Sunscreen: a must have item this summer

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As the temperature rises, swimming suits and shorts come out of the closet, flip flops get dusted off, and all thoughts of winter are left behind. Summertime means yards work outside, days at the beach, and outside fun with the family. However, the intense summer sun can cause skin damage and cancer, so using sunscreen is a daily necessity, especially during all those outside activities.

The purpose of a sunscreen is to block the harmful UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. This radiation damages all skin types, from those who are fair to those who have a dark complexion or tan easily. In fact, a reliable sunscreen is necessary even on a cloudy day because the cloud layer does not block this radiation. All sunscreens carry a Sun Protection Factor or SPF. The SPF rating shows how the product performs in protecting against UVB radiation. Wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 daily will help prevent the sun’s damaging effects. It is recommended to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. During the summer most people flock to the beaches, so some sunscreens are designed to be water-proof or sweat-proof.

Most of the sunscreens available on the market block damaging radiation through a concoction of different chemical ingredients. These products are normally in the forms of creams or sprays. Once sunscreen is applied onto the skin, the chemicals work to both reflect and scatter the radiation, or absorb it. In recent years, there have been many questions raised about the safety and effectiveness of these chemicals. Some scientists claim these chemicals produce free radicals, which actually increase skin damage and the risk of skin cancer, rather than lowering it. Another concern is that these synthetic chemicals may accumulate in the human body, and can actually reach the blood stream by being absorbed through the skin. Since the goal of using a sunscreen is to protect the body, and not harm it, many consumers have turned to using organic sunscreen to protect their families.

Organic sunscreens, like Weleda, use a combination of naturally occurring herbs, plant proteins, and minerals to provide sun protection. Some organic sunscreens are infused with vitamins to benefit your skin. Different types of organic sunscreens are available including creams, sprays, and powders which all carry appropriate SPF ratings. Organic powder sunscreens are mineral based, and are perfect for everyday protection. Minerals commonly found in organic sunscreen are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. One advantage of choosing the organic sunscreens over the chemical ones is they reduce the risk of skin irritation. Those with sensitive skin will especially benefit from the skin soothing properties of organic ingredients.

Before you hit the beach this summer it is imperative you remember to apply a quality sunscreen. The varieties of organic and chemical based sunscreens are endless. Choose a sunscreen that is good for your skin, has an appropriate SPF rating, and is designed for your activity. Using this must have item now, will benefit your skin for years to come.

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