Sun Worshipers

The largest organ we all have is our skin-yup, it’s an organ. Seriously, Google it. Now that we’ve gotten the anatomy lesson out of the way, how do we protect it against the harmful rays of the glorious sun? Obviously we can use sunblock or sunscreen. Experts say that we should be using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (SPF is the Sun Protection Factor-relates to the ability of a product to protect you from the sun. Currently the market carries products that range in SPF from 2-50. If you use an SPF of 30, you can be in the sun 30 times longer than you could without having on said sunscreen). But what’s the difference between sunscreen and sunblock? Do you use a different one for different activities in the sun? Are spray sunscreens/sunblocks as effective as the lotion types? Well-let’s find out.

Here’s the lowdown (I’m really smart-but for this part, I got the information from The American Melanoma Foundation, they know more about this than I do):

“Sunscreens can be classified into two major types: chemical and physical. Chemical sunscreens contain special ingredients that act as filters and reduce ultraviolet radiation penetration to the skin. These sunscreens often are colorless and maintain a thin visible film on the skin. These sunscreens usually contain UVB absorbing chemicals and more recently contain UVA absorbers as well. Physical Sunscreens, most often referred to as sunblocks, are products containing ingredients such a titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which physically block ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Sunblocks provide broad protection against both UVB and UVA light. They can be cosmetically unacceptable to many people, because they are often messy, visible and do not easily wash off. However, some new zinc oxide products are available in brightly colored preparations which are popular with young people. The amount of sun protection these sunblocks provide, while potentially high, cannot be quantified in the same manner as sunscreen SPFs. Physical sunscreen is recommended for individuals who have unusual sensitivity to UVR. Most recently on the sun protection scene is sun-protective clothing designed to block UVA and UVB radiation. The effective SPF is greater that 30.” (www.melanomafoundation.org). Thanks American Melanoma Foundation.

It’s important to note that all skin burns, regardless of how dark or light it is and thus should be protected whenever exposed to the sun. The degree of skin color merely effects how long it will take to burn. If your skin is sensitive, there are products on the market for you. Just do some Google research and you can find them easily.

Spray or lotion: I personally always use lotion but honestly, Web MD says that there is no real difference and it just depends on the consumer. Great to hear, I didn’t want to ditch my lotion.  Also, if you are doing outdoor water activities, you should look for a sun protectant that is water resistant. If you are an athlete outdoors you should look for a water resistant formula specifically created for athletes.

So what are some good brands of sunscreen and sunblock to use? Check out these brands below, most are available from amazon

  1. I personally use Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen Broad Spectrum with an SPF of 50. That works for my dry sensitive skin. www.kiehls.com

  2. Neutrogena Active Sport

  1.  Olay Complete Daily Defense (This is for your face on a daily basis)

  1.      Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 -This is water resistant

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