As the days get warmer and the sun shines a little brighter I'm being asked about sunscreen more frequently. We don't carry our own sunscreen but know a little bit about the topic and thought I'd try and explain the most common terms associated with sunscreen to help you weed through the scientific language. And if you'd rather watch a little video, in our highlights I shared most of this info a while back so check it out!
So let's start with UV rays.....what are they? Short answer. Ultraviolet Rays. Long answer is broken down into two parts - UVA and UVB. These are the two types of UV rays. The sun is important - Vitamin D is real and necessary. I believe this past year we've all started to all understand a bit better about Vitamin D and it's effect on the immune system so I don't want to talk badly about God's beautiful sun! It gives energy to our bodies and is a huge necessity for cell health. But we also have to be careful with the sun. Like your mother said, staring directly at it can cause vision issues.....and laying out all day in the sand by the ocean without any protection....like clothing.... isn't too smart either....so don't get me wrong, although we need the sun daily we also need to know when we're getting too much of a good thing.
Back to Rays!
What are UVB rays?
These are the Ultraviolet Rays that cause burning. Think B is for Burn - UV-B(URN). These rays are present when it's sunny. UVB rays damage the skin's upper surface and are the main cause of sunburn.
Next up are Ultraviolet A Rays or UVA rays. These are the rays that cause aging. Think A is for Aging - UV-A(GING). These rays are present all day long even if it's cloudy and are responsible for accelerating photo-aging. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays and are the chief cause of wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging.
On to SPF
According to the Skin Care Foundation, SPF is a measure of how long a person can stay in the sun before its UVB rays start to burn the skin. SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of all UVB rays and that rate jumps to 97% for SPF 30 and 98% for SPF 50. Nothing blocks 100%. SPF only pertains to UVB rays.
OK, so that's fairly easy to understand I think but now there's a host of options for types of sunscreen and each manufacturer's claims. Let's start with Broad Spectrum Sunscreens. These are sunscreens that protect the skin against damage from both UVA and UVB rays so your skin is blocked from both age accelerating and photo damage all day long. There are two kinds of broad-spectrum sunscreens - physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen and you want to make sure your sunscreen protects against both these kinds of rays.
Chemical Sunscreen is up first
These types of sunscreens work by using chemicals that are absorbed into the skin which in turn absorb the rays reducing the penetration into the skin. They need about 20 minutes to become chemically active otherwise they are ineffective against sun damage. Common ingredients are (but are not limited to): oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate and are known hormone disruptors.
Last we'll talk about Physical Sunscreens
These sunscreens work by blocking the rays physically as they physically sit on top of the skin so when the sun rays hit the skin they bounce right off because of the physical barrier. Once applied they are only removed if you physically wash them off by bathing, swimming or sweating. Common ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
So now that you know the basic language you might have already guessed that I prefer Physical Sunscreens over Chemical ones for the obvious reason that the chemicals used to absorb the rays must become active to work - and the only way they can work is by going into the blood stream. But on the other hand if your physical sunscreen contains Non Nano Zinc Oxide, you're left with a perfectly safe ingredient to use with no lasting hormone disrupting effects!
So the next question asked is how to use sunscreen with our products. If you purchase an oil based non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen just apply the sunscreen before putting on your foundation and after moisturizing. You'll have the best results this way.
And lastly, what brands do I recommend? Look for any brand where they've marketed the sunscreen as a physical one. If that's not clear, move on!
Enjoy the sun in moderation and if you're headed to the beach, cover up or put on physical sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.