Choosing Sunscreen

TL;DR

Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 – 50+. Apply as directed by the maker; using less, lessens the product’s effectiveness. Because of skin absorption be careful of the ingredients list. Consider using one of these three:

  1. Kiss My Face SPF 30
  2. 100% Pure Hydration Organic Pomegranate
  3. Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin

Why Use Sunscreen?

It is Ultraviolet Light that causes sunburn and skin cancer in humans; it also causes generation of Vitamin D which is beneficial. Knowing how our skin reacts to UV light is especially important in these summer months.

Let’s look first at UV light. We classify the Ultraviolet portion of the light spectrum in three segments, UVA, UVB and UVC.

The latter, UVC, decimates biologic entities, including humans. In fact when you purchase an UV water treatment tool, it’s using UVC. That really cool looking “oven” your barber places his comb and scissors in uses UVC as well. Before you decide to never step outside again, relax, our little planet blocks UVC in the highest reaches of our atmosphere. Pretty handy I’d say.

UVA and UVB, however, do reach the planet’s surface and are what cause skin aging and sunburn. The latter being the most noticeable effect is what most sunscreens are formulated to protect against.

How to Choose an Effective Sunscreen

The industry standard for measuring sunscreen effectiveness is measured in SFP or Sun Protection Value. This measurement is often misunderstood by consumers which can easily lead to poor choices in sunscreen products.

You skin has a natural SPF which is unique to you. It’s based on how much melanin you have. The darker your skin the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. That’s why a ginger burns so much quicker than an African American.

Once you have an idea how long it takes you to start to burn in direct sunlight, you can use the SPF rating of a sunscreen to calculate it’s effective duration. Say it takes you 15 minutes to start burning. Using an SPF 10 product will give you an additional 150 minutes in the sun.

There’s a catch here, you must apply the sunscreen as directed. Putting on less than the manufacturer’s recommendation will lessen its effectiveness.(( What’s Wrong With High SPF? ))

How Sunscreen Works

Photo by Karrie Nodalo

Photo by Karrie Nodalo

In general, sunscreens get their effectiveness from their ingredients which either reflect or absorb UV rays. Zinc or Titanium oxides are literally miniscule flecks of those metals suspended in the location. They bounce the UVB light rays away from your skin just like a mirror.

Many sunscreens include other substances which absorb UV rays and convert that energy to heat. Different ingredients absorb different types of UV. For example Cinnamates absorb UVB while Benzophenones absorb UVA. Depending on the ingredients a sunscreen will be labeled as “multi-spectral” if it screens both UVA and UVB.(( How Does Sunscreen Work? ))

Since UVB is what causes the more immediate burning that has traditionally been what sunscreen makers have focused on. While the effects of UVA are not understood completely, it is highly suspected that UVA causes deep tissue damage which leads to premature aging. In the last decade more and more manufactures have been offering multi-spectrum sunscreens.

What About Chemical Absorption?

According to Dr. Josh Axe, many sunscreens include some not so awesome chemicals which can be absorbed through the skin. He lists the following three products as his choice of healthier sunscreens:

  1. Kiss My Face SPF 30
  2. 100% Pure Hydration Organic Pomegranate
  3. Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin

I highly recommend checking out his article which includes more details on why he chose to recommend these three products over hundreds of others. He also has some recommendations regarding nutrition and its effect on natural skin protection.

Please note that I’m not a doctor. Any recommendations above are based on reviewing other’s research and my personal opinions. I encourage you to do your own research and speak with your health provider before making your own decisions.

Summer Protection from Cutter Insect Repellants

This giveaway is sponsored by Cutter. They provided a bundle of products for us to use and review and are providing one of our readers with a fabulous bundle too!

bite-freeEverything is bigger in Texas. Really. Even the bugs.

And, every year I spend most of the summer covered in itchy welts thanks to blood thirsty mosquitoes and chiggers. But, not this year!

Cutter insect repellants to the rescue!

Thanks to Cutter I got a huge box of insect repellants to try out. There are sprays for the lawn, candles for the patio and picnic table, a backwoods spray for those tick infested woods we like to camp and hike in, an all natural spray for the kids and anywhere we need to spray directly on our skin and even a tiny to-go spray I can toss in my purse for when we go to the park.

Cutter Natural Insect Repellant
I’m most excited about the Natural spray. We’re pretty cautious about what goes into our bodies and this includes the products we may put on our skin and absorb through our bloodstream. I’ve never been a fan of deet, and while I have no problem spraying some heavy duty chemicals on my boots and pant legs before a hike in the woods, I won’t spray that stuff on my little ones’ skin, or my own skin for that matter.

cookoutgoodies

Since Cutter not only supplied us with a generous sampling of their products, but also a stipend to create a fun outdoor experience, I thought we’d all go camping. Thanks to four graduations and two weddings over the past couple of weekends that just didn’t happen. So, we had a great cookout in the backyard! I grabbed everything we needed for chili dogs and s’mores, we built a fire in the fire pit and set out our lawn chairs just like we would have done at the campground. The kids loved it. Oh, who am I kidding? We all enjoyed it! And, we did it bug-free thanks to Cutter. I burnt our Cutter Scented Citronella Vanilla & Lavender candle on the little table and sprayed the kids and I with the Natural Insect Repellant. Even tho the grass was wet from a recent rain and there were bugs everywhere we remained bite-free. For me and the baby that is almost a miracle… we’re both mosquito magnets.

The natural repellants contain no deet and use the following ingredients to repel nasty biting insects:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus: Plant-based protection with natural active ingredient
  • Oil derived from Geraniums

Cutter Insect Repellants for Camping
backwoodsSince I’m still eager to pack everyone up and go camping before the summer gets too hot, I’ve got a little pile of Cutter goods set aside to take with us:

  • Cutter CitroGuard Candles – three-wick candles in metal pails with handles, perfect for on the picnic table or beside the campfire.
  • Cutter Unscented Backwoods – Extra strong, deet based spray we can put on our pant legs and boots before hiking through the woods.
  • Cutter Natural Personal Insect Repellent – Great for the kids and direct spray-on-skin.

Mosquitoes Are More than Just Annoying
Last year’s West Nile outbreaks had everyone a little scared. This year the city is already driving by at night and spraying our lawns to help keep the virus from becoming an issue again. West Nile is often spread by infected mosquitoes biting humans, so taking measures to protect yourself does more than save you from some itchy welts… it could keep you from getting sick.

Cutter Insect Repellent: Useful Tips & Facts
The CDC cites PERSONAL REPELLENT USE as the single most effective way to reduce your risk. And, most people don’t used one.

Useful tips on how to best protect yourself from insects:
• Spray repellent on exposed skin, spreading the product with your hand to improve protection (mosquitoes can detect an unprotected area the size of a dime!).
• Pay special attention to protection during prime mosquito-biting hours (usually dusk to dawn).
• Eliminate standing water around your home/in outdoor areas you are spending time in. It is a huge attractor for mosquitoes! Get rid of containers that aren’t being used, empty water from flower pots, change water in bird baths and maintain clean gutters.
• Make sure window and door screens are in good condition — install or repair where necessary.

armspray

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Win some Cutter Products This Weekend!
In case you hadn’t noticed, this post is sponsored by Cutter. We’re grateful for their support of our site and we’re excited to tell you we’ll be posting again on Friday with a great giveaway where you can win some Cutter products of your own!