Summer isn’t over. In some parts of the world (like Los Angeles where I live), it’s all year long. That is why I am writing a series on sunscreens. This time, I want to share with you the various types of sunscreen applications there are on the market and their pros and cons. Ironically, even with millions of Americans depending on sunscreen for skin protection, the rate of melanomas is increasing. Why? Because sunscreens should not be used as a sole protection from the sun. They can, however, play a role in preventing sunburns if used properly. Sunburns are a major risk factor for melanomas and should be used as part of an overall sun-protection strategy. More on that in another blog.
Sunscreens come in sprays, lotions, sticks, powders, and towelettes. I am old school and like my sunscreen lotions didn’t even know about sunscreen towelettes and powders until I researched the various types of sunscreens.
According to the EWG, you should avoid the following types of sunscreens:
- Spray sunscreens
- Sunscreen towelettes and powders
One in three sunscreens in the EWG’s database for 2014 is a spray. While they are easy to use and very popular, spray sunscreens may pose serious inhalation risks. They also make it too easy for you to miss a spot or not put enough on leaving your skin vulnerable to sunburns.
Even the FDA has expressed concern about spray sunscreens questioning their safety and efficiency. They have asked manufacturers to provide proof that spray sunscreens properly protect the skin and that they don’t pose inhalation risks. Whether or not manufactures are complying, I don’t know. What I do know is that even though the FDA is considering banning spray sunscreens, companies are still making them. Why? Because they haven’t been banned them and so many people are still buying them. If we stopped buying them, manufactures would stop making them. It’s the universal law of supply and demand.
Truth be told though. Their health hazards have yet to be determined. I still believe they should be avoided because airborne particles are so easy to inhale and why take the risk when there are safe alternatives?
If you can’t imagine going to the beach without your spray sunscreen, here are a couple of suggestions: hold your breath while spraying, make sure that you’ve sprayed enough and haven’t missed a spot.
Sunscreens Towelettes and Powders
For the same reasons you want to avoid spray sunscreens, you should stay away from wipes and powders. According to the EWG, they offer dubious sun protection and can irritate your lungs when loose powders are inhaled.
I wondered about sunscreen sticks but I tried the RAW Elements stick and not only does it not run but it won’t sting your eyes. So, sticks seem like a great choice for kids and the face. They also seem like a practical shape and size to carry in a purse. There is also no risk of them leaking in your beach bag.
These are my favorite. They are not only safe but they are by far the most effective. You can see how much you are using and that you’ve covered all areas exposed to the sun.
Now that you know to use sunscreen lotions or sticks, I will go into the ingredients to avoid in sunscreens and what to look for.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what type of sunscreen you use and why.
Until next time…