After a full day of sun here in the Twin Cities I thought what better time to talk about sunscreens than now; after all, it is June! Despite the cloudy weather we’ve been experiencing up here in the north land the use of sunscreen should go hand in hand with any kind of exposure that lasts 20 minutes or more. So, unless you’re sitting in your house for the entire day, screen it up. According to the American Melanoma Foundation (AMF) 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass through the cloud cover. That being said…wear sunscreen.
There are two kinds of ways to protect your skin: sunscreen and sunblock. While reading through the AMF, I learned that the difference between them is that sunscreen is a provides a chemical barrier on your skin and sunblock is a physical barrier. Sunscreen is less visible, cleans up neatly and acts like a filter and reduces the radiation of ultraviolet rays. Sunblock is messy, very visible and actually cannot compete with a sunscreen of SPF 30; sunblock is typically used on individuals whose skin is particularly sensitive to UV rays. (More information can be found here.)
I know, I know; the word chemical is a complete turn-off for me. Is it for you? I think that once you’re in the cloth diaper world you are more aware of what comes in contact with your skin and your child’s skin. With conflicting reports and so many different stories it’s so hard to even know where to go for information. I use Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website. I trust their information for many reasons but mainly it’s because of their involvement with a “large baby skin care company”. They recently became “the little engine that could” and brought to the light some of the potentially harmful ingredients of ”said large baby skin care company” products. The company is now reformulating their ingredients.
EWG has a really easy to navigate sunscreen informational guide on their website. It’s chock full of articles and helpful consumer guides. Be sure to use their Best Sunscreens consumer guide. EWG takes the ingredients that are used in any product and then analyzes them based on recent studies and findings. From there they use a grading system that involves numbers and traffic light corresponding colors. Green means safe, yellow is okay and red means that the product is not safe or that the company did not give the entire list of ingredients for them to analyze.
Sure the best approach to avoiding sun damage on your skin is to avoid exposing yourself to the sun, however, the natural vitamin D that’s in the sun is essential to your health. So rather than becoming a hermit, use EWG’s guide, try to cover your skin and your baby’s with sunblock clothing and get out and soak up some rays!
Do you look at ingredient lists or consumer guides when choosing a sunscreen?