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Spray-on sunscreen is quite convenient but inhaling its questionable chemicals is a health risk. The chemicals used in rub-in sunscreen for years and years are still not yet fully understood, so why inhale them? Furthermore, spray-on sunscreens also make it too easy to apply too little or miss a spot, thus leaving bare skin exposed to harmful UV rays.
According to the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG), the two major types of sunscreen available in the U.S. are "chemical" and "mineral" sunscreens. “Chemical” sunscreens are more common, and its active ingredients such as PABA or PARSOL 1789 and oxybenzone penetrate into the bloodstream and mimic the body’s natural hormones and may confuse the body's Endochrine system, which regulates our mood, growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive processes.
"Mineral" sunscreens are considered somewhat safer, as their active ingredients are from natural elements such as zinc or titanium. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide provide strong sun protection with few health concerns, and don't break down in the sun. Thus, EWG recommends to sticking with "mineral" sunscreens while taking other precautions such as looking for shade, wearing protective clothing and eyewear, and avoiding the noontime sun.
EWG recommends avoiding spray-on sunscreens entirely. "These ingredients are not meant to be inhaled into the lungs." Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens, which are greatest among children.
Here a few examples of sunscreens recommended by the EWG:
Click here to see the complete list of sunscreens that meet EWG's criteria.
June 21, 2013 marks the first official day of summer and this year’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The summer solstice marks the point of the year where the northern hemisphere is tilted most towards the sun, thus giving us longer days. For example, according to timeanddate.com, there will be over 14 hours and 25 minutes of sunlight in Los Angeles today.
With longer days and warmer weather, it’s a great time to go outside and take advantage of all the extra sunlight. But don’t forget that sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens every time you are in the sun. According to the UCLA Skin Research Department, 78% of all sun damage occurred in a lifetime is from incidental exposure from everyday activities.
This means you are putting your skin at risk every time you walk to your car, wait outside for the bus, walk your dog, etc. So be sure to generously apply SPF 30+ sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out, wear a hat, and wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect not just your eyes, but your sensitive eyelids too.
Do: Wash your face and moisturize at bedtime
The skin on your face is one of the dirtiest parts on your body from being unintentionally touched all day long. Washing your face every will get rid of dirt and free radicals that can clog pores. Moisturizing will aid in skin repair and healing that occurs while you sleep.
Don’t: Use bar soap to wash your face
The binders in bar soap have a high pH balance, making it too drying for most skin types. Thus, bar soap immediately strips your skin of all its water, instantly creating dead skin cell buildup. In general, bar soap should never touch the skin from the neck down. Instead, look for mild, sulfate free, low foaming gel cleansers. Avoid high foaming cleansers.
Do: Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliating both your face and body weekly helps get rid of the dead top layers of skin that give us a dull complexion. Also, moisturizers will better penetrate your skin since the dead, flaky layer is scrubbed away. Some say the best time to exfoliate is in the morning, after your skin has repaired itself overnight. Here are some great tools for exfoliation: Facial scrub – gentle salt or sugar based one that leaves your skin feeling ‘dewy’. Avoid alcohol based ones. Basic washcloth – put a dab of cleanser on a damp washcloth and massage your skin in a circular motion. For 30 seconds. Rise off with lukewarm water. Retinoids – removes the top layer of dead skin cells while generation collagen, the skin’s structural fiber. Most skincare experts consider retinoids to be a miracle skin saver. However, retinoids are not recommended for women who are pregnant or who are breastfeeding.
Don’t: Overcleanse your skin
When you overcleanse your skin, you strip out the essential oils and water that keep skin healthy and balanced. If your skin feels taut and tight after cleansing, then it is a sign that your skin is crying out for moisture and that you are using a cleanser that is too harsh for your skin. Some effects of overcleansing are: Rashes – dry, red, flakey, irritated skin that may accelerate aging Adult acne – due to overactive oil glands triggered by a panic response
Do: Wear sunscreen
The number one cause of wrinkles is sun damage, so wear sunscreen with at least a SPF of 30. One trick is to purchase moisturizer with sunscreen for the day and one without sunscreen for the night. The ingredients in sunscreen are not mean to be used 24/7 and can aggravate your skin. Also, there is no cure for melanoma skin cancer, only prevention by wearing sunscreen.
Don’t: Skip wearing sunscreen on cloudy and winter days The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB. UVB rays, which cause your skin to get tan or sunburn, are less strong in the winter than in the summer. However, UVA rays, which cause premature skin again and skin cancer, are equally strong from summer to winter. Even on a cloudy day, you are still getting UV damage if you do not wear sunscreen.
Do: Moisturize your skin
Your skin needs water to keep skin cells hydrated and healthy. Lack of water will cause skin cells to die prematurely, resulting in dead skin cell build up and clogged pores
Don’t: Substitute drinking water for using a skin moisturizer
Although drinking plenty of water has multiple benefits for your body such as increasing brain function, maintaining energy levels, and aids in weight loss and digestion, it is the least efficient and effective way to hydrate your skin.