Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get the Scoop on Natural Sunscreens

After the last few days of beautiful weather I started thinking about how to protect my skin yet still enjoy the sunshine. I love summer and feel so alive after a day at the beach, sand in my toes and sun on my face! So to find out what a natural sunscreen is and how to avoid the nasty chemical sunscreens this summer keep on reading.
How do sunscreens work?
Sunscreens protect the skin from burning by either absorbing the harmful rays or reflecting them from the skin. No sunscreen can provide total protection from all of the sun's rays and that’s why it is always important to cover up using appropriate clothing and eye wear especially during the hottest part of the day. Sunscreens are filters of UV energy. They are used to filter a proportion only of UV rays.

What active ingredient does natural sunscreen use?
They use Zinc Oxide (250mg/g) which reflects UV-A and UV-B rays rather than chemical actives which absorb these rays.

Does natural sunscreen contain Nanoparticles?
Nanoparticles are man made, extremely small particles that can easily enter the body and can be found in cosmetics, moisturizers, mineral make up and sunscreens. They are used in sunscreens to prevent the white film once applied. Natural sunscreens should not contain Nanoparticles. Friends of the Earth's Safe Sunscreen Guide states "Studies have shown that Nanoparticles can produce free radicals and DNA damage, especially when exposed to UV light. These studies suggest that rather than offering us sun protection, if nano-sunscreens are absorbed into our skin, they could result in serious damage."

What does Broad Spectrum mean and is it important?
A sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection protects against UV-B rays as well as UV-A. All sunscreens protect against UV-A rays which cause loss of elasticity, premature aging and skin cancer however not all protect again UV-B which causes sun burn.

Recent studies have shown that UV-B radiation plays a large role in causing gene mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Therefore it is vital that when using a sunscreen you check that it offers broad spectrum protection.

Check List for Your Sunscreen

Free from:
Chemical UV filters/absorbers
Nanoparticles
Titanium dioxide
Sulphates
Parabens
Petrochemcials
Artificial fragrances
Emm
xxx

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