Sunscreen, also known as sunblock, plays a key role in protecting your skin from the sun. It protects you from skin damage, sunburn and has a valuable weapon in the fight against skin cancer.
Since it is applied all over the body, it should not be irritating or cause any allergic reaction. People might ingest the ingredients of the sunscreen while they’re applying it. So, it’s a must to check the content and make sure there are no harmful ingredients to the lungs and internal organs.
What’s the difference: Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreen
Mineral sunblock contain protectants like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are thick to apply and add a little sheen on the skin. Zinc Oxide blocks UV1, UV2, and UVB while Titanium Dioxide only blocks UVA and UVB. They are both FDA approved and safe to use on children.
On the other hand, Chemical sun protection contains petrochemicals. These are chemicals derived from “petroleum” which can damage the endocrines when applied in large amounts. Chemical sunblocks easily absorbs into the skin.
Do Sunscreen Protect skin from harmful UVA rays?
No. Not all sunblocks protect consumers from UVA and UVB rays. Some of them are claiming to have that broad-spectrum protection do not provide the level of UVA protection in their products. So better look for an appropriate level of sun protection factor (SPF).
The SPF listed on sunblock indicates how much longer it will take the skin to redden using the sun protection than without. For example, using sunblock with SPF 20 means it will take skin 20 times longer to redden than without the sunscreen
Oxybenzone is a NO!
Mineral and Chemical contain long-lasting ingredients. But one ingredient brought a series of discussions regarding chemicals in sun protection, the Oxybenzone. It is present in all chemical sunblocks which are toxic ingredients found in all cosmetic products. Experts linked them to hormone disruption and have the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.
When choosing a sunscreen, mineral product is the better option since it contains sunblock agents that stay on the skin rather than soaking into your body. It reflects the sun rays, like a mirror on the skin and it protects the body from UV rays upon application.
Consider Avoiding Fragrances
Synthetic Fragrances are the number one ingredient to avoid in cosmetic products. It is used in cosmetics and other personal care products to hide the odor of the toxic ingredients and to make it more enticing to consumers. “Fragrance” is a labeling term which can cover up the presence of toxic phthalates.
Phthalates is a chemical used as a preservative. It interferes with the body’s hormones, especially our reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. The possible health risks include cancer, developmental disorder, fertility, and chronic diseases.
Is Paraben okay?
Parabens are a group of ingredients used in cosmetic, personal hygiene products, food products, and pharmaceuticals. They are effective in preventing the growth of yeast, bacteria, and fungi that can cause products to spoil.
Thus, they contribute directly to the quality of the products by extending their shelf life.
Our Environment is at risk, too!
According to studies, one drop of chemical sunscreen is enough to damage our environment especially the coral reefs. And yes! Oxybenzone is the culprit.
Oxybenzone does not just kill them but it also causes DNA damage in both adult and larval stages of the reefs. So the next time you apply chemical sunscreen, you may want to think twice.
What you should buy?
Sunscreens containing zinc oxide are the safest over the chemical ones. If you’re looking for a sunscreen that can easily absorb into the skin, chemical-based ones may be better.
But make sure it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like oxybenzone. Always do research beforehand and avoid products with harmful chemicals.
Tips for Using Sunscreen
- Chemical sunscreens should be applied 10 minutes before you go outside. In that way, the skin will absorb the protective chemicals being applied.
2. Apply the sunscreen thickly and make sure every part of your body is well coated. Pay attention to the parts of the body which are prone to burning such as ears, back, neck, shoulders, and nose.
3. Reapply sunscreen often. Do not trust the product label claiming for better sun protection for more than two hours. Re-apply again for added extra protection once your body is soaked in water.
Sunscreens were developed to protect against sun burns, not skin cancer. Scientific research shows that sunscreens offer some protection from squamous cell carcinoma. But show conflicting results for basal cell carcinoma and for melanoma, the most harmful of the skin cancers.
All sunscreens release free radicals when the ingredient molecules absorb UV energy. Although free radicals may damage DNA and skin cells, it is still advisable to use sunscreen when you must be out in the sun. That is why, sun protection is very essential in any skincare regimen.
Source: Wellness Mama