The Sun is a powerful Star. It warms our planet, helps things grow, and provides vitamin D. However, this same Star can burn the crap out of our skin if we lay out in its rays unprotected!! This week I am discussing “Everything You Need to Know about Sunscreen!”
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Chemical and Natural Sunscreen? What exactly SPF ratings mean and which is the best for you? How to properly apply sunscreen, and which form of sun protection best suits your style?
In the video I will be covering all these topics and showing y’all just how much sunscreen you should be applying all over your body!
There are two ways to protect our skin from the Sun’s harsh rays. We can choose a natural form of sunscreen or a chemical formulation. There are pro’s and con’s to each; of which I will go over briefly.
This form of sunscreen contains either Titanium or Zinc Oxide which are raw minerals from the earth. Both block UVA and UVB rays. They do this by sitting atop the surface layer of our skin and reflecting the harsh rays away from it. It also keeps the heat of the sun from being absorbed into our skin. This is very helpful for those suffering from Rosacea and other skin issues where heat can play a factor in making these conditions worse. Natural Sunscreen is usually formulated with other ‘natural’ or ‘green’ ingredients which helps to create a mild product with little to no irritation.
There are several types of Natural Sunscreen available on the market. This makes finding a form that best suits your style a cinch.
The downside of Natural Sunscreen is the white cast and weird smell. Personally I do not like either. I am already extremely fair. Applying a product that has a white cast makes me look dead/vampirish/and chalky. Do you feel the same way? If so, there is hope for us. Companies are now putting out product that reduces the white cast effect. Yay!!! Although I am not a fan of the ‘white cast’ it still protects my skin from sun damage. What’s worse? A white cast or damaged skin? Um…. DAMAGED SKIN! No matter what, I am going to slather SPF in some form onto my body.
Natural Sunscreen is sometimes hard to remove, and can feel tacky on the skin. This varies from formula to formula and brand to brand. The higher the SPF rating the greater the chance of this happening due to the increase in percentages of Titanium and/or Zinc Oxide. Although safe for the skin I have found that Titanium and Zinc Oxide in great percentages can lead to breakouts. Whether this be on my body or face. If you find this happens to you but you really want to use a natural sunscreen I recommend switching to a lower SPF rated product. (this will lower the percentage of zinc or titanium oxide)
- Protects skin 100% from damaging UVA and UVB rays.
- Reflects light. Therefore reducing the absorption of heat from the sun.
- Comes in a multitude of styles for easy application.
- Completely Natural.
- Leaves behind a white cast.
- Some formulations have a ‘mineral’ smell.
- Can feel tacky on the skin.
- Some formulations are hard to remove.
Chemical Sunscreens can but are not limited to containing Avobenzone, Homosalate, Oxybenzone, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and/or Octinoxate. Formulations will vary brand to brand and by SPF concentration. You may find some formulations will use all of the above ingredients or just a handful.
Chemical sunscreens block the UVA/UVB rays. They do this by being absorbed into the top layer of our skin (epidermis) and dispersing it across the surface. This means your skin absorbs the heat from the sun. Those suffering from skin conditions such as Rosacea may find this the least comfortable option as heat contributes to making this skin condition worse. There also is a chance that these chemicals can be absorbed into the skin. The verdict is still out on whether these ingredients remain collected and retained in our skin tissue. I want to state that not all the above ingredients are toxic. However, some have tested positive for being endocrine disrupting, and estrogen producing. Doing your own research is the most important thing when deciding on what to use or what NOT to use.
Percentages are important to note when choosing a particular product. If you decide to buy a sunscreen, whether chemical or natural, you will notice percentages next to the ‘active’ ingredients. Active ingredients simply mean that they are the ones working to protect or change something about our skin. If you decide on chemical sunscreen make sure you’re aware of these active chemical percentages. Some of those ingredients have been proven effective and safe within a certain percentage. You could ask yourself these following questions. This may help you in making an educated decision you feel comfortable with.
- How often will I be wearing the product and for how long?
- What do I want the product to do for me?
- Does the end result meet the intent of health for my skin and body?
My personal take… I avoid Homosalate (but in a pinch I have been known to use it. Simply because I weigh the lesser of two evils; the sun and its potential to burn my skin is more evil to me then the short use of Homosalate on my skin)
I do use a chemical sunscreen in the form of a body lotion. It does not contain the ingredients I feel are ‘red’ flagged but I am on the hunt for a body lotion that uses a natural form of sunscreen. Please comment below if you tried any natural SPF forms of body lotion and let me know what you’re loving.
- Absorbs into the skin leaving behind a clear finish.
- Doesn’t have a weird smell.
- Feels light and dries down well on the skin.
- Comes in several styles.
- Certain chemicals have been known to remain in the tissues of the body.
- Absorbs the heat of the sun making it a complication for those who have Rosacea or other skin sensitivities.
- Formulations may contain other ‘chemicals’ one might wish to avoid.
Articles to read:
Please note. I have provided these links to help educate and share information that may lead to you making a better decision BASED ON YOUR CONVICTIONS. If you read something that sounds concerning I would recommend cross-examining it before making a decision. There are many scare mongering articles online that take something small and make into a GIANT thing without much proof. Just be mindful. ☺
Sunscreen comes in multiple SPF ratings. Here are few key points. SPF rates your ability to stay in the sun for a certain amount of time before your skin will burn.
- SPF 15 is the lowest SPF rating and will protect your skin 15 times longer than unprotected exposed skin.
