How To Save Your Skin!
Allow Dr. Claudia to clear the air.
When it comes to sunscreen formulation there is no perfect product. What we do know is that using sunscreen is a proven and effective way to minimise solar damage in the form of cancer and premature skin ageing. SPF or Sun Protection Factor is a term solely used to determine how well a solar filter protects human skin from turning red, or burning. UV rays come in a variety of strengths: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer. UVB penetrates down into our outer skin layer (epidermis) and causes the redness of a sunburn while UVA penetrates even deeper into our skin and causes cellular and DNA damage. A product that only has “SPF” only protects us from UVB. Only a product labeled “broad spectrum” will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Unfortunately for us, most of the sunscreens only cover UVB rays.
Suncreens cause cancer: Nope. There has never been a reported case of an approved sunscreen leading to skin (or any other type) of cancer on a person using it as it is intended.
Oxybenzone is dangerous: Approved by the FDA in 1978. No data showing any form of health problems in humans.
So is retinal palmitate: No study shows that it increases the risk of skin cancer in humans. Retinal palmitate is a form of vitamin A that is found naturally in the skin.
SPF 100 is the best: Nope. Anything over SPF30 and definitely over SPF50 is negligent.
Waterproof sunscreen: There’s actually no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. Sweat and water wash sunscreen from our skin. But there is water-resistant sunscreen.
What is water-resistant sunscreen? Sunscreen that stays effective for 40 minutes in the water. ‘Very water-resistant’ lasts for 80 (that’s more like it).
Dr Claudia’s Recommendations:
1. Shiseido Wetforce Ultimate Sun Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF50+ for Face: 19.3% ZnO, 1.7% TiO2, 7.4% Octinoxate and 3% octocrylene. It’s a mouthful, but it does cover all bases with two physical and two chemical sunscreens. It is marketed with this ‘wet force technology’ which reinforces the sunscreens after it is exposed to sweat or water. And, it has negative ions to create a water-repellent layer. Overall, the high-tech nature combined with the broad spectrum AND water-resistance of this product makes it a water winner.
2. Shade SPF 30+ Opaque: Micronised Zinc Oxide 12%, Micronised Titanium Dioxide 8%. I’m a fan of micronised minerals – these give you the best option for sensitive skin (mineral-only sunscreens) while avoiding the opaqueness of a regular zinc stick. They also make for elegant formulas. Water resistant to 80 minutes. It’s fragrance-free, alcohol-free and mineral-oil free so this will be nice to your skin.
3. Watermans Aqua-Armor SPF 50+: 20% Zinc should do the trick. They also added 13% Homosalate and 5% Octocrylene for enhanced UVB protection. The Watermans Aqua-Armor SPF50+ is broad spectrum and water resistant to 80 minutes so this is a good choice for being in the water. The packaging with less plastic is also a plus for the environment.
4. Headhunter SPF 45 Facestick: Homosalate 5%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octocrylene 1.5%, Titanium Dioxide 10%, Zinc Oxide 10%. This mixture of chemical and physical sunscreens offers broad-spectrum protection. The ceresin listed high in the ingredient list is a wax that should help keep emulsions from separating into their oil and liquid components. These waxes also lessen the brittleness of stick products and add strength and stability to sticks. I don’t see any questionable ingredients here – this is probably good in the water but unless it says “water-resistant” for 40 or 80 minutes, there are better options for the water. Likely works great on land!
5. Sunbum SPF 30: Avobenzone 3.00%, Homosalate 5.00%, Octisalate 3.00%, Octocrylene 2.75%, Oxybenzone 4.00%. This product contains all chemical filters (“organic” in chemistry terms, not in your Whole Foods-shopping way) and is water resistant to 80 minutes. It’s also oil-free so it shouldn’t clog pores and stay greasy. It may not be suitable for sensitive skins since it is all chemical filters. A fair choice for the sun.
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