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  • Sarah Page

The Why, When, and What of Sunscreen

The number one thing you can do for your skin is wear sunscreen. Exposure to sun contributes to hyperpigmentation (blotchiness and red spots on your skin), broken capillaries, and wrinkles. If you want to reduce the signs of aging, wear sunscreen early and often. And wear it every day, even when you’re inside all day or if it’s raining (though it’s generally regarded as fine to reapply less frequently in such conditions).

Not only is sunscreen an essential beauty product, it also helps prevent skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70…and having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. The Foundation also indicates that “when used as directed, sunscreen is proven to decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin precancers.”

My 19-year-old nephew told me he never wears sunscreen. He said he heard sunscreen is bad for people and actually causes cancer. Truth be told, it was in the news that certain sunscreen ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream, raising fear of sunscreens being dangerous. Studies have also revealed that certain sunscreen ingredients cause damage to coral reefs, prompting Hawaii to ban the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone or octinoxate. The FDA and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommend sunscreen products containing only zinc and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient(s). Non-nano zinc is often recommended, but is misleading, according to EWG.

Some plant oils have sunscreen capabilities, but if a sunscreen doesn't list any active ingredients on the label, it hasn’t been properly classified to provide adequate sun protection. For my face I like to wear Acure’s Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream (SPF 30) when I’m not wearing makeup, W3LL PEOPLE’s Bio Tint multi-action moisturizer (SPF 30) when I do want to wear makeup because it acts like a foundation or CC Cream, and Kari Gran’s Three Sixty Five (SPF 28) for reapplication over makeup because it pats on well without leaving too much residue. I like to use sunscreen on my lips as well and enjoy Coola’s Mineral Liplux Organic Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen (SPF 30), which comes in a variety of shades.


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