- SPF 20 gives you 20 times longer protection in the sun than unprotected exposed skin.
- SPF 50 gives you 50 times longer protection in the sun than unprotected exposed skin.
This can sound confusing because how do you measure that? Here is the mathematical equivalent I learned in school.
- SPF 15 protects your skin 1 hour and 15 minutes longer than unprotected skin.
- SPF 20 protects your skin 2 hours longer than unprotected skin.
- SPF 50 protects your skin 5 hours longer than unprotected skin.
Although this sounds amazing it doesn’t mean you can apply sunscreen and go out into the sun without ever reapplying it. The minimum that the FDA recommends is 80 minutes. That’s only 1 hour and 20 minutes! Several things must be considered when choosing which SPF is right for you and your activity.
- Are you going to be running errands or exposed to direct light for multiple hours such as the beach?
- Are you going to be out from 10-2 which are the harshest hours for UVA/UVB exposure?
- Do you have an underlying disease that makes your skin more susceptible to the sun?
- Are you on a medication that makes your skin more susceptible to the sun?
- What level is your skin tone? Do you burn easily? Do you tan easily? Does your skin show any resistance to the sun when exposed without sunscreen?
How to measure your skin tone level
*(In terms we can understand)
Please note: Certain medications and diseases can enhance susceptibility to UV rays no matter which skin tone category you fall into.
Skin tone 1– skin has no resistance to the sun whatsoever. The skin burns easily and never tans. A sunburn can last days possibly blistering, then peeling, and then back to its normal colored state.
- If this is your skin tone level I recommend always wearing an SPF 50 to fully block the UV light and protect your skin to the maximum.
Skin tone 2-3– skin tone 2 will burn if left unprotected for a few hours but has the ability to tan slightly. Skin tone 3 will burn if left unprotected for a few hours but tans quickly and continues to build color the longer it is exposed to UV light.
- If this is your skin tone level you have multiple choices to pick from. I would recommend a minimum of SPF 30 for daily out an about use. If you’ll be out all day without shade I recommend SPF 50. If you do desire some color… as this skin tone can tan I would recommend an SPF 15 and reapply it every hour. This will help ‘buffer’ the UV light, keep it from burning your skin, but still give you enough exposure to build up color (tan). Keep in mind that a tan is your body’s way of shielding itself and building a resistance from further UV damage. I never preach to get a tan. Never Ever!!! But I also know some people prefer color on their body. If you’re wanting to do that naturally than this is a recommended ‘safer’ option.
*** Warning. If you decide to do this remember you can still get a sunburn. Decide before hand if the gamble is worth it.
Skin tone 4– this skin tone can withstand hours of being in the sun unprotected without burning. It usually tans quite quickly. However, if left unprotected from UV light after many hours/days the skin can burn and usually peels to reveal a deeper tan.
- If this is your skin tone I would recommend an SPF 15 no less. I still recommend SPF 50 for those long over exposed days at the beach etc.
Skin tone 5– this skin tone is deep by nature and rarely ever burns. It can withstand harsher UV lighting for longer periods of time, and tans easily. With certain deep tones a tan may or may not be noticeable. Mind you the sun is still effecting your skin even if you cannot see the damage with your naked eye.
- If this is your skin tone an SPF 15 daily will serve you well. You will be protected from damaging rays as long as you’re diligent in reapplication. However an SPF 50 is the best guarantee from all UV damage.
*Do not be fooled though. All above mentioned skin types/tones can burn and fall victim to skin cancers.
Personally I wear an SPF of 30 everyday on my body for basic in and outdoor activities such as running errands. When I am going to be thriving out in the sun for many hours, with no shade, I always use an SPF 50. SPF 50 guarantees I can go longer in between re-applications and shields my skin greater from UVA/UVB exposure than SPF 30. I still take great measures to secure shady spots and if I am out I always wear sunglasses and a hat. I am skin tone #2.
Comment below and share your skin tone level and what you like to use to protect your skin from the sun. 😊
You will need to decide what works best for you and your body. I would recommend an SPF of 50 if you know you will be out at the park, beach, or any exposed area in direct sunlight for longer than an hour. I also recommend re-applying every 2 hours if you will be sweating or getting wet. If you decide to use something less than SPF 50 you will want to re-apply sooner than 2 hours. Please note that a lesser SPF will allow some UVA/UVB rays to penetrate the skin. This isn’t always a bad thing and doesn’t mean you will burn. (unless you burn very easily) It depends on your skin type, condition, medicine you may be taking (as some make you more susceptible to the sun) and what you feel comfortable with. Always exercise judgment when it comes to your skins health and well-being. A burn may last 72 hours but its damaging effects last a lifetime.
The recommended amount is a shot glass full for the entire body. That’s 1 ounce. I like to divide my body into sections and eye ball 1 Tbl of sunscreen per each body part. (arms, legs, torso, etc) Then rub and blend that sunscreen into your skin equally leaving nothing exposed. 1 ounce may seem like a lot but believe me that is the coverage you want to keep your skin healthy, and protected.
If you are like me and burn easily always exercise caution. However, if you’re like my husband (who always tans!) then you may be able to get away with a lower SPF and be safe. That doesn’t mean if you tan quickly or are deep complected that your safe from UVA/UVB rays. The sun does not discriminate. It may affect us all differently but skin cancer, and skin damage can still happen no matter what color skin tone.
*Make sure to watch the video for more on Sunscreen.
I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments below.
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