My Cart

Close

Raising the Beauty Standard: Sunscreen Edition

Written by Elizabeth Lynn

• 

Posted on March 20 2019

Raising the Beauty Standards

Table of Contents

Sunscreen is the real deal. It's an essential step in your routine that can keep you looking years younger and when it comes to skin cancer, save your life. That's because UV rays cause wrinkles, pigmentation and dull skin. To help make sure you never leave the house without proper sun protection, here's a guide to help you find your perfect sunscreen for your life and skin.

SUNSCREEN LOTION

Sunscreen lotions are effective in preventing skin cancers from squamous cell skin cancers to its precursors to melanomas which are the most deadly forms of skin cancer. Lotions can provide a deeper coverage since you have to actually rub it in. Lotions have a moisturizing effect and are creamier. Many women prefer lotions since they are used to using makeup that feels the same on skin. No matter what type of sunscreen you choose, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you rub it on at least 15-30 minutes before going outside. This gives the sunscreen time to soak into your skin.

SPRAY SUNSCREEN

Spray sunscreens are nice in theory: They’re easy to apply, they’re not greasy, and they’re lightweight. But concerns about them abound — from the EWG, the FDA, and many other experts. People tend to not apply enough and fail to rub in the solution after spraying, so far less of the solution is actually getting onto the skin. And then there’s the inhalation risk of the chemicals. The skin is designed to be a protective barrier; the lungs are not. So the same chemicals, by a different exposure route, may produce different effects. The FDA is currently looking into this issue.

 

UV RAYS

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UVA AND UVB RAYS?

There are two types of UV rays that reach the Earth. UVA rays penetrate more deeply into the skin and play a greater role in premature skin aging- the culprit behind wrinkles and fine lines. There are approximately 500 times more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for turning your skin red and making you burn. Although both UVA and UVB are bad for skin, UVA rays are more of a threat because a much larger percentage of them reach earth’s surface.

WHAT ARE UVB RAYS?

UVB rays cause your skin to turn red and sunburns. It’s intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces like snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80% of the rays so that they hit the skin twice.

WHAT ARE UVA RAYS?

UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, which is the skin’s thickest layer. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging), and suppression of the immune system, . UVA-screening ingredients: stabilized avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.

SPF RATING

WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?

Sun Protection Factor. When you read an SPF label, the number you see indicates the protection against UVB rays. “UVB light are the rays that contribute to sunburns, but UVA is damaging in that it can lead to photodamage, premature aging and even skin cancer,” says L.A. dermatologist Annie Chiu.

WHAT SPF DO I NEED?

The protection does not increase exponentially as the SPF rating goes up. For example, a product rated SPF 30 will protect skin from almost 97% of the sun's UVB rays, while an SPF 50 product will shield you from 98%.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH HIGHER SPF RATINGS?

Anything over spf 50 is false advertising and regardless of the number you must reapply at least every 2 hours. For someone that never goes out in the sun, we recommend every 30 minutes on face + upper body and every hour for lower body.

SPF 15 - BLOCKS 93% OF UVB RAYS SPF 30 - BLOCKS 97% OF UVB RAYS *DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED SPF 50 - BLOCKS 98% OF UVB RAYS

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR SUNSCREEN PROTECTS AGAINST UVA AND UVB RAYS?

SPF only accounts for protection against UVB rays. If you want protection against UVA/UVB rays then look for a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum protection. White Girl Sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection, but it isn’t on our packaging. However, it will be updated on the new packaging we launch this summer.

IN THE SUN ... or not

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I REAPPLY SUNSCREEN WHILE IN THE SUN?

To get the full SPF of a sunscreen, you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so re-apply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal

DO I NEED TO USE SUNSCREEN IF I HAVE DARKER SKIN?

For those who think their skin color exempts them from having to worry about sun protection, you’re wrong. Damaging UV rays can penetrate all skin types, regardless of your ethnicity. It’s true that if you have a darker complexion then you have more melanin, which means you’re less likely to BURN, but you are still harmed by UVA rays, which account for 97% of UV radiation..

One CDC paper found that up to 30% of darker-skinned ethnic groups reported at least one sunburn in the previous year. “Unfortunately, skin cancer is frequently diagnosed later in people with darker skin tones- perhaps because of the misconception that they are not at risk- so it’s often progressed to a later stage and is more difficult to treat,” says Wu. Singer

DO I NEED TO USE A SUNSCREEN IF I DON’T BURN IN THE SUN?

Melanin is the colored pigment in our skin, and when we expose our skin to the sun, more melanin is produced in order to protect the skin against UV rays. The problem here is that, although melanin helps protect the skin, it doesn’t prevent the more harmful effect of UV rays. Many people with more pigment in their skin will have a lower skin cancer risk, says Rigel, but they’re not immune.

Bob Marley was first diagnosed with skin cancer when a malignant melanoma was found under the nail of his toe. He ignored his doctor's recommendation that the toe be removed. Bob Marley's failed treatment for skin cancer, which eventually progressed to the brain cancer responsible for his death at 36.

WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING TO MY SKIN WHEN I’M TANNING OUT IN THE SUN?

