Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
of us are led to believe that if we lather on sunscreen in the morning
and then stay out on the beach all day long, our skin is protected.
Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Learning about proper sun protection
and sunscreens will not only keep you and your skin safe, but it will
also keep you from getting flare-ups.
Myth 1: The Sun is Bad for You
Fact: No, the sun is NOT BAD for you.
fact, the sun is healthy if you take precautions. Ultraviolet light
from the sun comes in two main wavelengths: UVA and UVB. They are quite
different in respect of the risk they create for your health. UVB is the
"good" sunlight and UVA is the "bad" one. UVB helps you produce vitamin
D that is extremely important for your overall wellbeing, supporting
the health of your bones, muscles, skin, eyesight, heart and immune
system. UVA can cause free radical damage.
in sun exposure and using proper sun protection are your keys to safety
since long-term, excessive exposure to sunlight can increase the risk
of certain types of skin cancer.
Myth 2: All Sunscreens Are Safe & Effective
Fact: According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 75% of sunscreens in stores don't actually protect you enough.
sun protection against UVA rays is necessary, you need to be educated
and watch for those ingredients in sunscreen that can do more harm than
good. The main chemical used in sunscreens is octyl methoxycinnamate
(OMC), which was found to kill mouse cells, even at low doses. OMC is
present in 90% of sunscreen products. Another common ultraviolet filter,
butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, has also demonstrated toxic properties.
Take a good look at your sunscreen label and beware of the following
chemicals (they come with names you most likely can't even repeat) that
are not really good for you:
Instead, look for sunscreens that base their protective properties on these two major ingredients:
both of those ingredients are at a level of 6% or higher, you are
covered. Green tea extract, aloe extract, shea butter as well as some
other botanical humectants (moisturizers) will keep your skin from
Myth 3: The Higher SPF, The Higher The Protection Level
Fact: The level of protection is NOT growing proportionally to the SPF level
(Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to
prevent UVB from damaging the skin. You can look at it in terms of
percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming
UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent.
They may seem like small differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or
have a history of skin cancer, or you are a child, or over 60, those
extra percentages will make a big difference. And as you can see, no
sunscreen can block all UV rays.
general, an effective recommended SPF is 30. It is also very important
that you opt for the sunscreen that actually blocks both UVA and UVB
rays. Those types of sunscreens are called "Broad Spectrum". Only
sunscreens that pass the FDA's Broad Spectrum test (providing
proportional protection against UVA and UVB rays) may be labeled as
Remember there is NO bearing on the DURATION you can put the sunscreen on and expect protection. No
sunscreen, regardless of strength, stays effective longer than two
hours without reapplication. In addition "reddening" of the skin is a
reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage
you may be getting. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.
please be aware that if you are on a prescription that causes
sun-sensitivity, you cannot extend your sun exposure as long as usual.
Using an SPF higher than 30 is not proven to provide more protection,
but we do know it only has more chemicals, which are not going to help
your acne-prone skin.
Myth 4: Applying Some Sunscreen is Better than Nothing
Fact: It matters a great deal how much sunscreen you put on. And in this situation - MORE IS BETTER.
ensure that you get the full SPF of a sunscreen, you need to apply 1
oz. (about a shot glass full) at once and EVERY time you reapply the
sunscreen. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of
that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is
lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should
use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens
should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the
ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is
just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the
same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied
immediately after swimming, toweling off, or when sweating a lot.
YES - it may add up to a quite a number of cans, tubes or bottles, but using a sufficient amount of sunscreen is essential.
Want to know how much protection is in the most natural form of SPF (a t-shirt)?
If you decide that a t-shirt is your sunscreen today, the color BLACK gives you the most protection.
white t-shirt will only provide SPF 7, and when wet, SPF 3. A dark
green t-shirt will give you SPF 10 (when NOT wet); and black t-shirt,
especially a thicker shirt, SPF up to 50! It is not so surprising as
dark colors absorb sunrays, and thicker materials obviously provide for