Good Sun & Bad Sunscreen: 2 Myths About Sun Protection By Dr. Agnes Olszewski

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Most of us are led to believe that if we slather on sunscreen  in the morning and then stay out on the beach all day long, our skin is protected. Unfortunately, this is incorrect.  Learning about proper sun protection and sunscreens will keep you and your skin safe!

Myth 1:  The sun is bad for you

Fact:  No, the sun is NOT BAD for you.

In fact, the sun is healthy if you take precautions. Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two main wavelengths: UVA and UVB. They are quite different in respect of the risk they create for your health. UVB is the “good” sunlight and UVA is the “bad” one.   UVB helps you produce vitamin D that is extremely important for your overall wellbeing, supporting the health of your bones, muscles, skin, eyesight, heart and immune system. UVA can cause free radical damage.

Moderation in sun exposure and using proper sun protection are your keys to safety since long-term, excessive exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of certain types of skin cancer.

Myth 2:  All Sunscreens Protect You Effectively and Safely

Fact:  The FDA takes the position that “To date, there are no clinical studies demonstrating that use of any sunscreen alone can prevent skin cancer.” (FDA 2011)

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 75% of sunscreens in stores don’t actually protect you enough.

As sun protection against UVA rays is necessary, you need to be educated and watch for those ingredients in sunscreen that can do more harm than good. The main chemical used in sunscreens is octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), which was found to kill mouse cells, even at low doses. OMC is present in 90% of sunscreen products. Another common ultraviolet filter, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, has also demonstrated toxic properties. Take a good look at your sunscreen label and beware of the following chemicals (they come with names you most likely can’t even repeat) that are not really good for you:

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclat
  • Avobenzone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Padimate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Homosalate
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Sulisobenzone
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Trolamine salicyclate
  • Octocrylene

Instead, look for sunscreens that base their protective properties on these two major ingredients:

  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide

When both of those ingredients are at a level of 6% or higher, you are covered. Green tea extract, aloe extra, shea butter as well as some other botanical humectants (moisturizers) will keep your skin from drying.

At this point you can probably guess what the healthiest sun protection is, right?

Clothing! Yes, using light cover-ups, protective hats, t-shirts etc provides us with the best protection against sunburn and unhealthy chemicals.

Enjoy the good Sun!

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Today’s guest blogger, Dr. Agnes Olszewski is founder and CEO of Herborium Group Inc., a Botanical Therapeutics® Company, and the makers of AcnEase®, a 100% herbal formula for treatment of symptoms of Acne and Rosacea.  Dr. Agnes has spent the last decade concentrating her efforts on natural medicine and harvesting valuable, botanical ingredient based product candidates from sources such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and South American Indians, and validating them through Western science.In addition to focusing on natural dermatology, Herborium Group works with products in the areas of Women and Men’s Health and other health concerns.

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NOTE: mySkin.com doesn’t favor any particular skincare brand or take advertising from any of them. Our scientific algorithm is entirely unbiased based on your skin profile.