Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sunscreen Smarts

As you might have noticed from past posts, I tend to be pretty tough on products that claim to have sun protection and lack the right ingredients or foundations that don't have SPF altogether.

I admit that I do avoid prolonged sun exposure and do wear a SPF15 minimum everyday, rain or shine. I also am a little militant about the fact that I think everyone should be doing this as well. In this day and age when skin cancer is prevalent and being found on more young people than ever before, I just can't understand why wearing an effective SPF isn't a given and tanning beds aren't banned. Not to mention the aging and yucky hyperpigmentation that unprotected sun exposure visits upon your face.

If my soapbox attitude on this one bugs you, then I sincerely apologize, but must warn you that I will never relent where sun protection is concerned. As any friend of mine can tell you who has returned from a weekend or vacation sunburned, my scorn is swift and terrible.

Most sunscreens have UVB (burning rays) protection but fall short when it comes to UVA. So what are the ingredients you should be looking for to determine if a product has UVA (aging & cancer rays) protection?

Here they are:

Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Mexoryl SX, or Tinosorb.

These ingredients must be listed as an active ingredient and sunscreen should be applied liberally 30 minutes before you go outside. And just what does liberally mean.....well it means a shot glass amount of sunscreen for your entire body and a teaspoon amount for your face and neck. Don't forget your hands either....nobody wants granny hands!

A great way to try a variety of sunscreens is the Sephora Sun Safety Kit for $25. The kit includes 11 products and goes a long way towards making it easy to find a sunscreen you like. Plus all the profit is donated to The Skin Cancer Foundation.

If you prefer the drug store for your sunscreen needs I recommend Neutrogena in general. Nearly all of their products are well formulated and very reasonably priced.

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