Deconstructing Sunscreen Terms: The Good, The Bad, And The Confusing

Have you ever considered how safe your sunscreen is for you? If you want to protect your skin this summer, you should think more carefully about what you protect your skin with. Not all sunscreens are equal, so make sure you’re looking for all the key features that a good sunscreen should have.

Good Ingredients: These 4 ingredients protect your skin from the sun.

  1. Avobenzone -- This is an active ingredient that helps absorb UVA rays. If Octocrylene or Octisalate is also listed as an ingredient, these are good ingredients that work to stabilize Avobenzene so it will last longer.
  2. Helioplex -- This is a stabilized version of Avobenzone.
  3. Zinc or Titanium Dioxide -- These ingredients reflect UV rays from your skin. This has been recommended as a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
  4. Encamsule -- This ingredient completely blocks UV Rays from your body.

Bad Ingredients: These 6 ingredients harm your body more than they help protect you.

  1. Oxybenzone -- This ingredient can be absorbed into your skin and cause eczema and hormonal problems from extended sun exposure.
  2. Octinoxate -- This chemical can be harmful to estrogen in humans and wildlife when it comes in contact with water.
  3. Retinyl Palmitate -- This compound is a type of Vitamin A, and when it is exposed to the sun, the Vitamin A (retinol) compounds contained in it break and release destructive free radicals that are toxic to cell and may cause cancer.
  4. Homosalate -- Once our bodies absorb this chemical, it becomes toxic and disruptive to our hormones.
  5. Octocrylene -- This chemical absorbs UV rays, leading to damaged cells and cell mutations within your body.
  6. Paraben Preservatives (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-) -- These may cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and developmental and reproductive toxicities.

What else to look for:

  • Water Resistant -- This means that your sunscreen will protect you from the sun for 40 minutes while swimming or sweating. If it says that it is “very” resistant, this means that it will protect you for 80 minutes.
  • Broad Spectrum -- This means that your sunscreen will protect you from UVA and UVB rays, which are both harmful to our skin.
  • If you were wondering what the difference between UVA and UVB rays is: UVA rays cause you to age and UVB rays burn your skin.
  • SPF -- SPF is an acronym for Sunburn Protection Factor. This is how much protection you’re getting from UVB rays. The recommended SPF is 15, meaning it blocks your skin from 93% of UVB rays to 45, meaning it blocks your skin from 97% of UVB rays.
  • Side note: Some sunscreens may claim to be SPF 100, but no sunscreen can actually block 100% of UV rays from your skin, so it is recommended to stay away from sunscreen with this claim.
  • Powders/Sprays/Wipes -- We recommend avoiding these forms of sunscreen because it is easy to miss spots on your body

Sunscreen that fits these standards:

  • COOLA Plant UV Body SPF 30 Unscented Moisturizer
  • Alba Botanica® Very Emollient Natural Sunscreen Mineral Protection Fragrance-Free SPF 30
  • MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28
  • Sunology Natural Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50

If you end up getting burnt, take it easy for a few days. Your body will be more dehydrated than normal and you will most likely feel tired. On these days you're going to want to take it easy when training, if train at all. Here are our suggestions on what to do when you need a break from your normal fitness routine so your body won't feel left out. One other thing--never forget the aloe.

Be sure to stay safe in the sun all summer! Your body will thank you later.

Yours in Health,