effective. Consider these important precautions with babies and children:
Infants younger than 6 months should completely avoid direct sunlight or at least as much as possible because their skin is not yet protected by melanin. So when you take your baby outside:
– Cover them up with protective and loose clothing, and don’t forget the hat.
– Make sure to always provide shade. You can use an umbrella if it’s difficult to find shady spots.
– Avoid midday sun. Go out either in the early morning or late afternoon.
– Avoid using sunscreens on infants under 6 months old or make sure to consult a doctor first.
You young child’s skin is still very sensitive to chemical allergens, as well as to the sun’s UV rays.
– Test sunscreen first by applying a small amount on the inside of your kid’s wrist one day before using it. If you notice a rash or irritation, ask your doctor to suggest a proper product.
– Reapply sunscreen as often as needed, especially if your child is sweating a lot or playing in the water.
Teenagers who seek a bronzed skin color are likely to sunbathe for longer times, which is a bad idea. Experts assume that prolonged UV exposure might have caused the increase in melanoma incidence among women born after 1965. Also, tanning parlors are even a worse idea, as they expose the skin to 15 times more UV radiation than the sun. Protect your teens and let them know that a darker tan does not mean good health.
Sunscreens prevent sunburn but not other kinds of skin damage. So make sure that yours offers real protection.
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