Depending on your age, you may have grown up with sunscreen (always on since I can remember!) suntan lotion (SPF 2, deep tan but don’t burn!) or oil/iodine (where is my tin foil reflector?). I fall into the SPF 2 category. Growing up, my family gradually got onto the idea of SPF, but the number was always a single digit and the thought was that tan was still OK. We also thought it was ok to peg our pants. I digress..
The sunscreen world is now it’s own galaxy; A million billion brands, versions, application types with an equally high number of promises abound from said brands and versions. Let’s just remember a few key facts to keep us safe AND sane.
1. You’re doing it wrong.
When a sunscreen company is testing for efficacy, the amount that is applied to different body parts is generous. Usually much more generous than we apply. A quarter size dollop for face. I full shot glass to cover exposed arms and legs. Yes, that is more than you are using. So either you can up the slather or realize that you are not going to get the promised protection. Apply it more often or use other means to double protect (shade, hat etc).
2. It won’t give you cancer
If I had a dollar for every time this comes up. Are the chemicals in my sunscreen harmful? Humans are made of chemicals. Everything is made of chemicals. Are there bad chemicals out there? Yes. Are they the ones in your sunblock? No. Should it prevent you from putting block on you or your kids? Nope. There is more nuance to this discussion, which I am happy to have with my patents in the office, but the short answer is: This just isn’t something that should float to the top of your worry box.
3. Don’t stereotype
This is 2017 people, stop thinking of sunblock as either a) zinc on the nose of the lifeguard or b) banana-esque Pre-sun that made you breakout before you even got out of the sun. I am sure that sun protection would appreciate the benefit of the doubt. Our favorite physical blocker ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, have been formulated into small particles that can blend and absorb easily, without the tell-tale white residue. They can be fragrance free and easy to blend in lotions, light-feel sprays or mineral powders. Start looking at all the ways you can let SPF into your life. Your BB cream, your moisturizer…the options are extensive. And don’t forget that you can also lean on sun protective clothing too, another great advancement in skin care and skin cancer protection.
4. Just do it
Dermatologists are not crazy, nocturnal animals. We like to go outside and play with our kids and swim and watch baseball games and all the other things that expose us to that huge ball of fire in the sky. We just like to have the right tools. I won’t always get a quarter sized glop on my face, but I will do my best to reapply early and often and use my hat too. Sometimes the only way I can get another application on my five year old is to use a mineral spray. So I do it! Yes, lotion applications are more thorough but you have to be practical. The point is to arm yourself with the right information and then do your best to care and protect your skin.
That’s all for today! Hope everyone gets a nice dose of springtime air this week! It’s hard to believe we are marching into summer so soon!