Sunscreens: Are They Healthy?

Posted on Aug 4, 2017


Sunscreens have become ubiquitous these days. You can find them for sale in gas stations, drug stores, department stores, mall kiosks, beach cabanas, grocery stores, and hotel gift shops. With so many products on the shelves, how do you know what to choose?

Dr. Gerard wants you to know that some products are better than others. You should know some basics about sunscreens before you go to the store and buy a bottle.

For starters, ultraviolet radiation rays found in sunlight can help your body make more Vitamin D, but then there’s the downside– too much of a good thing can be bad, and you get a sunburn.

All sunscreens contain ingredients to protect people from harmful ultraviolet rays. If you see a sunscreen labelled “broad-spectrum,” then it covers both UVB and UVA rays, so get it.

Keep in mind that your skin tends to absorb the ingredients found in sunscreen, so you want to avoid toxic ones. Avoid oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can mess with your hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. They protect your skin from harmful UVA radiation.

There’s no rating to tell a person how good a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays. These are some of the ingredients that do block UVA rays, however: ecamsule, avobenzone, titanium dioxide, and sulisobenzone.

The SPF factor rates how effective a sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. Look for one that’s SPF 15 or higher. Those with a history of skin cancer in the family, or conditions like lupus, should opt for SPF 30 or higher.

As for babies and kids, or those with sensitive skin (like people with rosacea), avoid sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzephenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone or sulisobenzone. Generally, sunscreens marketed to children use ingredients less likely to irritate the skin, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Finally, if you suffer from skin irritation or allergies, avoid sunscreens with alcohol, fragrances, or preservatives.

If you have specific questions about sunscreens or need help choosing the one that’s best for your skin type, age and overall health, don’t hesitate to call and talk to Dr. Gerard. Better yet, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic; please call 651-464-0800 to do so today.

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