You Asked – We Answered
It’s that time of year again when most of us will head for the beach, the park, or the cooling calm of lakes and back-yard pools. The result of all that sunny outdoor activity will be the same, most of us will get way to much exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
Believe it or not, even with all the warnings about skin cancer, the proper and effective use of sunscreen is largely ignored. Most will not apply sunscreen often enough throughout the day, while others will misinterpret product labeling. Regardless, the results will be the same – many will end up with a sunburn at the end of the day and permanent skin damage that will lead to premature aging or worse.
So, once again, we answer your questions about sun exposure and the effective use of sunscreen:
Can I use last year’s sunscreen?
Even though the expiration date on last year’s sunscreen is still good, you might think twice about using it for the following reason: it was probably exposed to very high temperatures last summer. This causes the sunscreen to loose potency. The result – unless it was an unopened bottle that remained in a cool environment, we suggest you toss it and get a new bottle of your favorite broad spectrum sunscreen just to be safe.
I wear makeup with SPF, do I still need to use sunscreen on my face?
Makeup or BB creams with SPF 15 or more are perfect for work days or when you are indoors most of the time. But they do not provide the right amount of sun protection if you plan to be outdoors. The recommended amount of sunscreen for the face is about ½ a teaspoon. That’s a lot of makeup or BB Cream. So use your SPF makeup, just apply an additional coating of sunscreen under the makeup if you are going outside for proper protection.
Are spray sunscreens safe and do they work?
Micro spray sunscreens do work. They do not leave a sticky or oily residue and are easy to apply. But they often create a cloud of sunscreen which you inevitably inhale as you coat your skin and it’s reasonable to be worried about breathing that in. On the question of whether it’s safe, so far there are no rulings on that since it’s impossible to measure how much someone might be inhaling. If you like spray sunscreens opt for a non-aerosol formula or a pump bottle to prevent breathing in harmful chemicals and help out the ozone layer while you are at it.
Do the chemicals in sunscreens penetrate the bloodstream?
No doubt, sunscreens do contain chemicals rated ‘harmful’ by the EWA (Environmental Working Group), many of which are banned in Europe. Since the FDA does not regulate sunscreens, the job of monitoring their ingredients it up to you, the consumer. Studies have shown that small trace amounts of chemicals like oxybenzone do enter the blood stream where they can create free radicals that might adversely affect hormone levels. That said, it’s still better to use a sunscreen than not, and if you are worried about the chemicals in sunscreen, select a natural product and wear more protective clothing from companies like Coolibar, Parasol, Reel Legends and more. Most of the fabrics they use block up to 97% of UV rays.
Are there any natural sunscreen products that work?
For years the only natural sunscreen made from zinc or titanium left a chalky white mark on the skin. Not a pretty look for the beach. Today there are more options if you want a natural product without chemicals. Companies like 100% Pure, derma e and Alba Botanical have natural sunscreens that are free of harmful chemicals.
What does ‘Water Resistant’ sunscreen really mean?
Water resistant sunscreen means that the product is water- and sweat-proof for up to 80 minutes. However, it’s important to know that you should reapply sunscreen directly after exercise or swimming to remain protected throughout the day.
For more information on the correct application of sunscreen products for maximum protection, read our article on Sunscreen.
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- Sun Damaged Skin
- Professional Treatment of Sun Damaged Skin
- Repairing Sun Damaged Skin