(photo credit: fliker, Oceano Mare)

(photo credit: fliker, Oceano Mare)

I was appalled when I recently read about a sunscreen that was carcinogenic, environmentally toxic, and ineffective to boot.  I don’t think of myself as being particularly naive but clearly I was wrong in trusting that when it came to cancer protection there would be some truth in advertising.  Let the buyer beware!!!!  Three reliable websites to check before making a purchase are www.cosmeticdatabase.com, www.goodguide.com, and www.ewg.org/cosmetics/reportsunscreen.  None are in the business of selling but rather promoting safe, effective products.

Sunblocks reflect the sun’s rays, sunscreens absorb them.  How they are applied impacts their ability to protect.  The recommended amount is one ounce applied to the entire body.  Picture how much a shot glass would hold.  Reserve a heaping teaspoon for the face and neck – for a better balance of coverage evenly distribute equal amounts and then spread into the skin.  Sunscreens/blocks start to degrade after about an hour and by two hours are no longer protective, though newer formulations can last up to four hours.  The more active you are the more frequently you need to re-apply.

Despite the fact that you may read or hear that “experts” recommend a full spectrum sunscreen/block that protects against UVA and UVB rays the SPF number only rates UVB.  Establishing UVA standards is before the FDA and methodology is under consideration.  Until that happens there is no way of accurately determining UVA

protection, regardless of what claims a manufacturer might make.  This gets me back to where I started – research a product before you buy it.  Make sure that what you a re putting on your skin is safe and effective.  This is doubly true when it comes to children.  Indeed we need Vitamin D – you can get it via diet, take a supplement, or limit unprotected exposure time to early morning for 15 – 30 minutes.

Debbie Jones-Steele

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Do you have a favorite sunblock/screen?