My current sunscreen rotation—because it’s SUMMER!
Let it be known: I’m officially in summer mode. School ends next Friday, homework is dunzo for the year (YAY!), camp packing is in progress and I’m spending my weekends outside (albeit on the sidelines of a lacrosse field). On the skincare front, this means sunscreen season is at full tilt—and I have a bevy of new bottles and tubes that I’ve been hitting on the regular.
Before I reveal my current go-to sun-protection products, I’ve made a decision for summer 2019. I’m no longer using chemical-based sunscreen ingredients on myself or my family. There are a few reasons for this… First, back in February, the FDA held a little sunscreen pow-wow, and some interesting information emerged. Of the 16 currently-approved active sunscreen ingredients, only two—zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—were deemed GRASE (“generally recognized as safe and effective”) and these both happen to be mineral-based UV filters. 14 other approved widely-used ingredients were said to lack sufficient safety data to be categorized as GRASE (seriously!), and two were called out as decidedly not GRASE.
Then, just a few weeks ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found that chemical-based UV filters do in fact get absorbed into the bloodstream—and this is pretty scary considering we don’t know what they do to our bodies once they get in there. Hormone disruption, cancer and birth defects have all been mentioned as potential side effects (and I emphasize potential because this has not been proven).
Yet another reason I’m making the switch to physical sunscreens is that I work with a lot of dermatologists, and virtually all of them recommend mineral filters for a variety of reasons (the most common being acne-prone and sensitive skin). The good news is, physical sunscreens aren’t like the “zinc” we used to paint on our faces when we were younger. A well-made formula won’t leave your skin looking chalky—and you get the peace of mind that comes along with knowing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide leave a barrier on top of your skin to reflect UV rays, rather than getting absorbed.
Lastly, you’ve probably heard that chemical sunscreen ingredients are killing the world’s coral reefs. Chemical or physical sunscreen is your choice, but these are the mineral-based ones I’m currently reaching for…
TIZO Photoceutical AM Replenish Tinted SPF 40
If I’m dropping off at school, hitting a Pilates class and/or running errands, I use this mousse-like sunscreen because the subtle tint evens out my skin and lets me skip the makeup. It also contains antioxidants (although a vitamin C serum is always the first product I apply after I wash my face) and iron oxide, which helps protect your skin from unwanted discoloration caused by the blue light emitted from electronic screens. However, I don’t use it when I’m planning on applying makeup because it tends to pill if I don’t give it enough time to absorb (and some mornings I’m in such a rush I’m lucky that I remember to put on pants).
CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 30
You don’t have to go any further than the drugstore for this wonderful sunscreen—which doubles as a moisturizer as well. It plays nicely with makeup, it’s oil-free and it contains skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide to give you even more bang for your buck.
I was recently introduced to this Australian brand and I have to say I’ve never used more effective sun protection on my kid—or myself. Gone are the days of coming home after a long day outside only to find someone is sunburned (despite applying before setting foot in the sun and reapplying throughout the day). I like the lotion for our bodies and the stick for my son’s face—and although it takes a wee bit of rubbing in to render it invisible (I’d rather use too much than too little), it’s well worth the effort.
Regardless of the sunscreen you choose, just remember, slathering on the SPF is not a one-and-done task—especially if you’re going to outside for more than an hour or two. To get the protection stated on the bottle, it’s essential to reapply at least every two hours, or sooner if you take a dip and towel off. Do yourself a favor and set the timer on your phone to help minimize any post-sun aftermath, whether a kid complaining about sunburn or skin damage in the form of wrinkles or skin cancer years from now.