Sunscreen Rules!

28 May

It’s unofficially summertime (in the US)!!! Speaking of…did you guys see this article in the New York Times today?

Clarity on how sunscreen works and what all those numbers mean is something I’ve been talking blogging about for a while.

Here are some of the take-aways from the article that I think are particularly helpful (content copied from the article, my notes are Italicized):

  • Look for products with an SPF of 15 to 50, and that are labeled “broad spectrum protection,” meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid sunscreen sprays. The F.D.A. has banned sunscreen powders (though some products may still be available) and has asked for more data on sprays. The concern is twofold: that not enough sunscreen makes it onto the skin, and that the spray may be inhaled into the lungs. [Enough sunscreen = 1 fluid ounce (the size of a golf ball)]
  • Avoid products with vitamin A, retinol or its derivatives, such as retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate. At the moment, the F.D.A. says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest these are harmful, but the Canadian health authorities appear to be concerned that the additives increase sun sensitivity. [A lot of “skin tightening” creams (especially for your under-eye area) have retinol in them, so beware!]
  • Look for fragrance-free products. Scents bring more unnecessary chemicals and potential allergens to the mix.
  • Take endorsements and seals of approval with a grain of salt. The Skin Cancer Foundation gives a “seal of recommendation” to sunscreens, but only if their manufacturer has donated $10,000 to become a member of the organization. [I blogged about this a few years ago! Take a look at #4!]

Click here for more of my musings on sun protection, and stay safe this summer!

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