Wow, this has been one of the gloomiest winters on record. However, the sun is starting to make its appearance once again. As we head into the spring and summer months it’s important to be vigilant with our skin care, after all, it is our largest organ.
Although exposure to the sun will improve our Vitamin D levels (and moods), we do need to remember that skin health is a major concern. So when packing for your next vacation, heading to the beach or spending hours in your garden, remember to apply (and reapply regularly) a good sunscreen lotion. Have you been down the sunscreen aisle lately, it can be daunting with so many options; sprays, lotions, gels, is it waterproof, sweat proof, how long will it last and what SPF to get?
Unfortunately, I cannot make that decision for you, but I can share with you some critical information to help narrow down your choices. First things first, why do we need sunscreen? There are two types of UV light that can harm your skin — UVA and UVB. Too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays can cause skin cancer. A broad-spectrum or full-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both. Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. You want to choose a mineral filter form; this will be your Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide as the Active ingredient. Also, avoid sprays as they pose inhalation risks and missed spots on the body.
That brings me to chemicals to avoid in sunscreens. I have consulted with Mary Heim, RPh, FAAFM, our very own “Hormone Specialist” here at Keystone Pharmacy regarding toxic chemicals in sunscreens that women should avoid, especially peri-menopausal or menopausal women.
- Oxybenzone is a very common ingredient in sunscreens which acts like a xenoestrogen or hormone disrupter in the body. We are advised to avoid xenoestrogens by drinking out of glass bottles and cups when possible, avoiding certain plastics, and not microwaving in plastic containers. After warnings like this, why would you want to apply it directly to the skin? Avoid this “active ingredient.”
- Vitamin A or retinyl palmitate is often added to night creams for its anti-aging effects on the skin. But on sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. The FDA has yet to rule on the safety of this ingredient in skin care, but should be avoided as an “inactive ingredient” in sunscreens.
Keystone Pharmacy is dedicated to carrying several products containing the active ingredients Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, which provide both UVA and UVB protection without Oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. We have a great line of sunscreens with SPFs starting at 30, all the way up to 70, available with a full staff of pharmacists and myself that would be more than happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.
Some of my favorites are:
Neutrogena, Pure & Free Baby Broad Spectrum SPF 50(not just for babies)
Neutrogena, Sheer Zinc, Dry Touch Broad Spectrum SPF 30
CoTZ, Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 40
Vanicream, Sunscreen Sport, Broad Spectrum SPF 35