Choosing The Right Sunscreen

Choosing The Right Sunscreen

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    A , Dermatology, answered
    Water resistant sunscreens are just as good. I think they got a little bit stricter with labels for water resistant because people, again, were not reapplying. In general, a lot of the water resistant sunscreens can give you about 60-80 minutes in the water. What you have to look for in those products, because they are water resistant, they tend to feel a little more greasy and ointment based. They work just as well, but the cosmetic feeling might not be as appealing to the consumer.
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    The chemical oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreens, penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can also trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms. One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.
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    A , Dermatology, answered
    No skin care routine is complete without sunscreen. I have my personal bias as I have been plagued throughout my life with oily skin. While I have found that there are innumerable sunscreens on the market labeled as oil-free, or lightweight, none were equal to the challenge of my skin. Look for those containing oil-reducing polymers which soak up only the excessive skin oils. They mattify without leaving your skin dry or irritated (meaning they are ideal for any and all skin types). And make certain your sun protection is labeled broad spectrum (ultraviolet-A [UVA] and ultraviolet-B [UVB]), and use a minimum of sun protection factor (SPF) 30.
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    High-sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreens require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals than low-SPF sunscreens. Some of these ingredients may pose health risks when they penetrate the skin, where they have been linked to tissue damage and potential hormone disruption. Some may trigger allergic skin reactions. If studies showed that high-SPF products were better at reducing skin damage and skin cancer risk, that extra chemical exposure might be justified. But they don’t, so choosing sunscreens with lower concentrations of active ingredients -- SPF 30 instead of SPF 70, for example -- is prudent. 
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    Given the ease of applying spray sunscreens on squirming kids and hard-to-reach areas, aerosolized sunscreens may seem like a dream come true. But there’s growing concern that these sprays pose serious inhalation risks. They also make it too easy to apply too little or to miss a spot, leaving bare skin exposed to harmful rays.

    Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expressed concern in 2011 about the safety and efficacy of spray sunscreens, companies continue to turn them out. One in every four beach and sport products in the Environmental Working Group 2013 sunscreen report are sprays -- and none are recommended. We give high ratings to brands that provide broad spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when absorbed by the body.
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    Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient composed of palmitic acid and retinol (Vitamin A). Retinols are anti-oxidants that slow skin-aging and are typically found in nightcreams. When exposed to UV light, however, retinol compounds break down and produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations, a precursor to cancer. Recently available data from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study indicate that retinyl palmitate, when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.

    Why is this “inactive ingredient” -- found in nearly one-quarter of all sunscreens -- allowed in products intended for use in the sun? Good question.

    While the FDA has yet to rule on the safety of retinyl palmitate in skin care products, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens, lip products and skin lotions containing vitamin A, often labeled “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol.”
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    Young children's skin is especially sensitive to chemical allergies. Test sunscreen by applying a small amount on the inside of your child’s wrist the day before you plan to use it. If an irritation or rash develops, try another product. Ask your child’s doctor to suggest a product less likely to irritate your child’s skin.
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    Tanning oils are innocuous in and of themselves and are not bad for you unless you are allergic to their ingredients. However, tanning oils may provide inadequate protection from ultraviolet radiation.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    You're supposed to get 20 minutes of sunlight a day - but only when it's at low levels (a good rule to tell: your shadow should be longer than your height). Beyond that, you know the drill.

    Wear sunscreen. Sun protection is non-negotiable - because it's the most critical factor in keeping skin healthy. It's best to make sunscreen a part of your daily regimen so you won't get unexpected exposure (or get a sunburn). Use a great moisturizer that you love that also contains an SPF 30 sunscreen and affords the protection you need. If you're going to be outside for sports, use an SPF 30 and 4-star (reapply every two hours even if it says it's waterproof). Always protect your face and backs of your hands but allow your body to be exposed to some sun for a few minutes before you add sunscreen. A little redness in the skin signifies vitamin D is being made.

    Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens protect immediately while all the rest of the sunscreens - called chemical or organic sunscreens (misnomers if we ever heard one) - take 20 minutes to absorb into your skin before protecting. So, get those few minutes of sun and then apply the zinc.

    Always apply sunscreen if you're going outdoors for longer than 15 minutes (even on a cloudy day, which only stops 20 to 40 percent of UV radiation). Make sure that the protection is a broad spectrum - UVB rays cause burning, but UVA rays penetrate deeper and are just as harmful - maybe even worse. UVA sunscreens are harder to find - zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work the best - and newer versions of these sunscreens form a small film rather than make you look like you smeared crayon all over your face. You need to slather all sunscreens on thick and apply them evenly, making sure not to miss any spots such as the back of the neck, the top of the ears, and any exposed scalp. Most of us don't put on enough sunscreen, and if that's the case with you, then you're only getting half the effectiveness (if you're putting on SPF 30, it's more like SPF 15). You really need one to two ounces of sunscreen to cover your whole body. This should be reapplied every two hours or after getting wet.

    Ones that are hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic do not cause other skin damage. But all creams can cause pimples and rashes, so be careful. Also it should be water resistant so it doesn't end up in your eyes. Water resistant also means it will stay on your body past the first droplet of sweat when you are hot. But even then, reapply it after swimming.

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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    An SPF of 30 or higher will offer good protection, but also check to make sure that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should remember to reapply sunscreen often when you are participating in outdoor activities.

    Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun's harmful rays.

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