Summer is here and it’s time to stock up on sunscreen. Our holistic nutritionist Emily tells you everything you need to know about what ingredients to look for in sunscreen, which brands are truly effective, and which foods can help protect your skin from free radical damage.
- The most useful resource for you to keep on hand is the EWG website. Save it as a favourite on your computer or as an app on your phone! It is your personal label-reading superstar. The EWG recently came out with it’s annual sunscreen guide and all you have to do is type in your favourite brand to see how it ranks for safety.
- Shady Offenders –Top ingredients to look out for are oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate & homosalate.
- Best Bets – mineral non-nano zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Make sure the “non-active ingredients” are minimal for things like BHT, parabens, alcohol or other chemicals.
- Products are not allowed to make claims for “waterproof” or “sweat-proof”
- “Broad spectrum” sunscreens must contain UVA and UVB protection, but only “a certain percentage of a broad spectrum product’s total protection is against UVA“. UVB rays are the ones most indicated with sunburn, but both A and B are indicated for skin cancer.
- “Mineral sunscreen” implies that a product is using mostly minerals to block the sun’s rays – namely zinc or titanium dioxide. These types of sunscreens rate quite highly on the EWG rating and are effective against UVA and UVB.
- SPF – Sun Protection Factor – tells you how well a product will protect against UVB rays, depending on your skin type. For example, if you can usually handle 10 minutes in the sun without getting burnt, if you use an SPF 15 you can be protected for 10 min x 15 = 150 minutes. Unfortunately, the pattern is not linear.
SPF 15 = 93% protection
SPF 30 = 97% protection
SPF 100 = 99% protection
- Stick between 15 and 30 on the advice of dermatologists, and use other methods of sun protection like hats, sunglasses, shade, timing (don’t go out at mid-day) and re-application.
- The best products that spread well but won’t leave your body looking like you’re a freshly frosted cupcake include: Goddess Garden, Andalou BB / CC creams with SPF (tinted a peachy-colour), Green Beaver, and Badger (FYI – very thick and whitening but super clean!).
- Some makeup and skincare lines include some sunscreen activity too. Sweet Leilani lipsticks, bronzers, foundations and moisturizers use non-chemical sunscreens, and select Skin Essence facial oils and eye serum use non-nano zinc oxide to protect skin from sun damage.
Protect with Foods
- Keep your body hydrated all day long to avoid dehydration and exhaustion, especially during hot days. Infuse your water with cooling herbs like peppermint or fennel for extra benefit.
- Anti-oxidant rich foods help your body combat free radicals, which can speed up the aging process and promote the break down many fine structures within the body (like collagen). Fuel yourself with anti-oxidants to help your skin and body rejuvenate and shine over the summer!
- vitamin C – citrus, berries, red peppers, guava
- vitamin A – papaya, pumpkin, carrots
- vitamin E – nuts and seeds, wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds
Want more great tips like this? At the clinic we have all your needs for summer covered! Come meet with Emily for tailored nutrition advice to keep your skin glowing all season long, and get your body ready for summer with yoga classes and cosmetic acupuncture! Contact us at 647-345-7668 (pom8) or online at email@example.com