Apply in the Buff

It goes without saying, we should all be applying sunscreen when we spend any extended time in the sun.  All sunscreens are not created equal.

Props to the experts that helped me through phase one of my research: Pediatrician Dr. Paul E. Juan, Naturopath Dr. Michael Gazsi and my friends at Yale Dermatology.

1. Sunscreen should protect against both UVA (rays that damage collagen and elastin and cause wrinkles) and UVB rays (cause redness and burning).
2. Look for brands that contain the mineral Zinc Oxide which blocks/reflects the suns rays.  Titanium Dioxide has the same effect but apparently is a bit less effective due to higher absorbency.
3. Sunscreens that claim to be above 30 to 50 SPF are not that much more effective.
4. I personally always buy sunscreen at Whole Body or other natural product stores.  Brands sold at drug stores work just fine but can contain Parabens, Phthalates, alcohol and chemicals (for fragrance, color, etc.). I’m obviously not a doctor or scientist but with controversy surrounding these ingredients, I’d rather go the more natural route.

1. Apply at home, in the buff, not only are you less likely to miss a spot, this allows time to for the sunscreen to absorb.
2. Do the same for the kids, once you get to the beach/pool they want to dive right in.
3. I find the sprays to be the easiest to apply (but the aerosols are not good to breath and bad for the ozone!).  Many natural versions have started to include a pump spray.  Love it.
4. Sunscreen can not effectively be applied to the scalp (hats are a must) and don’t forget the ears! When swimming though, apply to the part in your hair.

1. “Playing in the water and sand will rinse the sunscreen off and reduce the effectiveness of the barrier” says Dr. Juan.  No sunscreen is waterproof, some are more water resistant.  Read the directions on the bottle, some say to reapply every 90 minutes but always reapply after a swim or a good sweat.

Armed with the above information, I’ll be on the hunt for the best brands for my family this summer, in Apply in the Buff II.

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