If you walk into any drugstore, you’ll see hundreds of products just begging for your attention. Most of these products appeal to what we think we need, and sometimes, what we actually want. Cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, and detergents…It’s all just a jumble of colors, letters, and assumed desires.
But what about when you’re actually trying to protect your skin?
If we’ve ever been to the beach when we were young, we probably remember our parents slathering on that thick white goo that smells kind of like coconuts, and having a hat slapped on our heads. We were told from that tender age onward, that without some sort of lotion to protect our skin from the sun, that we’re going to end up with some really icky problems. We rolled our eyes as teenagers, and then paid the price when we were walking around like bright red lobsters for the next few days. Then, we remembered in our early 20’s that skin cancer was actually a thing, so we went back to slathering on the SPF 50.
The scary thing that has been creeping up as of late, is that those sunscreens and lotions that we find at the end of the aisle during summertime, might actually have worse ingredients for our skin in them then we could have ever imagined. The chemicals that go into most big brands are the same kind of multi-syllable words that we have been taught to avoid putting into our bodies, so why are we continuing to put them on the outside of our bodies? Our skin is our largest organ, so why aren’t we treating it like one?
Luckily, there are options out there that avoid some of the ickiest ingredients. According to an article over at foodbabe.com, here are the main things to watch out for when reading your labels:
- High SPF: Larger numbers in this case, especially those over 50, are not actually better. There is no scientific proof that SPF protection over 50 actually protects you from sun more, and in fact, UV rays will be just as harmful at SPF 50 as they are at SPF 75.
- Oxybenzone: A hormone disrupting chemical, oxybenzone can be easily absorbed into the skin. It only protects you from UVB rays (the good kind that provides us with Vitamin D), and lets your skin get hit by UVA (the bad kind that gives us cancer). Avoid at all costs, especially with little ones.
- Fragrance: Perfumes can be irritating even in small amounts, but they especially should be avoided in sunscreen because they are made with petroleum, which is linked to all sorts of toxicity.
- Vitamin A: Also called Retinyl Palmitate, this ingredient has been shone to aggravate the skin and possibly lead to the production of skin tumors and lesions.
- Popular Brands: Anything that you can recognize the name of, whether it’s Aveeno or Banana Boat, are rated as having the lowest health scores according to this list. Try to avoid them, if you can.
- Sprays and Powders: Whenever somethings is made into a spray or powder, even more chemicals have to be added in order to make them work right. Sunscreen is meant to be slathered on, not sprayed into your lungs.
A few more things to consider when you’re looking for the right sunscreen are listed below:
- Non-nano is the name of the game. Anything small enough to slide right into the pores of you skin and introduce chemicals, isn’t going to be a good thing.
- Titanium oxide and zinc oxide bases for sunscreen are generally safer because they are less likely to be absorbed directly into the skin. They also help protect you against those baddies, the UVA rays.
- Go for unscented or essential oil bases.
- Broad spectrum will include protection against all the rays.
- Lotions! Something that can be easily rubbed in.
- Water Protection will help keep it on so you won’t have to reapply
Here’s a great little info graphic from the same article that breaks down some of your more ideal choices:
Whenever you get time to hit the beach next, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about what to get in order to protect that precious organ that surrounds you. Remember that your little ones are going to need to have whatever choice of lotion you choose put on them about 30 minutes before going out into the sun, so that it will have a chance to set and give them that extra boost.
And whether your partner likes it or not, make sure they get some on their nose.
There’s nothing like being Rudolph in summer to make you wish you had listened to the pleas of your doting wife/husband!