The other day my car thermometer read 113 degrees.
Summer is HOT. Especially here in Texas.
This relentless heat and unbearable sun have caused me to think about protecting my skin from its damaging rays.
Despite recent endeavors to increase awareness for sun exposure and frequent sunscreen use, skin cancer rates are rising rapidly. In fact, it is estimated that skin cancer rates are rising by about 4.2% annually.
These are horrifying statistics considering that the average American spends more time attached to a screen than in the sunshine, and most people apply some sort of sunscreen when intentionally spending time outdoors.
I’ve always thought that all sunscreens are created equal, and the highest SPF the better. In recent years, I have learned that this is not the case!
There are two types of sunscreen: chemical and physical.
Some sunscreens are not like the others.
Here are a few of the significant differences between the types.
Chemical sunscreen acts as a sponge, absorbing the rays into your skin and converting them into a less harmful form of radiation. Physical sunscreen acts as a shield, blocking and deflecting any forms of radiation.
Chemical sunscreens typically boast a laundry list of harmful (and hard to pronounce) chemicals including methylisothiazolinone, which has been named the “allergen of the year” by the Environmental Working Group. Oxybenzone is the most concerning of the nine main chemicals typically used in sunscreen. This chemical mimics hormones, causing hormone disruption in children and adults, male and female alike, and can cause serious skin irritation. Studies from the Center for Disease Control show that 96% of Americans regular have detectable levels of oxybenzone in their bodies. This is incredibly concerning for a product you aim to spread all over your body almost every day in the summer!
Oxybenzone also is linked to the destruction of coral reefs. Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are estimated to come in contact with coral reefs every year. Gentler, natural sunscreens haven’t been linked to reef damage. Something to think about when perusing sunscreen brands!
Physical sunscreens contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These two ingredients can carry some risks, as with anything, but have extremely low toxicity, as they are naturally occurring minerals. Often times, physical sunscreens are from natural brands that incorporate moisturizing oils and other skincare ingredients.
A common misconception about physical sunscreen is that it gives you a whitish-purple cast. Scientists have developed mineral nanoparticles that improve this problem. Due to the fact that it is acting as a “shield”, the cast may still appear, but if you rub it in in small sections (one arm/shoulder/leg at a time) or add a small amount of a natural oil (I use coconut or argan) it should diminish it! Below I’ve listed some of my tried and true sunscreen favorites. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment with any questions or reach out on Instagram!
give me the splendid, silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling.
As you continue to soak up the last of the summer sun, think about what you’re putting on your body. You are worth using good ingredients that help your body- not harm it. Have a lovely day in the sunshine!