There are two categories of sunscreen:
- Physical (Mineral)
Both protect your skin from ultraviolet rays and if you are going to be in the sun, BE SMART. Use sunscreen!
When choosing a sunscreen there are two important things you should be looking for:
- The term broad spectrum which signifies, this sunscreen offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
- The sun protection factor (or SPF), which refers to how well a sunscreen protects you from UVB rays.
SPF, or Sun Protection Factor,is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin, and can contribute to skin cancer.
If your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer). This is a rough estimate that depends on skin type, intensity of sunlight and amount of sunscreen used. SPF is actually a measure of protection from amount of UVB exposure and it is not meant to help you determine duration of exposure.
For best protection, experts recommend using a minimum SPF sunscreen of 15, applying the proper amount (2mg/cm2 of skin, or about one ounce for full body coverage), and reapplying every 2 hours.
Most people under-apply sunscreens, using ¼ to ½ the amount required. Using half the required amount of sunscreen only provides the square root of the SPF. So, a half application of an SPF 30 sunscreen only provides an effective SPF of 5.5!
What is UV radiation?
Sunlight is a common form of UV radiation that fuels life on earth, but at the same time has damaging effects on your skin. There are two types of skin-damaging UV rays: UVA and UVB.
- UVB (short-wavelength): primarily responsible for causing sunburn.
- UVA1 and UVA2 (long-wavelength): contribute to skin aging. All are dangerous in their own ways and should be protected against.
Learn more about UV radiation : http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb/understanding-uva-and-uvb
SPF refers to the ability a sunscreen has to block UVB rays which cause sunburns.
Don't be fooled by the SPF numbers. The American Academy Of Dermatology has shown that a sunscreen with SPF 45 protection, provides only 1% more protection than a sunscreen with SPF 30. There are only two FDA-approved mineral sun filters.
Mineral based, physical sunscreens physical sunscreens use minerals, Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide to create a physical barrier between the ultraviolet rays and the skin. Physical sunscreens do not allow UV rays to absorb in the skin, so they do not cause harmful free radicals. Thus, the sun's rays are blocked or reflected from the skin. Ultimately, physical sunscreens are a more effective anti-aging strategy and may offer better protection against skin cancer.
Zinc Oxide (ZnO): Zinc Oxide is the only natural sunfilter that has the ability to protect from all of the sun's rays: UVB, UVA1, UVA2.
TITANIUM DIOXIDE (TiO2): Is effective on UVA2 and UVB rays, however it does not have the ability to protect against UVA1 ranges.
SMART STUFF sunscreen contain only the natural sun filter– Zinc Oxide. Now, That's Smart.
Chemical sunscreens"chemical" sunscreens contain synthetic chemicals that absorb the utraviolet rays, therefore absorbing the radiation. these chemicals generate harmful free radicals in the skin. some chemical sunscreens have been shown to act as "estrogen mimickers" which may throw off your endocrine system by mimicking, blocking and/or altering hormone levels. common chemical sunscreens like Oxybenzones and Avobenzones act like photosensitizers, thus potentially increasing the skin's sensitivity to harmful UV Light.
Once these active ingredients are exposed to sunlight, they illuminate which can cause an increase in the production of free radicals, which may lead to:
- Skin Aging
- Skin Irritation
- Allergic Reactions
- And Even Skin Cancer
Learn more about estrogen mimickers and free radical formation:http://www.ewg.org/analysis/toxicsunscreen
6 HARMFUL CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN INGREDIENTS TO AVOID OXYBENZONE: This penetration enhancer is a SYNTHETIC CHEMICAL that HELPS other CHEMICALS PENETRATE THE SKIN is FOUND IN ABOUT 60% OF SUNSCREENS sold in the USA. TOXICOLOGICAL STUDIES have shown that once this chemical is absorbed into your skin, hormone alterations can occur, throwing off your endocrine system long after you're out of the sun. THE US CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL found that 97% OF AMERICANS HAVE this chemical, OXYBENZONE IN THEIR BLOOD.(1) When EXPOSED TO UV rays, OXYBENZONE undergoes a CHEMICAL REACTION that can cause ALLERGIC REACTIONS and OTHER POTENTIAL TOXIC EFFECTS.
OCTINOXATE: Also known as OCTYL METHOXYCINNAMATE and ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, Is used to help other ingredients ABSORB MORE READILY. It is one of the MOST COMMON ingredients IN CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS. It PRODUCES FREE RADICALS that MAY ATTACK HEALTHY SKIN CELLS and CAN CONTRIBUTE TO PREMATURE AGING. Studies have shown that it CAN CAUSE HARMFUL EFFECTS ON ESTROGEN LEVELS for both HUMANS and WILDLIFE. Should it come in contact with water, it CAN BE HARMFUL TO SEA LIFE.
PARABENS: METHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN, BUTYLPARABEN and ETHYLPARABEN, are PRESERVATIVES derived from PETROLEUM and PLANT SOURCES that are SUSPECTED CARCINOGENS. ACUTE and SERIOUS CHRONIC AFFECTS leading TO HORMONE DISRUPTION, DEVELOPMENTAL and REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY, and ALLERGIC REACTIONS have been REPORTED.
HOMOSALATE: Is a UV-ABSORBING and PENETRATION ENHANCER that is ABSORBED INTO our BLOOD STREAMS. Studies have shown that it ACCUMULATES at a rate FASTER THAN OUR BODIES CAN ELIMINATE it.
RETINYL PALMITATE: A form of VITAMIN A used to INCREASE PRODUCT PERFORMANCE as an ANTIOXIDANT in skin care. But, when RETINYL PALMITATE is EXPOSED to SUNLIGHT, FDA STUDIES have shown that it may SPEED up the DEVELOPMENT of SKIN TUMORS and MALIGNANT CELLS.
1. Calafat AM, Wong L-Y, Ye X, Reidy JA, Needham LL 2008. Concentrations of the Sunscreen Agent Benzophenone-3 in Residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004. Environ Health Perspect 116:893-897
DIGITAL ARTICLE- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453157/