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
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.