It’s a fact – The leading cause of skin cancer is the sun!
I remember when I did not use sunscreen because they all burned and irritated my skin – especially those that contained PABA. The ingredients that were being used in the 1970’s were not so great with only UVA protection and low SPF, which created a rise in skin cancer rates. Much has changed over the decades in the world of sunscreens with lots of new and beneficial ingredients and now many sunscreens contain both UVA and UVB protection. UVA works against the aging rays and UVB works against the burning rays.
As a California licensed skin care professional, I have taught sunscreen protection to hundreds of aspiring esthetic students and the dangers of skin cancer, pre-cancerous lesions and premature aging. As a redhead with fair skin and freckles, I am in the category of the most susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer – but the sun is so damaging to the skin, so everyone must wear sunscreen regardless of hair and skin color.
Shopping for sunscreens is a personal experience and I highly recommend that if you get facials, you speak with your esthetician about sunscreens that she recommends and carries. Dermalogica has a great selection of sunscreens for the face and body that you can get online. Or check out my list of recommendations below. The two major types of sunscreens are:
- Chemical sunscreens – absorb ultraviolet radiation and neutralize it.
- Physical sunscreens – block UVA and contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide – these are the best sunblockers, so look for these ingredients in sunscreen.
SPF ratings only protect against UVB, so my advice is to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher with protection against both UVA & UVB rays!
The Best and Worst
The following list of sunscreens who passed the muster as compiled by Consumers Report on how well they protected against both UVA & UVB rays worn by volunteers who soaked in water for 80 minutes — which is the standard timeline and guidelines for ratings of sunscreens.
Thumbs up for these four sunscreens:
- Up & Up Sport Continuous (Target) spray SPF 30
- Walgreens Sport Continous spray SPF 50
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous spray SPF 30
- Aveeno Continuous Protection spray SPF 50
Thumbs down to these three sunscreens:
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 with Mexoryl SX crea SPF 40 ($18.82 per ounce)
- Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535 Expedition pump spray SPF 30 (Doesn’t block UVA rays)
- Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free with Hemp Seed Oil lotion SPF 30 (Doesn’t block entire UVA spectrum)
Bye for now and remember stay happy and be healthy.
Hugs from Kathleen