A Good Sun Cream?
Tropical temperatures and packed beaches; summer is here! The sun creams should be selling like hot cakes. But with all the attention in the media about “dangerous” ingredients in sun cream you’re almost afraid to use it! What makes a good sun cream?
Always protect yourself!
It is even more than necessary to protect yourself with a sun filter. Because did you know that in the coming 10 years it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will have to deal with skin cancer? And that almost all wrinkles and pigment spots are caused by the sun? That’s why the American Association of Dermatology also advises daily use of a sun protection factor! You should still be able to enjoy the sun now and then. It makes us happy and is also beneficial by supplying us with Vitamin D. Because it’s not always easy to smear it in well (and with this lovely weather) I’ll give this subject some extra attention in the coming period. Because I’m convinced that; if there is one wonder cream which really does exist, then it is a good sun cream!
A good sun cream?
There are continuing discussions about the safety of ingredients in sun cream products (hormonal influence, absorption into the bloodstream and breast milk to name but a few). Trying to find a product with safe filters, un-perfumed (which when combined with sunshine can definitely cause pigment spots and ageing) and other irritating substances is no mean feat. You should realise though that the risk of exposing yourself unprotected in the sun is far greater than the risk of using a sun cream which perhaps doesn’t fulfil all the criteria. Even if you don’t burn!
In UV filters there is a distinction between chemical and physical filters. Chemical filters are drawn into the skin and here they absorb the UV rays. Physical filters provide a layer over the skin and reflect the light.
A number of chemical filters can be taken up in the body and end up in the blood. Others can generate free radicals in reaction to sunlight which can cause damage to skin cells. There are also a number of chemical filters which are known to cause irritation to skin, which eventually result in ageing of the skin (smartskincare). Be aware that this will definitely occur if you don’t smear any good sun cream in! Chemical filters are for example: oxybenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate, octocrylene and avobenzone.
Physical filters are better
These are titanium oxide and zinc oxide. They provide very good protection and stay on the surface of the skin. So you don’t get any damaging substances ending up in your body. They form a sort of shell on your skin. Thereby rarely causing an allergic reaction. The disadvantage of these substances is that they leave a white film on the skin. Sun cream products containing the ‘old fashioned’ titanium oxide and zinc oxide are the most suitable for children. In order for these products to leave no white film on the skin the use of nanotechnology is required; again a very different story. This nanotechnology is under discussion (see ‘Delivery Checkout‘). I will go into this in more detail in my blog very soon.
Something in between this is Tinosorb. This is relatively new and is also an excellent choice. It doesn’t penetrate into the body and also leaves no white film on the skin. Combining Tinosorb S and M provides a good protection against both UVA and UVB rays. You can find these substances on the INCI list as ‘bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine’ and ‘methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol’. What a mouthful!
Oxybenzone (Benzophenone 3)
The use of this ingredient as a sun filter is rather controversial. Although it has only recently been highlighted in the media, it has been under investigation for years regarding any adverse effects that it may cause. I therefore advise leaving products containing this ingredient on the shelf. Although there is no clear proof that they can harm people in the used concentrations, tests carried out on laboratory animals has thrown up some disturbing results. And Oxybenzone has been shown to be easily absorbed into the body and can end up in the blood and breast milk. So it is better to be safe than sorry.
There’s more, it is a moderate filter which can relatively frequently cause skin irritations. This ingredient is not only found in sun cream (EWG), but also for example in moisturizers, lip balsam, bodylotion, nail varnish and shampoo. I’ll go in more detail into the investigations carried out regarding the use and safety of this ingredient in my next blog.
One last tip: apply a thick layer of good sun cream regularly all over if you are going to be out in the sun. A hat, sunglasses, and shade are also very helpful, most definitely at the hottest time of the day (you can also see my other blogs about the sun and tips on nu.nl)
(Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can listen to my interview here with Dutch radio station radio 1.
You can also read:
‘Help with Choosing a Sun Cream’,
‘A ‘Healthy Complexion’,
‘The Effects of the Sun: Twins’,
‘A Thin Layer of Sun Cream!‘,
‘A Healthy Tan’,
‘Protection in Your Make-Up Products’,