Get sunscreen savvy. We need to know what ingredients are in our sunscreen just as much as any of our other skin care products. Now that it’s time to start slathering it on, be sure and read your ingredient labels carefully. Just because the goal of it is to protect you, doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients that are included in many common sunscreens are really things that we want or should be putting on our bodies. Certified Health Coach Hannah Stoffel reminds us that our skin is more than just a barrier or level of protection for our body, it’s also our largest organ and what we put on it does get into our body. She warns that “The hard, cold truth is that most sunscreens are not good because they’re filled with possible carcinogens.”
While wearing protective clothing and limiting peak times of direct exposure are the best ways of protecting our skin from the sun, choosing the right sun screen is also important. If you are going to be out for a longer period of time, Hannah says that using a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide with SPF 30 is the healthiest and most effective option. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) agrees that zinc oxide poses a low risk in lotions and is one of the safest options for protecting your skin because it comes with few health concerns and doesn’t break down in the sun. Studies also show that it does not penetrate the skin in significant amounts and enter the bloodstream.
To learn more about which sunscreens are safest, check out EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens. To find out why some sun exposure is actually good for us and how you can build up your body internal SPF, read Summer Skin Care Dos and Don’ts.