Melanin increases in response to sun exposure and skin gets darker, but that “tan” isn’t protecting your skin; it’s a sign of sun damage. UV exposure causes cell damage, and the body produces more melanin as a protective mechanism. A tan results from injury to the skin's DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.

CAN I GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D IF I USE SUNSCREEN?

It only takes 5 minutes of sun exposure day for optimal vitamin d levels

CAN YOU FIND A WATERPROOF SUNSCREEN? “There’s no such thing as waterproof sunscreen! In a Consumer Reports study, almost half of the products failed to meet their SPF claim after water immersion—despite the fact that all featured claims of water resistance. The lesson here is ALWAYS reapply.” - Dermatologist Dendy Engelman of Manhattan’s Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Centers. Link to Article

DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE

SHOULD I USE SUNSCREEN IF MY MOISTURIZER OR FOUNDATION ALREADY HAS SUNSCREEN IN IT? I can’t emphasize enough how essential a stand alone sunscreen is when it comes to keeping skin healthy and in slowing the effects of aging. I specify “stand-alone” for a reason. Many people use a daytime moisturizer or foundation with built-in sun protection, but the unfortunate truth is that those products are not supplying anyone with adequate UV protection.

IS THE SPF IN MY FOUNDATION OR POWDER ENOUGH SUNSCREEN PROTECTION?

Answer: No, you need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label. No one does this. In addition, your foundation limits the sunscreen's ability to protect. You foundation also dilutes the SPF protection. You need UVA/UVB protection. The ingredients Octocrylene and avobenzone work best, which White Girl Sunscreen has. Reference

HOW MUCH SUNSCREEN SHOULD I USE DAILY FOR ADEQUATE UV PROTECTION?

You need 1⁄4 teaspoon of sunscreen on our face in order to obtain the amount of sun protection advertised on the product label -- 1⁄4 teaspoon is a lot! It’s about the diameter of a cherry -- and most people aren’t using that much moisturizer (or we can hope) foundation.

DO I NEED A SUNSCREEN WHEN IT’S COLD OR CLOUDY OUTSIDE? Up to 40 percent of the sun's ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day. This misperception often leads to the most serious sunburns, because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun.

RANDOM SUNSCREEN QUESTIONS ANSWERED

WHAT IS OXYBENZONE?

Oxybenzone is one of the most common chemical filters found in sunscreen, according to the EWG Oxybenzone is in 80% of chemical sunscreens. and its primary function is to absorb UV light. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as oxybenzone may mimic hormones, cause endometriosis and can pose a risk to reproductive systems. Oxybenzone has been increasingly linked to early puberty in girls, low sperm count and male infertility, and an increase in hormone-related cancers in men and women. Most shocking, it has been stated that oxybenzone is even more strongly estrogenic than BPA according to says researcher Kurunthachalam Kannan, PhD, a professor of public health and environmental health sciences with the New York State Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center in Albany (WebMD). Oxybenzone is also one of the biggest offenders of allergic skin reactions, and was named “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2014.

IS ORGANIC SUNSCREEN REALLY ORGANIC? If you are like many people searching for a USDA Certified Organic Sunscreen, you are unfortunately hunting for the unicorn of the sun protection industry. Organic sunscreen, similar to “chemical free” products, is a big, fat myth. As it currently stands, for a product to be truly USDA certified “Organic,” all of its ingredients must be of food grade organic quality. They must literally be edible. I have searched high and low and there still aren’t any edible ingredients that could be considered by lab standards a sunblock. Shea butter is known to have sun protective qualities, however its efficacy pales in comparison to titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which no one should ever eat.” says Chase Polan, Founder of Kypris Skincare.

WHY IS A TANNING BED SO BAD FOR ME? The bulbs in tanning beds give doses of UVA rays x 12 compared to what the sun gives. People who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

SHOULD I USE A SUNSCREEN IN THE WINTER? UVA rays During Winter: UVA is the longer ray that accounts for 95% UV radiation. UVA rays (aging rays) do not get weaker during winter, just like the sun light does not get weaker during winter. UVA is at the same level at June as it is at December. It is the same level at the Sahara and NYC. Since UVA rays have a longer wavelength, they are able to penetrate deeper into the skin. UVA rays enter the epidermis (outermost layer) and this is where most skin cancer occurs. UVA rays were tested and found to be able to penetrate through several fabrics, glass, clothes and clouds. So a regular T shirt which may block UVB is nearly “transparent” when it comes to filtering UVA.

IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN PUT ON MY CAR TO BLOCK UV RAYS? Since UVA penetrates glass, consider adding flat, tinted UV-protective film to your car's side and rear windows as well as to house and business windows. This film blocks up to 99.9 percent of UV radiation and lets in up to 80 percent of visible light.

MIND BLOWING SUNSCREEN FACTS

- If you can protect your skin for the first 18 years of its life then you can decrease the chances of skin

cancer by nearly 80%

- In the last 30 years more people have had skin cancer than all cancers combined.

- 90% of skin cancer in the US Basal Cell Carcinoma

- Melanoma kills more than 8,000 Americans each year.

- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

- Bob Marley was first diagnosed with skin cancer when a malignant melanoma was found under the nail of

his toe. He ignored his doctor's recommendation that the toe be removed. Bob Marley's failed treatment

for skin cancer, which eventually progressed to the brain cancer responsible for his death at 36.