I know what you are thinking, it’s November, why do I need sunscreen? It’s a common misconception that we do not need sunscreen in winter months because we are not bathing in sunlight. While it is important to get our necessary 15 minutes in the sun everyday to maintain adequate vitamin D levels, more than that can cause skin aging. Skin in the winter is more sensitive to the sun then in summer because melanin is not being produced as much. Melanin is the skin’s own pigment and responsible for your summer tan. It also acts as a protection mechanism against sun damage. In the winter months, melanin is not being produced as much, and therefore the skin has less defenses to the harsh rays that cause premature aging.
Combining activities like skiing, snow boarding, snow shoveling, and reflections from the ground and car windows, you get more sun exposure than you would think.
The science of skin damage
Sunlight contains a spectrum of wavelengths, including visible and invisible light. Ultraviolet light forms part of the invisible spectrum of which, UVA and UVB reach the earth surface. UVA forms the majority of UV light and contributes to skin ageing and the development of skin cancer as it penetrates deeper into the skin (the main UV rays emitted by sunbeds). It has a consistent intensity throughout the day, all year round and can penetrate through cloud and glass. UVB light is more intense and leads to the redness and sunburn, which can potentially lead to genetic mutations and skin cancers. Therefore, during winter, sun protection should still be practiced as clouds do not stop the penetration of UV light.
Some make-ups and moisturizers have sunscreen in them but it does not mean that you are fully protected. The SPF of sunscreens is measured using 2mg/cm2 but studies have shown that most of us use a fraction that amount, which means we only end up getting a square root of what is written on the bottle (i.e. SPF 5 instead of 25).
How conventional Sunscreen can cause cancer
here are just a few of the extreme hazards of putting conventional sunscreen on your skin (Petroleum based):
Unstable Molecules: – UV rays can break the molecules down in your skin and create free radicals. These can lead to cancer.
They bio accumulate – meaning that they stay in your body for a long time. Survey showed that oxybenzone, one of the most toxic of sunscreen ingredients, persisted in human urine in 96.8% of the 2,517 samples. (Learn More)
It may increase asthma and allergies (Learn More).
Estrogenic Exposure: Sunscreen active ingredients are one of the highest exposures we have to estrogenic chemicals.
Disrupt aquatic life: Some of the products in sunscreen cause coral reefs to die, fish to become hermaphroditic, and interfere with reproductive cycles of aquatic life.
Look for Products With 3 Main Ingredients:
1) Zinc oxide: Zinc Oxide is a naturally occurring mineral, which absorbs both UVA (aging/cancer causing) and UVB (burning) rays. It’s incredibly stable so it can hold onto the UV energy and release it as heat. Zinc oxide is also the only option rated safe for babies and it’s the main ingredient in diaper creams. Lastly, zinc oxide is a white powder, so to prevent looking like you just splashed baking powder all over your skin, products are now using nanoparticles. This is a point of contention because some say the particles are so small they go into the blood stream. Studies have shown that it is safe but some are not so sure. This is why some individuals might opt for micronized zinc oxide.
2) Carrier oil or wax: Look for oils that you have heard of or you would use in your kitchen. Coconut oil, Olive oil, Jojobe oil, and beeswax are all excellent options.
3) Antioxidants: No sunscreen can completely block the rays of sun, and you’re going to get some oxidative damage. This is why you need antioxidants, either in your sunscreen or in your food (or both). Putting antioxidants directly on the skin helps reduce the sun damage immediately and helps preserve the oils from going rancid. Great sources of antioxidants are dark skinned berries (blue/black berries), green tea, cranberry, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, etc.
A good rule of thumb is if you were stranded on a desert island, you should be able to eat your sunscreen.
My Top 5 all natural sunscreens
100% Natural UVA/UVB Moisturizer SPF 45 Broad Spectrum Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Water. Enriched with Vitamins C, D & E Aloe & Cucumber.PABA FREE. Great for Sensitive/Acne Skin
This sunscreen uses Hyaluronic Acid properly with Vitamin C, which literally makes your face look two decades younger in weeks!
It has a texture which is as luxurious as your favorite daily facial moisturizer… yet it’s a sunscreen. Hence the name, Andre Lorent Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen. Not only does it work on your face, it works on your whole body!
Practice safe sun with this Vegan & Cruelty Free, soothing sunscreen blended with Oat Protein & Safflower-based Hydresia. Vegan, Cruelty Free, Oxybenzone Free, Paraben Free, Gluten Free & Phthalate Free. They have the tagline “Kiss it & make it all better.”
If you are looking for something you can be active in, look no further. Sun Barrier is the best athletic sunscreen for jogging, biking, soccer, beach volleyball and surfing. Participate in sports with protection whether your on a simple walk or participating in organized sports. Its vegan and cruelty free for all the animal lovers out there.
Tomorrow I am going to dive into the deep end and talk about anti-wrinkle cream. Do their work? How do they work? Are they worth the money? See you tomorrow.
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