What Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid
As we approach the spring and summer months, knowing what ingredients to avoid when buying sunscreen is essential! Not all sunscreen products are created equal, and neither are the ingredients in them.
Sunscreen should be part of your regimen when you go outside for play or sport. But, it’s equally important to get the proper amount of Vitamin D. If you’re going outdoors for more than twenty minutes, we suggest letting your body absorb Vitamin D through the sun for the first fifteen minutes. After that, you can apply sunscreen or use other precautions to protect your body.
Ingredients to Avoid When Buying Sunscreen
Just like many of the skincare products on the market, some sunscreens share similar chemicals that should be avoided. Many of these chemicals are hormone disruptors, which can cause adverse side effects on our bodies, including restless sleep, anxiety, and depression.
- Avoid sunscreen with bug repellents. To improve the efficacy of broad-spectrum sunscreen, use bug spray separately, and apply it first.
- Avoid sunscreen with Vitamin A. One study showed cancerous lesions could develop sooner on skin exposed to the sun with Vitamin A in the sunscreen or lip protection. This is because the antioxidants break down into free radicals when exposed to the sunlight, causing damage to our DNA, which could lead to cancer.
- Avoid oxybenzone as it is shown to penetrate the skin and act as a synthetic estrogen, disrupting your hormone functions.
- Avoid titanium dioxide- is a potential carcinogen and can be harmful when inhaled through tiny particles in the air.
- Avoid sunscreens with parabens as those also disrupt your hormones.
- Avoid spray sunscreens and opt for cream-based sunscreen instead. The sprays can be harmful to the environment and contain additional fillers and chemicals.
Don’t assume the higher the SPF, the longer the protection. Apply it just as often and aim for an SPF between 15 and 50. You should pick a sunscreen based on your skin type and the length of time you’re spending in the sun. Reapply it after sweating or swimming, or every two hours at least.
General Tips for Sun Protection
If you want to limit the use of sunscreen, you can protect your body against harmful UV rays using the following tips:
- Wear protective clothing.
- Stay in the shade.
- Only go out in the sun during the early morning or late afternoon hours. The sun is the strongest midday.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV radiation, which can cause cataracts.
- Tan does not mean healthy. Apply sunscreen if necessary.
Tips for Infants and Children
- Wear protective clothing and stay in the shade.
- Only apply sunscreen to children six months of age or older. The sunscreen can irritate the skin of infants.
- If over the age of 6 months, apply sunscreen often, especially if your children are sweating or swimming.
So which sunscreen should you use?
Be sure to choose one with zinc oxide as it forms a protective layer over your skin when applied. Our family uses Badger Balm Sunscreen or Thinkbaby products. We encourage you to do your research or check out Environmental Working Group’s suggestions for sunscreen options.
What are your tips for protecting your family from too much sun during the summer months? Let us know in the comments below!