SUNSCREEN: What kind should you get? At what point should you use it?
It’s summer time which means being outside more often and getting exposed to those glorious sun rays. Most people have been cooped up (especially with the current pandemic situation) in the house and haven’t been exposed to the sun as much as they should.
SO, you are probably ready to soak up that Vitamin D.
This is great as there is a laundry list of benefits that you get from adequate Vitamin D levels (especially absorbed through the sun). First and foremost, you don’t necessarily want to go outside and put sunscreen on right away. This could defeat the purpose of getting Vitamin D from the sun that’s absorbed through your skin – the sunscreen will block this effect from happening. With that being said, you have to know yourself and how your skin reacts to the sun – as in at what point you get a sunburn. This will differ depending on the pigmentation of your skin tone (how light or dark your skin is).
For example, if you have eastern European genes your skin tone is most likely pretty white and pale – this means you will burn much easier/faster than someone of African descent with a darker skin tone. The darker the skin tone, the more melanin you have in your skin – this is a result of the evolutionary process to help humans from developing cancers or diseases from constant sun exposure and being close to the equator. The further away your ancestors evolved from the equator, the lighter your skin tone will be. Some of you can go out in the sun for 20 minutes and burn while some of you can go out in the sun for the same 20 minutes and get a slight tan with no burn.
The point is to know about how long it takes you to burn and put on a good quality/natural sunscreen if you plan to be outside any longer than that and have your skin exposed to the sun. You can gradually build up the amount of time you can go without sunscreen and not get burnt, but again depending on your skin pigmentation there is probably an upper limit (especially for you super pale people out there).
Avoid any sunscreen with the active ingredient – oxybenzone. This ingredient is a harmful chemical that has been shown to disrupt hormones and is correlated with some cancers. Your skin is your largest organ and anything you put on it gets absorbed within 30 seconds.
So, what kind of sunscreen should you look for?
Any kind that uses a Zinc Oxide base or Titanium Dioxide.
Most brands are not perfect and still have some potential chemicals with an unknown behind them, but it is better than your average sunscreen that most people use. We personally just like to cover up with clothing if we know we are going to be in the sun for hours. It just gives us peace of mind knowing we aren’t putting any crappy substance on our skin and risking absorbing anything endocrine disrupting. Obviously, if it’s 95 degrees and humid you’re going to want to be in as little clothing as possible so putting on sunscreen is a must. Do your best in finding a more natural source (as stated above) so you can have peace of mind!