Why am I writing an article about sunscreen in the middle of winter, you may ask? Well, if it's light outside, that means the sun is out. Just because it's cloudy, or snowy, or there is a hurricane or blizzard, does not mean the sun’s UV rays took the day off. Too many people take the winter off from their sunscreen regimen, but sunscreen needs to be worn every day, in every season, regardless of the weather.
Make Sunscreen Part of Your Daily Routine
Sunscreens are now built right into your moisturizer, foundation, lip balm, and even some hair care products. If the weather is warm and you have more skin exposed, you just have to allow yourself a few more minutes before leaving the house to put it on. Sunscreens are so easy to apply these days. You really have no excuse. Just wear it. And please put it on your children!
Sunscreen vs. Sunblock
Sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s harmful UV rays and neutralizing them before they can damage the body. Sunblocks, also known as physical sunscreens, contain trace amounts of zinc or titanium dioxide and actually prevent the UV rays from entering the body by reflecting and scattering them. Products referred to as “Broad Spectrum Protection” contain both absorbing and physical sunscreen ingredients.
One more thing…a higher SPF does NOT mean better protection. It just means more chemicals, which can do more damage than good. If you use an SPF of 15 to 30 and reapply it as needed throughout the day, you will be fine.
Which is better?
There are so many different sun protection products available, how do you know which to choose? Which is the most effective? Which is safest? Don’t sunscreens contain chemicals? Aren’t those chemicals harmful?
In a word, yes. Sunscreen ingredients are toxic. The mineral-based sunblocks are considered to be safer, but now there are even studies suggesting that titanium dioxide can get absorbed into the bloodstream and cause damage over time. Many cosmetic manufacturers who use titanium dioxide are starting to either use lower concentrations of it (“nano” or “micro-sized” particles), or are switching to zinc oxide.