As summer is well and truly upon us, lazy days lounging around with the family in gorgeous sunshine ticks most people’s boxes in terms of perfect leisure time. But how many of us know whether we are adequately protecting ourselves and our loved ones from harmful rays from the sun – or fully understand the nature of the products that we are applying to our skin? I mean, can sun cream be bad for you?
The sun cream industry manufactures both chemical and mineral based products. However, there are many research papers and articles in circulation, suggesting that sun creams are actually bad for us. In fact, the chemical make-up of sun creams has been blamed for causing many cases of skin cancer.
As with all things, there are some that are far better for us than others, and it’s purely dependent on the reliability and content of each individual formulation.
In terms of our skins sensitivity to chemicals, body lotions contain similar proportions of potentially harmful chemicals as sun creams and this concern doesn’t only apply to sun creams.
Chemical or Mineral Based Sun Creams?
You may or may not be aware of this, but most chemical sunscreen work by ABSORBTION into your body, where the chemicals within the lotion protect you by absorbing the sun’s rays. These creams contain many chemicals such as Avobenzone, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Mexoryl SX and SL, Octocrylene and Homosalate and none of them are meant to be present in our body. As such, none of them are likely to be doing us any good and they may well be doing a lot of harm. For example, Oxybenzone has been linked to cell damage, hormone disruption, and allergies.
Mineral-based sun creams take a different approach and don’t get absorbed into your body. They work by sitting on top of your skin and REFLECTING the sun’s rays. There are two common ingredients typically used in combination: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Many dermatologists believe that mineral sun creams are less irritating for sensitive and problematic skin.
Using Sun Cream the Right Way
Whichever type of cream you opt to use for yourself and your family, one thing is clear; sun cream will only work effectively when applied correctly. There is a perception that many believe, that applying a thin coating of SPF15 lotion first thing in the morning will offer all-day protection from the sun. Wrong!
For one thing, anything less than SPF30 isn’t worth wasting your time on. Cream should be reapplied (as a minimum!) every couple of hours. The benefit from an application of SPF15 disappears as soon as you venture outside and so SPF15 is worthless in terms of sun protection. We should be applying a minimum of SPF30. How many of us do that?
The Health Information Officer at Cancer Research UK states ‘Putting on sun cream does not make you invincible’. Other sun protection methods such as avoiding the midday sun, wearing a hat and sunglasses should be used in addition to simply applying sun cream.
Many things in the health and beauty sphere could be deemed as unnecessary and frivolous. However, sun cream is not one of them. It should be part of your daily routine all year-round (yes, even in England on a cloudy day – if it isn’t dark outside then the sun is out!).
Whichever cream you choose should protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet radiation from UVA and UVB is the number one cause of skin cancer. Skin cancer numbers will only decrease when we follow guidelines, take the necessary precautions, and think ‘sun sense’ on a daily basis.
As you know, I am a keen advocate of Tropic products and highly recommend their mineral sunscreen. If you would like more information, or to stock up before your holidays, please do get in touch!
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