Tip of the Month: Sunscreen
Summertime in Colorado! This is the time of the year we spend the most time outside and in the sun. While in Colorado we have outdoor activities year-round, summer tends to be when people spend more time out and about.
Should I wear sunscreen? Sun-safety is an often-overlooked topic. Ultraviolet rays have been found to increase risks in skin cancer and skin-aging. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends daily use of SPF 15 or higher; according to the SCF, daily use of sunscreen “reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and melanoma by 50 percent.”
I’ve heard sunscreen is harmful to my skin, is this true? Currently, more research is needed on this subject. It has been found that some ultraviolet filter substances may be absorbed into the skin and then excreted in breast milk and urine.
I am concerned about absorbing substances into my skin, are there good alternatives? Yes! Mineral sunscreen products such as ones containing zinc and titanium work just as well! The downside to using the mineral products is that they leave behind a pale/white appearance (like the classic “lifeguard nose”). The best sunscreen alternative is to reduce sun-time, or to cover up with UV protecting clothing. While sunscreen is a good first line of defense, it does nothing to prevent the amount of exposure you can experience – it can only reduce so much UV.
What’s the best thing I can do for my skin in the sun? Sunscreen, limit time outside, and if you have a disposition to skin cancers: cover up! Protective clothing provides thicker barriers for your skin, while sunscreen should be more thought of like brushing your teeth!
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm
The Skin Cancer Foundation: https://www.skincancer.org/media-and-press/press-release-2019/sunscreen-ingredient-absorption