Getting Into the Swing of Summer
Make sure sunscreen is on your list of daily “Do’s.” The best sunscreen, is the one you will use!
—be sure you use enough: a nickel size amount to the face alone. A shot glass amount (2 tablespoons) for the remainder of exposed skin. Don’t forget the tops of your ears and the tops of your feet!
–the FDA has changed labeling, sunscreens can no longer be water-proof or sweat-proof, only water-resistant. Be sure you reapply at least every 2 hours, more frequently if you have been in the water, toweling dry, or perspiring.
There has been a lot of discussions about spf and ingredients. So read a little further for the cliff notes version:
—SPF stands for sun-protection factor. While a larger number does provide a little more protection than a smaller number, its not as much as you think. SPF 30 does not provide twice as much protection as SPF 15, only about 4%. It is still more, but only slightly so.
— there are 2 ways to sunscreens protect you from the sun: chemically or physically. Physical blockers reflect the sun, with minerals like zinc and titanium. Physical blockers are best for sensitive skin. Chemicals work by absorbing harmful rays. They do break down in the sun and heat.
—is my sunscreen safe? More recent recommendations are to avoid the chemicals Oxygenzone (Benzophenone-3) and Avobenzone.
— How about safe for the Coral Reefs? With travel to Hawaii as well as parts of the Caribbean, it is important to know what sunscreens will not be harming the Coral Reefs, as there are a number of places that only allow Reef-Safe sunscreens. Stream2Sea and TropicSport are some examples. You must read the ingredients, as some labelled as reef-safe, are in fact, not (such as ReefSafe).
Most of the Reef-safe sunscreens use titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as main ingredients. This is a mineral, that mechanically reflects the sun, rather than chemicals that absorb the harmful rays. But, it does make you look like you put a white coating on yourself. Some of the sunscreens also come with crushed minerals to create a tinted version, which makes the sunscreen not stand out quite as much on your skin.
—Micronized particles…. There are some sunscreens that use micronized particles- tiny, tiny size of the particles, so as not to create a white casting sheen when applied. While these are safe for you, the critters and larvae in the ocean do not fare as well. Phytoplankton and corals and oysters can choke on the small particles. Look for “non-nano” particles.
Have fun out there! And don’t forget the sunscreen!