The warm weather has finally reached the Azores and I, of course, start thinking about swimming in this wonderful ocean. “And what about sun safety?”, maybe this is what you are probably thinking. I love the sun, but I love my skin even more which means being careful when choosing a sunscreen. So today I would like to share with you my 5 tips when buying a sunscreen:
1. I consult EWG sunscreen database
Before buying a sunscreen I check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) database. It is a great tool if you need help when choosing a sunscreen.
2. I opt for a mineral sunscreen
Instead of buying chemical sunscreens I choose mineral sunscreens made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide because they tend to score well in EWG database. Why? They are stable to sunlight, they offer a good protection against UVA and UVB rays and they usually don´t contain potentially harmful additives.
3. I choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 (and no higher)
According to EWG, sunscreens with high-SPF (Sun Protection Factor) have also higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals. These chemicals, in turn, may present health concerns when they penetrate the skin. For example, they are linked to tissue damage and potential hormone disruption. Besides, they can also cause allergic skin reactions. It might seem surprising, but studies also don´t show that sunscreens with high-SPF are better at reducing skin damage and skin cancer risk.
4. I don´t buy sunscreen sprays
Sunscreen sprays might be more popular, but I avoid this kind of product due to inhalation risk and it seems they also may not provide an adequate coating on the skin, according to EWG.
5. I read the label
Two weeks ago I wrote a post about food labels. And have you taken a look at your sunscreen label? I warn you that you are going to be surprised when you read it, no matter the brand. Why? You are probably not going to understand most ingredients because of their weird names. In short, whenever I see a product like this, it´s a red flag for me. Maybe the more recognisable, besides “water” of course, are ingredients such as “perfume” or “fragrance” (they aren´t present in all sunscreens), but as I have written in the past you should pay attention also to these ones.
EWG does not advise the use of sunscreens with vitamin A (also called retinol or retinyl palmitate) because Government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner. Another ingredient – oxybenzone – should also be avoided considering it is a synthetic estrogen and may disrupt our hormonal system.I use sunscreen with zinc oxide instead, as I previously mentioned.
And what precautions do you take when buying a sunscreen?
Enjoy your summer!