So, you’re spending a day outside with the family, meaning that you need to keep an eye on sun protection. It’s ok though, because you’ve got your trusty bottle of sunscreen. That’s all you need, right? Well, unfortunately it’s not as simple as that, as it does very much depend on a.) whether what’s in the bottle is mineral-based sunscreen and b.) what SPF it is – and not for the reasons you might think.
Here we take a look at the variables that you really need to think about when spending an extended period out in the sun. By reading on, you’ll know exactly what to look for whether you’re choosing sensitive skin sunscreen, sunscreen for kids, or any of the many brands and types that exist on the market.
Chemical or Mineral Sunscreen?
Most sunscreens you’ll find on store shelves are chemical sunscreens, but did you know there’s another option?
Chemical sunscreens use chemical active ingredients, most of which absorb into the skin and convert harmful UV rays to heat, in return protecting your skin from UV exposure. The chemicals are absorbed into the skin to properly do their job. This can be worrisome if you’re trying to avoid skin irritants. The Environmental Working Group lists some of the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens known to have a risk of skin irritation.
Look a little closer on the store shelf and you’ll see mineral sunscreens. Instead of using chemical active ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate and Octocrylene, mineral sunscreens use physical UV filters such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These active ingredients lay on top of the skin and protect you from UV rays by bouncing them away from your body. Think of them like tiny mirrors or shields reflecting light away from you.
What SPF do you actually need?
A common misconception about sunscreen is that its SPF or Sun Protection Factor is linked to the amount of time you can spend in the sun. You may think that an SPF of 50 or higher means you can go longer without having to reapply. However, all sunscreens need to be reapplied at least every two hours, or after 40 to 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. Check your sunscreen label and follow those reapplication directions.
SPF ratings can get a little confusing as far as the percentage of protection against UV rays a sunscreen provides. One may logically assume an SPF 100 sunscreen provides double the amount of protection that an SPF 50 sunscreen provides – never mind SPF 30.
In truth, an SPF 30 sunscreen protects you against 97% of UV rays, an SPF 50 sunscreen protects you against 98% of UV rays, and an SPF 100 protects you against 99% of UV rays. There is no sunscreen that protects against 100% of UV rays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with most dermatologists recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Just sunscreen is not enough
We wish we could say cover yourself in sunscreen head to toe and you’ll be good to go, but that’s just not the case. Sun safety is a team sport and you have to have all of the right players to be successful. Sunscreen works best when combined with shade breaks, covering up, wearing a hat and wearing sunglasses. You may also want to limit your time in the sun between 10 am to 2pm as that is when the sun is at its brightest and hottest.
Passionate About Sun Safety
It’s important to respect the sun and the threat to skin safety that it poses. Using a mineral sunscreen, reapplying regularly and properly observing the amount of time you should spend out in the sun can give you and your family the best possible protection against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
Browse through a comprehensive range of mineral-based sunscreens that include baby sunscreen, sunscreen for kids, sensitive skin sunscreen and sunscreen for face. Brands who are passionate about sun safety and designed a broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen range to provide the best possible sun protection
Thanks for reading. We’ll be back with more hints, tips and advice about the safety of you and your family, but also the environment, again soon.