Understanding SPF and Skin Health
SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays, the kind of radiation that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreens also protect against UVA rays, which can prematurely age your skin. Regular use of SPF 30 or higher is recommended for effective protection.
The Dark Side of Some Sunscreen Ingredients
Recent studies have raised concerns about certain chemicals in sunscreens, particularly benzophenones (like oxybenzone and avobenzone), which may have harmful health effects. These concerns include potential hormone disruption and a possible link to certain types of cancer. It’s essential to be informed and cautious about the ingredients in your sun protection products.
Safe and Effective Ingredients in Sunscreens
- Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide: These are mineral-based ingredients known for their safety and efficacy in blocking UV rays.
- Mexoryl SX and XL: Patented ingredients that provide excellent UVA protection and are less likely to degrade in the sun.
- Tinosorb S and M: Newer ingredients that are photo-stable and offer broad-spectrum protection.
Tips for Choosing a Safe Sunscreen
- Look for Broad-Spectrum Protection: Ensure it shields against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid Oxybenzone: Particularly if you have sensitive skin or are concerned about the potential risks.
- Opt for Mineral-Based Sunscreens: If you’re looking for a safer alternative, mineral sunscreens are a good choice. Our favourite is the UberZinc Synergie Skin
- Check for Water Resistance: Especially if you’ll be swimming or sweating.
Application and Reapplication
Applying sunscreen correctly is just as important as the product you choose. Use enough to cover all exposed skin and reapply at least every two hours, more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
The Environmental Impact
Some sunscreen ingredients, notably oxybenzone and octinoxate, have been linked to coral reef damage. Choosing reef-safe sunscreens can help mitigate this impact.
Incorporating SPF into your daily skincare routine is a non-negotiable step towards healthy skin. While navigating the world of sunscreens can be daunting, especially with concerns about certain ingredients, being informed helps you make safer choices. By selecting the right products and using them correctly, you can protect your skin effectively while minimising potential risks.