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According to study published in the
Journal of American Academy of Dermatology
(JAMA), and reported widely, 40 percent of
top consumer rated sunscreens sold on
Amazon.com did not adhere to AAD guidelines,
including not being water and sweat resistant.
Many others are also facing legal challenges,
alleging they are not performing up to their marketing claims.
This doesn’t surprise me! I have found shopping
for good quality Mineral sunscreen to be very challenging.
Now, Dr. Kally Papantoniou tells you what you need to know to really protect your skin. She is a Board Certified New York Dermatologist, so she knows her stuff!
Do you really need SPF 50 or higher?
Dr. K: SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB)
rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked
to deeper skin damage. Both UVA and UVB contribute to the risk of skin cancer.”
Dr. Papantoniou explains that, “The SPF rating is a measure of the time
it would take you to sunburn if you were not wearing sunscreen as opposed
to the time it would take with sunscreen.
“SPF is not a consumer-friendly number,” says Dr. Papantoniou.
“It is logical for someone to think that an SPF of 30 is twice as good
as an SPF of 15 and so on. But that is not how it works.”
According to Dr. Papantoniou, “An SPF 15 product blocks
about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays;
and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays.
After that, it just gets superfluous,” she says.
Sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block slightly more UVB rays,
but none offers 100% protection. Dr. Papantoniou recommends
her patients use products with an SPF 30 – 50, depending on their skin type and medical history.
How much sunscreen should you use?
Dr. K: You’ve probably heard people say to use an amount the size of a quarter.
Wrong! You’re supposed to use a shot glass full of sunscreen on all exposed
areas. “And here’s something else you probably don’t know,” says Dr. Papantoniou.
“SPF only refers to UVB rays. There is no ratings scale for UVA protection.
So look for the words ‘Broad Spectrum’ on the label and specific ingredients.
The most important ingredients for UVA protection are Avobenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.”
Dr. K says: Wear sunscreens rich in antioxidants
Natural antioxidants are the latest breakthrough in sunscreens
and are a safe way to boost our natural immunity to the sun’s harmful rays.
When layered or combined with a sunscreen, they add an extra level of protection.
Some known antioxidants are green tea polyphenols, vitamin C, raspberry seed oil, astaxanthin, ferulic acid and reishi mushrooms.
Dr. Kally says: You don’t need multiple SPF products every day!
“Only one of the products you use each morning needs to have SPF of 30 or higher,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “SPF is SPF, regardless of whether it’s in your foundation or moisturizer.”
Dr. Kally says: SPF isn’t an equation.
“You can’t use an SPF 15 primer and an SPF 20 foundation and get SPF 30 coverage.
Your sun protection is only as strong as your highest SPF, which in this case would be 20.”
Of course, if you’re dabbing foundation or moisturizer on only small areas of your face,
it’s wise to double up on products that contain SPF to ensure total coverage”.
If you’re wearing foundation, you don’t need sunscreen. A layer of makeup will protect your skin from the sun.
Dr. Kally says: Make up will not act as a barrier for UV rays, even if it has an added SPF.
“Testing has shown that the SPF protection from a makeup product alone is insufficient.
That small amount of SPF is always a nice addition, but not enough to protect your skin,” says Dr. Papantoniou. Always apply sunscreen (or a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sun protection) under your makeup.
If you’re worried about your skin looking greasy, there are plenty of great mattifying options for the face.
Here is a check list:
Always wear a hat and sun protective clothing if you’re going to be out for long periods of time.
Avoid the mid-day sun.
Don’t be tempted to use that tube of sunblock you didn’t quite finish last year. New summer, you need sun screen.
Slather on generous quantities of sunblock at least 30 minutes before you head outdoors: To achieve the SPF level on the label, you need a teaspoon on your face and a shot glass-worth for your body. Don’t forget your ears, your lips, your hairline, and your scalp or part lines.
Reapply every couple of hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or exercising.
Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City.
Here are a few of our own personal favourite sun screens:
Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 combines serious sun protection with natural-looking makeup coverage in a handy compact. It is perfect for touching up all day. The compact comes in two shades that should work for most skin tones. If you have sensitive skin that reacts to most sun screens, you may find a mineral sun protection less irritating.
I have tried many types of makeup /sun screen combinations and this one remains on the top of my list for appearance and protection.
Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 is a pure mineral sunscreen with powerful antioxidants. It provides protection against both UVA and UVB (we think of UVA
UVA as “aging-rays” and we call UVB the “burning-rays”). The Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 also carries the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Active Seal of Recommendation!
Avène Ultra-light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ (Face) is a 100% mineral sunscreen for the face with broad spectrum SPF 50+ UVA/UVB filters. It also contains anti-oxidants, as well as being very hydrating and water resistant.
I love the Avène line for the same reason many dermatologists recommend it; this line is very gentle, non-irritating and effective.
Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad spectrum SPF50+ is a favourite of beauty editors and with good reason. From the Korean skincare line that has a cult following, this light weight cream really does almost perfect the skin. The anti-oxidant, hydrating formula floats over imperfections and gives the skin radiance while providing UVA/UVB protection. The compact formula is convenient for the woman on the go! I am addicted.
Note: I use an obscene amount of sun screen. I am fair skinned
person and religious about applying it. I don’t use chemical sunscreen
– even so-called organic sunscreens like Octisalate.
I react to them after a few days and I prefer not to slather chemicals on
my skin day after day. I like to keep it all as natural as possible.
In my own experience, physical sun screens made from minerals protect my skin
better and are less irritating. It is a personal choice.
For inexpensive, all mineral sun screen try looking at those made for babies. But always check the labels.
I find more and more products for children now contain chemicals.