The New Rules Of SPF

EV­ERY DAY THERE’S A NEW HEAD­LINE ABOUT HOW “FILL- I N-THE- BLANK” I S WRECK­ING YOUR SKIN (AND LIFE). YOUR PHONE? MAYBE. THE SUN? DEF­I­NITELY. YOUR STA­PLE SUN­SCREEN? PROB­A­BLY NOT. HERE’S A LOOK BE­HIND THE HYPE AND AT THE TRUTH

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY DEANNA PAI AND GOTL­HOK­WANG AN­GOMA- MZINI PHO­TOGRAPHS BY NA­DIA VON SCOTTI

We bust some heav­ily cir­cu­lated myths about what’s what in sun­care

1THE CLAIM Con­sis­tent sun­screen use pre­vents you from get­ting your daily dose of vi­ta­min D from good, old sun­shine.

THE REAL DEAL This is sort of true, since sun­screen pre­vents UVB rays (which cause a re­ac­tion that re­sults in vi­ta­min D pro­duc­tion) from reach­ing your skin cells. But be­fore you run out­side sans SPF, know this: there are other means of soak­ing up vi­ta­min D. “You shouldn’t skip sun­screen in an at­tempt to get D,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Emmy Graber. In­stead, ob­tain it through your diet or a sup­ple­ment. It’s avail­able in only a few food sources ­– like fatty fish, in­clud­ing sal­mon, mush­rooms and egg yolks – so con­sider a sup­ple­ment that con­tains at least the rec­om­mended daily value of 600 IU. If you’re wor­ried about a vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency, which can re­sult in loss of bone den­sity, your doc­tor can check your lev­els with a quick blood test.

2THE CLAIM In ad­di­tion to UV, other forms of light, like blue light from phones and de­vices and in­frared rays emit­ted by said de­vices, are giv­ing you wrin­kles and dark spots.

THE REAL DEAL Yes, blue and in­frared light might (might!) lead to skin age­ing, ac­cord­ing to stud­ies. But the ex­act ex­tent is still TBD. In fact, says Graber, both wave­lengths can ac­tu­ally be ben­e­fi­cial in a con­trolled set­ting. Case in point: derms tend to use these types of light in-of­fice to treat acne and other skin is­sues. (Again, that’s in the hands of a pro­fes­sional.) Still ner­vous? New sun­screen for­mu­las, like Sothys Sen­si­tive Zones Pro­tec­tive Fluid SPF 50 (R595), pro­tect against all wave­lengths of light, in­clud­ing UV and in­frared. Graber also rec­om­mends an­tiox­i­dants, par­tic­u­larly vi­ta­min C and fer­ulic acid, be­cause “they make your skin cells stronger and more ro­bust against dam­age.”

3THE CLAIM Cer­tain chem­i­cal sun­block­ers in sun­screens, like avoben­zone and oxy­ben­zone, are the worst – they break down into toxic par­ti­cles and mess with hor­mones.

THE REAL DEAL Slow your roll! First, these sun-ab­sorb­ing chem­i­cal in­gre­di­ents are some of the best around for broad­-spec­trum cov­er­age, mean­ing they pro­tect skin from both UVA and UVB rays, says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Kristina Gold­en­berg. Plus, the ev­i­dence for this claim is sparse and the amounts of chem­i­cals stud­ied aren’t the same as what you’re ap­ply­ing to your skin – or even what’s tested on hu­mans. One re­port did the maths and found it would take nearly 380 litres of sun­screen con­tain­ing oxy­ben­zone to reach the point of po­ten­tial harm­ful ef­fects. What’s more, sun­screens with these sun­block­ers, like La Roche-Posay An­the­lios XL Ul­tra-light Fluid SPF 50+ (R240), come widely rec­om­mended by derms. Ul­ti­mately, the risk for skin can­cer is way higher than the still-un­con­firmed risk (if any) of these chem­i­cals – it’s not worth sac­ri­fic­ing your skin health on spec­u­la­tion.

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