With the sun and heat of summer in full effect for most of the country, people across the country are breaking out the sunscreen for days of fun in the sun. While too much sun can cause sunburns and severely damage your skin, for many people, the sunscreen used can be nearly as bad. So here are some quick tips on how to choose the best sunscreen that will protect without needlessly exposing you to a host of chemicals and harmful substances.
- Protect Against UVA and UVB – Ultraviolet radiation comes in a variety of forms, while UVB rays are often responsible for sunburns, UVA rays can also be very damaging to your skin. When looking for a sunscreen, select one that offers protection against both of these forms of ultraviolet light.
- Aerosol Sunscreen – If you are using an aerosol type of sunscreen, stop. Though they seem convenient, you often don't realize the amount of these chemicals that you actually inhale. Besides, it is generally good advice to avoid something that has disclaimers that sound more like something you would find on a bottle of spray paint. ‘Use in well ventilated areas.’ Or, ‘…can be harmful or fatal.’
- Powdered Sunscreen – Similar to aerosol sunscreens, powdered version of sunscreen can also be inhaled, and while some of the things used to prevent the sun from damaging your skin are fine
- Avoid Fragrance – ‘Fragrance’ is a very generic term used in a wide variety of personal care and cleaning products. While it sounds innocuous, it can contain a variety of toxic chemicals. Lean towards fragrance free sunscreen.
_Your standard, off-the-shelf sunscreen can contain, parabens, ‘fragrance’ and even some substances that can be linked to cancer. Selecting the right sunscreen can not only reduce your exposure to damaging UV rays but also limit the chemicals you layering on your skin.
_As a couple additional tips when it comes to spending time in the sun, remember to drink plenty of water. Your body has some natural resistance to sun damage, and just as antioxidants help in variety of ways, they also help boost your body's ability to cope with the sun. Supplements, like vitamins or maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, not only improves your overall health but also boosts the body's ability to deal with the sun.
_Lastly, just because it burns, doesn't mean it's evil. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, so while blocking the sun with sunscreen can help prevent burns, it also prevents the body from producing vitamin D. So even if you have fair skin, try to get at least some sunlight. Avoid exposure during midday, when the sun is at it's strongest. Take small steps and gradually build up exposure, and no one ever said that you couldn't spend 20 minutes in the sun THEN put on sunscreen!