Don’t just count on your sunscreen

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I really wish everyone read the article in this link:
http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/imperfect-protection/

Since where I live feels like summer is in full swing, I wanted to share some great information on sunscreen. When I used to work as an esthetician, I got this question a lot: What is the best? Chemical? Physical? What SPF number? I think the problem is that the public is not really educated on sunscreens. Media and companies try to sell you their products, but they don’t fully educate their customers on how to use it properly. I actually find it very misleading.

Today I wanted to shine some light on this subject, and most importantly, share some great articles (based on science and extensive research) on sunscreen.

One of the big problems is that consumers don’t really know how much product you really need to use in order to get the level of SPF advertised on the bottle. When they test SPF in a lab, they apply 2mg of product per 1 square cm of skin. That is a really, really thick layer! Almost nobody applies that much! (And remember, after 80 minutes-2 hours (depending on the sunscreen), you need to reapply…unless you sweat or wipe and then you need to reapply immediately).
I love this general guideline on how much sunscreen to use: ( http://www.skinacea.com/faq/sunscreen/s04-how-much-sunscreen.html#.WVLvsmip5SA )

Face: 1/4 teaspoon of sunscreen
Neck (front and back): 1/4 teaspoon of sunscreen
Arms: 1/2 teaspoon of sunscreen per arm
Legs: 1 teaspoon of sunscreen per leg
Chest: 1 teaspoon of sunscreen
Back: 1 teaspoon of sunscreen

(If you are interested in the Math, here is a great link: https://www.futurederm.com/how-much-exactly-is-2-0-mgcm2-the-amount-of-sunscreen-necessary-to-achieve-the-labeled-spf-rating/ )

So if you go to the beach for a couple of hours with your family (let’s say family of four), each adult of averge size needs 5 tsp of sunscreen…and I am talking real, measuring teaspoons. Let’s say the children are younger…so let’s say about 5 tsp for both. I measured 15 tsp out of curiosity and to me it looks like about 90 ml. My Eminence sunscreen bottle is about 150 ml, so if I go to the beach with my family for a couple of hours, I should be using more than half that bottle of sunscreen. If i decide to spend the day at the beach, or we get in the water, there wouldn’t even be enough for us to reapply in order to get the level of SPF advertised on the bottle.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that most of us are not getting the SPF level that says on the bottle. And keep in mind, suncreens, no matter what the SPF, cannot fully block the sun even when applied in the ridiculously thick layer. Even if they prevent you getting burnt, the UV light that does penetrate through will still damage your skin. This is why, it is SO IMPORTANT to also seek shade, wear protective, light clothing, big sunglasses, wide brimmed hats, and try to avoid sun exposure at peak hours, when the UV rays are the strongest. Don’t just count on your SPF to protect you from sun damage, because it is never enough!

Please, read these articles on sunscreen. They are very helpful in understanding how sunscreen works and also talk about the dangers of combining chemical sunscreens. They also talk about how some sunscreens contain active ingredients that break down in the presence of UV rays which result in free radicals that actually HARM surrounding cells.

The best article on the subject is here:
http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/imperfect-protection/
And these are also great:

http://www.suncarelab.com/Blog.html
https://www.futurederm.com/true-benefit-layering-spf/
http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/testing/spf/premium-Adapting-SPF-Testing-Methods-for-Mineral-Sunscreen-Density-211063281.html

I hope this helps! Let’s all be SunSmart!

 

3 thoughts on “Don’t just count on your sunscreen

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