Summer has arrived, and with it, the chance to have all kinds of outdoors fun.
My kids and I love this season of the year, and who doesn't, really? Enjoying sunlight well into the evening, going for lightweight, more relaxed outfits, and diving into the general sunshine vibe.
Alright, maybe I'm idealizing Summer a little bit, and it might not be everyone's favorite season. When the weather gets really hot, after all, it can take a heavy toll on even the most outdoor enthusiast.
That's why 24-hour sun protection is something we should all have in mind, regardless of how much we love or dread the sunniest months of the year.
Here’s my daughter London advocating for the use of effective, yet non-toxic, sunscreen products. Although they only just turned 4 years old, I do believe I have managed to explain to my twins about the importance of always using sunscreen, and why is it that we only choose high-quality, non-chemical brands.
Some years ago, all the info regarding the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays made us think that the most important thing to look for when choosing a sunscreen was its Sun Protection Factor, or SPF.
Then we started to learn how the claims of really high SPF (beyond 30 rating) doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the ingredients, but to be honest, the only ingredient I tried to avoid for a while was parabens.
And Steve, my husband, here waving next with my son Lincoln, really doesn't care all that much about which brand of sunscreens we choose for our trips to sunny destinations.
Lucky for us, a couple of years ago I discovered EVER skin, a luxurious brand of skincare products with only vegan, sustainably-produced, and non-toxic ingredients.
They have an amazing sunscreen product that is also a moisturizer and an anti-aging treatment - a three-in-one! I was so pleased at the results I noticed in my skin after using EVER products that I was inspired me to write about it on my blog and discuss the benefits of choosing beauty and self-care products that have genuinely high-quality ingredients.
Another great thing about getting in contact with EVER was that I was inspired to dive even deeper to learn about safe ingredients in the products that I buy for myself and my family.
As I am an oncologist I was already very conscious of the importance of avoiding toxic compounds in food, makeup, clothing and basically every product that we use on a regular basis.
There are two key facts about sunscreens:
Most commercial brands are chemical sunscreens, which means they use chemical compounds that penetrate into your skin which then create a chemical reaction in order to alter the composition of sun rays. So, they are not a direct protection from UV rays; rather, they impregnate your skin with a chemicals that react with sunlight and then starts filtering out the harming light wavelengths.
That means they're less than ideal because all its ingredients need to be absorbed by our skin, and any potential side effects of those ingredients will reach our whole body through the skin's direct connection to our bloodstream.
Non-chemical, or physical, sunscreens are much safer as they create an actual physical layer of minerals that directly block UV rays and prevent them from penetrating our skin (instead of our skin chemically reacting to reflect them). Mineral-based sunscreens are not designed to penetrate the skin, and when formulated correctly, the outer contact we have with them only has nourishing and moisturizing effects.
The most common minerals in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Some will advertise that they are a zinc or titanium oxide-based sunscreen, but will still have the harmful chemicals mentioned below. So be sure to read the label and that is a purely physical sunscreen you are purchasing.
You can read more in depth about the scientific research around these two different kind of sunscreens in this article from the Environmental Working Group.
Here's a quick summary of my perspective on the topic, both as a mom and a medical professional.
-Until further research is conducted, it is best to avoid chemical-based sunscreens. There's no need for potentially harmful ingredients to penetrate our skin when we can have effective protection with the physical barrier of mineral sunscreens.
-These are the 6 chemicals commonly used in chemical sunscreens that you want to avoid: avobenzone, oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octocrylene, and octisalate. These are all chemicals that will react on our skin to reflect UV rays, but they are also associated with carcinogenic and hormonal imbalance effects.
-Another important ingredient to avoid, which is a preservative found in many makeup and skincare brands, is methylisothiazolinone. This is especially important in products marketed for kids, as it can develop long-term allergy conditions in their skin.
-My go-to choice in sunscreen for my twins is Blue Lizard Sunscreen from Australia, which bans many of the harmful ingredients that the U.S. allows in our personal care products.
--My favorite sunscreen to use on myself is EVER’s Daylight Moisturizer. I completely fell in love with it, as well as other EVER products - researching and using them for a good while before making the decision to be an influencer for the brand myself. It’s a brand I can proudly stand behind and feel confident about sharing it with friends and family.You can buy the EVER Sunscreen in this link from my site.
That's it for now. Margarita-in-hand, I wish you an amazing Summer ahead!