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by Emma Josselyn May 21, 2021
It’s that glorious time of year when the weather begins to warm up, the days start getting longer, and it feels so good to get outdoors. That means we need to be ready to protect our skin from increased exposure to ultraviolet rays. Many people don’t think about using sunscreen until it’s hot and sunny out, however the sun’s damaging rays are present all year round. Wearing sunscreen should be a daily habit, not just a seasonal one. I’d love to offer some helpful tips on how to best protect your skin and your health when it comes to sun exposure.
It’s worth mentioning that it is encouraged by many health professionals to get 15 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin before 10:00am or after 3:00pm to give your body a healthy dose of vitamin D. However, during the sun’s peak intensity UV rays can damage your skin quickly. Too much sun exposure can cause many problems in the skin, one of which is accelerated aging. The rays not only break down collagen and elastin, creating lines and wrinkles, but also cause increased pigmentation resulting in age spots on the skin. In fact, the sun’s rays may be responsible for as much as 90 percent of the skin’s visible signs of aging. Even more serious than that is the fact that too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in the U.S., it is critical to protect your skin year round.
Covering up with protective clothing, wearing a hat, limiting sun exposure between 10:00am and 3:00pm, and using sunscreen are a few ways to protect yourself from the sun and to keep your skin healthier. When choosing a sunscreen it’s important to keep in mind that your skin is your body’s largest organ, and anything you put on it affects your system as a whole. So I believe it’s a good idea to be aware of the ingredients that are in your sunscreen. One concerning ingredient commonly found in sunscreens is oxybenzone, a UV filter which can disrupt the hormone system. I recommend avoiding the use of sunscreens that contain this ingredient. In addition to finding a product that is safe for your skin, it is also important that it has broad spectrum protection, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Long wave UVA rays are what age the skin and short wave UVB rays are what burn it. Both types of rays can be harmful and contribute to skin aging and the development of skin cancer.
Wondering how much of an SPF you should use? SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to burn unprotected skin vs. sunscreen-protected skin. You should be using a broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher to protect not only against sunburn, but reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging caused by the sun. Below is a helpful chart that shows how much your protection goes up depending on what SPF you are using. The increase in protection between an SPF 30 and SPF 50 is only 2%, so a higher SPF isn’t necessarily better. In fact, using a high SPF can sometimes create a false sense of security, leading people to think they don’t need to reapply. The key to using sunscreen successfully is making sure you are following the directions on the bottle and are reapplying as directed.
At Eden we carry COOLA, an amazing line of healthy suncare products. Here’s a little bit about why we love them:
“At COOLA, we choose the most innovative, scientifically advanced ingredients that are also as natural, organic, sustainable, and locally sourced as can be. Our eco-conscious formulas are sourced with a Farm to Face® philosophy, ensuring that we always use the freshest, most potent natural and organic ingredients. We incorporate antioxidant-rich Plant Protection® into our sunscreens, which is a selection of plant-based ingredients including Algae and Red Raspberry Seed Oil that help naturally boost our formulas’ efficacy. This allows us to use fewer traditional—and potentially irritating—sunscreen actives. We also weed out all the stuff you don’t want on your skin or in the environment, like parabens, GMOs, and oxybenzone.”
COOLA makes two different types of sunscreen, Classic and Mineral. They are differentiated by their active sun protection ingredients. Their Classic sunscreens use chemical (also commonly referred as “non-mineral” or “traditional”) active ingredients designed to absorb and dissipate UVA/UVB rays, while their Mineral sunscreens use mineral (also commonly referred to as “physical”) active ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays. Since mineral actives are not absorbed into the skin and create a barrier reflecting the sun’s rays away from the skin, these formulas tend to be better for sensitive skin or for those wishing to avoid chemical based sunscreens.
I hope that you learned something new or were at least reminded about the importance of proper sunscreen use. If it's healthy skin you're after, you had better be using your sunscreen and lots of it. And if you're on the hunt for a new favorite, we have lots to choose from that I know you'll love. Let me know if you have any questions!
- Emma xo
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by Emma Josselyn September 01, 2021