What are we Rogue Valley residents supposed to do, knowing what we now know about SUNSCREENS? Don’t just take MY word for it; do your own research. You can Google any keyword from this post to find loads more information! You can even stop by the libraries in Medford, Jacksonville or Ashland and find strong research that tells us the sun is good; sunscreens? Not so much.
I can tell you what works for our family. My kids spend hours outside on a daily basis, but for the most part, we just avoid the midday sun to avoid the risk of sunburn.
In addition, you can dress for sun protection, with lightweight cotton clothing that covers your arms and legs, a hat to protect your skin and face and sunglasses to protect your eyes. You’ll also find swimwear and other clothing with built in UV-protection.
Of course, I – myself – got a particularly nasty sunburn on July 4th because I didn’t follow my own advice. That, and the fact that my legs were the color of a sturgeon’s underbelly. I know, TMI. Now that I’m past that reptilian phase, and thinking clearly about the sun again, I’ve become intrigued by the idea of eating to boost your body’s natural protection from the sun. We’ve not delved into this extensively although many of the foods on the list are part of our regular summer diet — definitely something to learn more about. Antioxidant foods are said to offer protection from or lessen the effects of sun exposure.
Sunscreens containing zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide are great alternatives to those with chemicals such as oxybenzone. Zinc and titanium are minerals that provide broad-spectrum coverage, reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. An added benefit is that many zinc and titanium sunscreens these days are micronized to avoid the white, painted-on look. Carefully read the list of active ingredients before purchasing as some sunscreens contain zinc and titanium in combination with other chemicals.
Not all sunscreens claiming to be natural are equal. Many cosmetics and sunscreens, even those with natural and organic labels, contain preservatives to insure products remain as fresh as possible. When shopping for a sunscreen, consider avoiding ones with harsher chemical preservatives such as parabens (including butylparaben and methylparaben), which have had mixed health reviews. Instead, look for sun products without preservatives or those with milder preservatives such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.
Also, steer clear of sunscreens with petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil. Look for natural emollients such as olive, sunflower and jojoba oils, and shea and cocoa butter, to name a few.
The advent of more advanced sun protection offered hope for improved skin care, until research revealed the dangers of certain ingredients in these common products. Parabens, found in many sunscreens and sunblocks, were outed as estrogen mimics and endocrine disruptors. Commonly used sunscreen ingredients like benzophenone (oxybenzone), octinoxate, cinnamates, and homosalate were found guilty of increasing the risk of cancer!
For times when additional sun protection is a must, there are options, but it’s important to consider your choices carefully.