Sun-Kissed but Safe

SUMMER! It has (sort of) arrived in the Pacific North West!  To me, summer means river swimming, gardening, grilling food, lots of outdoor time, and SUN (not something we see year round here).  To that end this post is about sunscreen and why you should wear it. 

Please, wear sunscreen but not all the time.  Exposure to sun is necessary for the production of 25-hydroxyvitamin D or vitamin D(1).  Vitamin D is essential for the immune system, bone health, brain functioning, and prevention of chronic illnesses.  Studies show that short ‘doses’ of sun exposure consistently are helpful for producing vitamin D(2).  Doses are different for every person but we all need some sun exposure.

Choosing your sunscreen

There are hundreds of sunscreens on the market.  Each one touting its own superiority.  However, the ingredients do matter. This product is going on your skin or the skin of your loved ones.  Look for an organic mineral based sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the UV protection.  Both zinc and titanium oxides cover the full UV spectrum and offer the best protection(1). Sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin.  UVB rays are responsible for sunburn(3).  BOTH UVA and UVB contribute to skin cancer.  This is why you’ll want a ‘Broad spectrum’ sunscreen. 

 Even more preferable is one with other nutritive ingredients so that you’re protecting and nourishing the skin at the same time.  Also be sure the sunscreen you choose is ‘water resistant’(4). 

SPF matters

SPF is the level of protection from UVA2 and UVB rays(1).  SPF 30 is twice as protective as SPF 15.  SPF 30 is recommended for most people on a daily basis.

Timing is important.

For maximum protection it is recommended to apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before prolonged time in the sun(1)

Reapplication

Reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours when in the sun for prolonged periods, when sweating or when swimming.

Alternative ways to protect yourself from sun

Sunscreen is helpful but certainly not the most optimal or convenient way to protect yourself from the sun.  Wearing clothing over areas exposed to sun is preferable. Using hats to shade the face and choosing shady locations for play and leisure are more likely to keep your skin sunburn free. 

 

Summery

·      Get some sun daily but only a little to help produce vitamin D

·      Wear sunscreen daily and a hat

·      Choose a mineral based, broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 sunscreen

·      Reapply every 60-90 minutes

**If you’re wondering what I use it’s THIS by Willamina Modern Apothocary.  I love it.  Its emollient properties mean it absorbs into my skin well without leaving that “I’m wearing sunscreen” feeling.  Plus, I don’t need an additional moisturizer.  Also, the ingredients are very nourishing for the skin and add to my skin health while protecting it.  You can pick it up in office at Wild Heart Medicine or order online.

 

Resources

1.     https://www.uptodate.com/contents/selection-of-sunscreen-and-sun-protective-measures?search=sunscreen&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H63385731

2.     https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/benefits-of-moderate-sun-exposure

3.     https://www.health.harvard.edu/cancer/how-to-choose-and-use-sunscreen

4.     https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/how-to-select-a-sunscreen