We are well into summer and it’s time to talk about protecting your skin from the sun!
Because UVA rays cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin! These little buggers can even pass through windows as you drive in your car. So a traffic jam goes from simply being annoying, to aging you!
UVB rays on the other hand, cause burning or the superficial layers of skin and play a key role in the development of cancer. Sun damage may cause hyperpigmentation, age spots, leathery or sagging skin and DNA damage which may lead to mutations on a cellular level (causing cancer). You can EVEN get burned on a cloudy day (this goes out to you Portlanders).
All said and done, wearing sunscreen is a must!
But if you’re like me, you may have avoided wearing sunscreen because you heard it actually plays a role in causing cancer. The key here is the TYPE of sunscreen. Let’s review to get the facts straight.
First of all there are two types of sunscreens. Physical and Chemical.
Physical sunscreens use mineral UV filters, while chemical sunscreens use synthetic UV filters. There are also hybrid sunscreens which contain both. UV filters are the active ingredient in sunscreens that protect you from the sun. In physical sunscreens, it is Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Physical sunscreens protect you from the sun by sitting on the top of the skin and deflecting or blocking the sun’s rays. When you have a physical sunscreen, think thick, opaque and sometimes streaky. Physical sunscreen rubs off more easily and must be reapplied frequently. The great thing about it is it gets to work right away.
Chemical Sunscreens on the other hand penetrate the skin and work by absorbing the sun’s rays. They tend to be runny and colorless. Some chemical filters can scatter rays, but most only absorb them. Nowadays, there are physical formulas which are micronized so this type of sunscreen is easier to spread, but it can take up to 20 minutes to fully sink in for protection.
Our preference is physical sunscreen. This is your safest bet to protect your skin without harsh chemicals. Take a look at the back of your sunscreen bottle for the ‘active ingredients’, look for “oxides” such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These are physical sun blocking agents.
If you see a ton of long words you cannot pronounce, it is likely a chemical sunscreen. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient that we tend to see on our labels. Chemical ingredients tend to irritate the eyes and skin or cause allergic reactions because it takes multiple ingredients combined to get broad spectrum coverage and some can actually cause free radical formation, which leads to more sun damage in the long run.
Many chemical UV filters have not been FDA approved in the states but are in sunscreens sold in Europe and Asia, be sure to check labels if you are going on vacation. Also when shopping for makeup, be aware that SPF labeled in your makeup is not adequate protection for the day. Be sure you are using a base or reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.
So what do we recommend?
At The Portland Girl we carry Kimberly Sayer, Ultra Light Facial MoisturizerSPF 30. It is a nontoxic formulation from minerals Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide which, offers complete protection from the sun without irritating even the most sensitive skin.
It also contains Oat Beta Glucan to protect against UVA oxidative stress. Beta Glucan is made up of a long chain of DGlucose molecules, which are small enough to be quickly absorbed by the skin and immediately used by the body. Oat Beta Glucan can also help the skin to heal from over-exposure to sun and mild burns. It also contains Lemon Oil to detoxify the skin, minimize oil production and dry up pimples.
This product is easily absorbed, lightweight and won’t clog pores. It is safe to use daily, under make-up or alone. Come in for a sample or ask to apply some after your next service and experience the light texture and refreshing citrus notes.Remember, sunscreen is not the only way to protect your skin, take further steps, find a great summer hat, avoid laying out during the hottest part of the day and take cover after being out for long periods of time.
Next time you’re standing in the lotion aisle of your favorite store, don’t be overwhelmed by the dozens upon dozens of choices. Simply look for SPF’s that contain our 2 basic blocking agents (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) and avoid those from the list below:
4MBC: a UV filter not approved as an active ingredient for use in sunscreen in the U.S. but listed as an inactive ingredient in some products. thyroid toxicity, hormone disruption Avobenzone notoriously unstable, relatively high rates of skin allergy, limited skin penetration
Benzoin Extract: linked to breast cancer, may cause hormone disruption and tissue damage Helioplex stabilizer, used commonly with avobenzone
Homosalate: found in mother’s milk, disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone, toxic breakdown points, it accumulates in our bodies fast than we can get rid of it
Octinoxate: one of the most common ingredients, penetrates, found in mother’s milk, hormorne like activity, reproductive system, thyroid and behavior alterations in animal studies, moderate rates of skin allergy, it is harmful for wildlife once it gets in to the water as well
Octylcrylene: found in mother’s milk, skin penetration in lab studies, relatively high rates of skin allergy
Oxybenzone: found in mother’s milk, acts like estrogen, alters sperm production in animals, high rates of skin allergy, associated with endometriosis, blocks, limits or alters hormone levels, may cause eczema-like reactions
Parabens: associated with both accute and chronic side effects paragons ( butyl , ethyl, methyl, propyl.) May induce allergic reactions, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity
Retinyl Palmitate: (Vitamin A Palmitate) it is an antioxidant, but as an ingredient in sunscreen, certain forms of vitamin a break down and and produce a destructive free radical that are toxic to cells, damage DNA , and may lead to cancer