UV from the sun, other than your ticking body clock, is a major cause of skin aging. UV not only dries and burns your skin, but also permanently damages your cells. UVA rays have the ability to mutate your cells which causes it to malfunction, eventually causing more serious diseases like skin cancer.
Sunscreen is not just a vanity must, it is a one of the solutions in averting a serious health problem that currently affects between two to three million people globally, that is, according to the World Health Organization. WHO is expecting that every 10% depletion in the protective ozone covering will redound to at least 300,000 people more affected with skin cancer.
It is sad and unfortunate that the sunscreens which people have been relying on for UV protection for decades have been found to be laden with nasty, toxic chemicals that do not just damage the skin but also affect people’s overall health and well-being, and pollute the environment. Nevertheless, even before the subject became a hot topic, sunscreen for sensitive skin has long been a problem for many who couldn’t find a product that suited their special skin needs.
According to consumer product watchdog, Environmental Working Group, the most commonly used sunscreen actives, including Oxybenzone, Octinoxate and Homosalate are highly toxic, causing abnormalities to the otherwise normal functioning of various hormone regulated processes, particularly those regulated by estrogen.
Other more commonly used chemical sunscreen active ingredients are Octisalate, Octocrylene, Avobenzone and Mexoryl SX. All of which have been found to cause some degree of toxicity to the body. These chemical sunscreens are often combined in sunscreen formulations to broaden the spectrum of protection thereby covering both UVA and UVB sun protection needs.
The good news is that safer alternatives, mostly using mineral sunscreen actives, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, are becoming widely available.
For now, yes, it appears so.
Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens differ greatly in their mechanisms for protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. Mineral sunscreens act as physical sun blockers. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide literally add another layer of protection on top of your skin, stopping the UV rays from reaching your skin. Then, these mineral active sunscreens reflect the UV light.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by absorbing the UV and then converting these to less harmful by-products, including heat. This is why the chemical sunscreen actives can be so harsh because of this need to change the chemical makeup of the UV.
Chemical sunscreens are not an option as sunscreen for sensitive skin.
Other than relying too heavily on your sunscreen, there are other things that you can do to protect your skin:
Any sunscreen will not give you 100% sun protection. In fact, nothing can. So, the best advice is still to stay in the shade as much as you can.
Some sunscreens already have antioxidants infused in their formulation. It still wouldn’t hurt to add in an antioxidant serum to your regimen though. These add another layer of protection from the sun.
High UPF rated textiles like Lycra, nylon and polyester should be worn when prolonged sun exposure is expected. Again, none of these can give you absolute protection from the sun but these do add another layer of sun shield.
Darker car windows help block out much of the sun too. So do this to yourself as a favor.
Add eye protection for your delicate eyes and the equally delicate skin around it.