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Blog - Sunscreen

CHECK THE LABEL: ​Screen Your Sunscreen

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Screen Your Sunscreen

Is it just me, or is the weather getting warmer these past few days? This means only one thing: summer is here!

And when I say summer, you know I am talking about going to the beach with your family for some well-deserved R&R on the sand, listening to the calm waters lapping on the shore, and enjoying good grills under the warm summer sun. Of course when I say summer, you also know you had better be prepared in protecting your skin from the harmful UV rays. But before you go running to your nearest local cosmetics store and grabbing the first bottle of sunscreen you see, keep in mind that not all suncreens are created equal. That is, some sunscreens may actually be more harmful for your skin in the long run.

Perhaps the two most common chemicals found in sunscreens are oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (or retinol), but we must look at these two under a microscope before liberally applying them on our skin.

Oxybenzone is a primary substance in sunscreens that absorbs ultra violet rays, while retinyl palmitate (or retinol) are forms of vitamin A that has antioxidant properties. At first glance, it would seem that these two ingredients would actually be beneficial for the skin, and it would only be logical to actually include them in every bottle of sunscreen. However, some research came across questionable results at best.

Take for example oxybenzone. According to the Environtmenal Working Group or EWG, oxybenzone is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage. If not careful, prolonged exposure to this chemical may eventually lead to skin cancer—quite ironic from a bottle of sunscreen, don’t you think? The same can be said about retinyl palmitate when used on sun-exposed skin.

However, some groups maintain that oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate are perfectly safe. The FDA has approved oxybenzone in sunscreen for use on children older than 6 months, and the American Academy of Dermatology or AAD insists that oxybenzone has been approved for use since 1978, and there is “no convincing evidence” that retinyl palmitate causes cancer.

Although the study on retinyl palmitate was conducted on mice and remains to be inconclusive for humans, the fact remains that vitamin A products, which include retinyl palmitate and retinol, leave the skin more susceptible to damage from UV rays because of their exfoliating properties. And whether or not it causes skin cancer, oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions. It is best, therefore, that people with roseacea, eczema, or other skin issues avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone.

One organic alternative is the use of ocean based retinol (click  here for our Advanced Firming Eye Cream). You get to have all the benefits of retinol, i.e., soft, hydrated skin; minimized lines and wrinkles, without the harmful side effects.

Now that the sun is out, don’t forget to protect your skin from UV rays. And don’t just use any sunscreen; make sure to inspect if its ingredients are actually safe for you and your skin.





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