What ages your skin faster than anything else? Hopefully we all know the answer to that – the sun.
It reminds me of an old Chinese proverb:
The second best time is now.”
Ha. I’m kidding. The real saying is The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. But it works for both sunscreen and trees, don’t you think?
The sooner you start using sunscreen the better, of course, but what’s past is past. The important thing is that you start now. It’s never too early, or too late, to start anti-aging. Of all the anti-aging creams, lotions and potions on the market today the cheapest and most powerful of them all is sunscreen.
Before you buy sunscreen think about what you’ll be doing while you’re wearing it. If you’re wearing it to work you’ll want a lighter sunscreen that’s more on the cosmetic side. If you’re going to the beach for the day you going to need a heavy duty sunscreen.
There are two types of sunscreen
These work by causing a chemical reaction on the skin.
- Tends to make you feel warmer (that’s the chemical reaction happening – and here I always thought it was my imagination)
- Doesn’t last as long
- Has a lower SPF
- Most are spray-ons with a noticeable smell
In the old days you’d see lifeguards with white stuff on their noses. That was zinc oxide. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide work by reflecting the sun’s rays; not with chemicals. Thanks to technology we can now get the protection of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide without having to look like a clown.
According to dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, “sunscreens can contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide nanoparticles to block ultraviolet rays while minimizing the white coating on the skin. When you see the words “invisible” or “sheer” on sunscreen labels, it is likely based on nanotechnology”.
But, according to test results physical sunscreens aren’t as effective as chemical sunscreens. If you choose to use the nanoparticle sunscreens you need to put a thick coat of it on and reapply more often.
If you want to know more about the safety of nanoparticles see Dr. Bowe’s video on her site.
- Keep you feeling cooler
- Last longer
- Have almost no risk of irritating your skin
- Have a higher SPF
- Needs to be rubbed in which means better coverage than spray-ons
6 sunscreen commandments from Dr. Bowe
? There are only 3 terms on sunscreen labels that actually have to meet certain regulations by the FDA: Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant and SPF.
Terms not regulated by the FDA are “sport”, “natural”, “mineral”, “dermatologist recommended”. They’re only there for marketing purposes.
- Use an SPF of 40 or above
- Make sure the words “broad spectrum” are on the bottle. Broad spectrum means that you’re protected from both the UVA (gets you tan) and UVB (gets you burned) rays. Just so you know, both UVA and UVB rays can cause cancer
- Get a water resistant sunscreen if you’ll be swimming or sweating
? Use at least a shot glass worth, about 1 ounce, of sunscreen for your face, neck and all exposed areas
? Don’t miss these areas: around the eyes, lips, neck, hands, tops of ears, back of neck
? Apply sunscreen 1/2 hour before going outside or into the pool. Reapply every 2 hours if your skin stays dry and every hour if you’re swimming or sweating. If you’re out of direct sunlight all day the sunscreen you put on in the morning will last all day.
? If you use a spray or a stick make sure to rub it in with your hands or you won’t get even protection
? Reapply sunscreen only onto dry skin
Consumer Reports’ Top Rated Sunscreens for 2018
Every year Consumer Reports conducts a series of tests on the most common brands of sunscreens to determine which ones are the most effective. Here’s their top 5 picks for 2018:
LOTION – Fragrance free, very lightweight and quickly absorbs into the skin
LOTION – Doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy
GEL – Fast-absorbing and mess-free, allows sweat to pass through and evaporate
LOTION – Hypoallergenic, non-stinging
SPRAY – Goes on smoothly, has a floral and citrus scent
And if you want to unleash your inner sparkle
A whole new line of sparkly sunscreen products are now available from a company called Sunshine & Glitter.
The best thing about Sunshine & Glitter is that their products have an SPF of 50+ compared to the other couple of companies that make glitter sunscreen that only have an SPF of 30. That’s a big difference in protection.
Sunshine & Glitter has an all natural sunscreen called Glamour Camper with a bug repellent (great idea) and glitter, an SPF 50+ lipgloss with glitter, 3 or 4 different glitter lotions (these are lotions, not sunscreens), a glitter hair detangled and also sunscreen with your choice of colored glitter.
The sunscreen line is called Sea Star Sparkle and it has an SPF of 50+ and is also water resistant for up to 80 minutes. It comes in rainbow, pink and gold glitter.
When does sunscreen expire?
Sunscreens are made to remain at their original strength for three years. Some have the expiration date on the bottle and some don’t (the FDA doesn’t require one). If the bottle you buy doesn’t have one write the date of purchase on it with a marker.
If you don’t know how old the sunscreen is don’t take a chance. Buy a new bottle.
If you do end up getting a sunburn
- Take asprin or ibuprofen to help with the swelling of the skin and also help with lessening the pain
- Take a cool, not cold, shower or bath
- After a shower use lotion that contains aloe vera or hyaluronic acid (helps bind water to the skin) that will help calm your skin
- Drink more water than usual
- “High doses of vitamin D taken one hour after sunburn significantly reduces skin redness, swelling, and inflammation, according to double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” (According to a new study. Information taken from ScienceDaily website)