Spring is here and summer is around the corner (for us in the North hemisphere - sorry Southern readers!).
The sun is out and many of us have already taken advantage, lying in the local parks/beaches/ taking our arms and legs out of clothes prisons.. and I am personally getting excited over my summer holiday plans!
However, after years of recklessness in the sun, playing on my 'mediterranean skin', i finally grew up and realised how dangerous the sun can be. Beauty and danger in a big yellow ball...
But how to protect yourself while enjoying your time out and avoid hiding?
Now. This topic is full of controversy and contradictions.
First of all, with many options out there - all promising to be the 'best'- how should you choose?
Many filters are available: in order for a filter to be effective it has to absorb both UV-A and UV-B rays, however it also has to be safe, thus non-toxic, photo-stable, resistant to high temperatures, remain "superficial" on the skin without going past the 'stratum corneum' of our skins...
It's easily understandable by reading this simple list that a single compound is unlikely to fulfil all the above requirements. Many (most) sunscreen available contain a mix of 'active compounds' (typically a mix of organic and inorganic/mineral filters) and additives to make them cosmetically pleasing (plus perfumes). Many organic compounds are often found in mixes, as often one compound can help 'stabilise' the others, however we need to be careful as these chemical compounds can act as 'endocrine disruptors'.
Moreover, efficacy and safety of the products depends grandly on where in the planet you are buying such products: different countries have different regulatory strategies - for example while in the EU they are considered 'cosmetics' and the priority is given to efficacy, in the US they are considered 'pharmaceutical' and the FDA thus gives priority to the safety of these products.
So what can you do?
There are creams out there made entirely of mineral compounds. A commonly used one is zinc oxide and you can find 'natural' sunscreens containing all natural ingredients and zinc oxide. This can be in nano or non-nano formula, and the non-nano formula is often recommended as there are some potential issues with nano particles entering your body.
I have mine from Badger - and so far love the face stick for surfing! (Still with a whole-body wetsuit here! so only face needs to be protected...). Only ingredients listed are Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5% and *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E) (*from Organic sources!).
Added benefit is that the oils protect my skin from wind and salt! :) Will let you know how summer time goes.
environmental rating: if efficacy and safety are not enough to convince you, typical sunscreens leech chemicals in the water once you bathe, posing a risk to marine life. Zinc oxide natural sunscreens containing only natural additives (seed oils/ beeswax) should be biodegradable and safe!
What you wear in terms of clothes and fabric is also important - check part 2 of the blog coming up soon!
Disclaimer: some posts may contain affiliate links. At no extra costs to you, buying through the link will help me in this blogging journey!