Protect Your Skin This Summer

by Lauren Verini

Last summer we wrote an article about summer skin care and natural sunscreen options, but we think it’s so important that we wanted to touch upon it again and give you an update. New FDA regulations were in effect as of June 18, 2012 and establish a standard test for Broad Spectrum sunscreens. The FDA has extended regulations until December 2012 in order for testing and labeling and to avoid sunscreen shortages during summer months. Here is a sneak peak at what you can expect to see on sunscreen bottles.

Until recently, many sunscreens have only had UVB protection and not UVA protection.

UVB radiation causes sunburn as well as skin cancer, while UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and can cause skin cancer. New regulations will allow brands that have UVB and UVA protection to label their products “Broad Spectrum” once tested. With the new regulations, if a sunscreen is under SPF 15, brands must note that the sunscreen only prevents sunburn and does not prevent against skin cancer. Sunscreens must also label the product as either sweat/water proof for 40 minutes or 80 minutes, and must note on the label that re-application is necessary for sun protection.

In addition to the new FDA regulations, there are certain chemicals that people are wary about. These chemicals include parabens, which mimic estrogen and have been found in breast cancer tumors, oxybenzone, which is an endocrine disruptor, PABA, an allergen, and Vitamin A, which may boost skin cancer risks. Your best bet is to opt for a natural sunscreen that is made with biodegradable ingredients and is safe not only for you but the environment as well. Remember to look at the label and look for minerals like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which protect against UVA and UVB rays, and looks for the label “Broad Spectrum”. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, do some research and look it up.

We’ve added to last year’s list of favorite sunscreens, here are a few more that we are lathering up with this summer:

Natures Gate Mineral Sunscreen

This mineral sunscreen by Natures Gate is Broad Spectrum with an SPF 20, which means it has both UVA and UVB protection, and has up 40 minutes of water protection. It contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help protect skin and is fragrance free. It is  oxybenzone or paraben free and is affordable at only $9.99 at your local natural food store.

Honest Sunscreen from The Honest Company

Created by Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, this sunscreen has a mineral, non-chemical base and features eight organic and natural ingredients including zinc oxide, olive oil, jojoba oil, Shea butter and vitamin E. Its an SPF 20, offers up to 40 minutes of water protection and is safe to use on children older than 6 months. The formula is non-greasy, is fragrance free and is Vegan, non-comodegenic and biodegradable. Purchase this sunscreen on the Honest Company’s website for $13.95.

Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen

This all-natural sunscreen is SPF 30 and is specifically designed for the face and neck, to protect against UVA and UVB rays, aging and breakouts. It’s a light, non-clogging formula that can be worn daily for protection and features a combination of organic botanicals including Neem, Shatavari and Rose. Purchase this sunscreen on Pratima’s website for $18.

California Baby Year-Round Sunscreen Stick

For easy travel, the California Baby Sunscreen Stick is super convenient to stash in your purse or in diaper bags so you always have sun protection on-hand. Its non-chemical formula is PABA free and offers SPF 30+ with 80 minutes of water protection and both UVA and UVB protection. It glides on smoothly, is non-comedegenic and hypoallergenic so it’s safe and enjoyable for the whole family to use. The stick works well for spots that consistently need re-application, such as ears, face and nose, and works well in combination with other natural sunscreens. Purchase this sunscreen stick on California Baby’s website for $14.99 or at stores like Whole Foods, Target, Ulta and Babies R Us.

Remember, to always wear sun protection every day to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Some general tips to always remember are to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outdoors and apply liberally with 1 ounce on face, neck, arms and legs. If you’re in the water or sweating, reapply every 40 minutes and always reapply at least every 2 hours. Other sun protection will help you as well including sunglasses, a hat and clothing. Always be sure to check your sunscreen to make sure its not expired, it usually lasts 2-3 years.

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