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How to pick a healthy and safe sunscreen

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The sun is out in Portland and likely to be here for a few months. But, how do we get plenty of sun and stay safe at the same time? One in five people will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their lifetime and many sun lotion products contain chemicals proven by the FDA to “speed up skin lesions and tumors”. Sun exposure is important for vitamin D levels in our body but there is also a risk of too much sun. Fear not, Portland Backsmith did the research to give you the tips and tricks for picking the right kind of sun lotion whether its for a day at the beach, a race day, a game of golf or you’re cheering from the stands at a Timbers game.

I think most of us remember what not to do, so lets start there.  What to avoid when choosing a sun block:

  1. Avoid oxybenzone. Unfortunately it is found in most common and popular brands. This chemical is able to readily pass through skin and has been found to cause allergic reactions, cause cell damage and may cause hormone disruption.

  2. Avoid Vitamin A or Retinyl Palmitate. Once thought to be anti-aging, FDA studies have found Vitamin A may speed development of skin lesions and tumors.

  3. Avoid inadequate UVA/UVB protection. Some lotions don’t offer “broad spectrum” protection from both types of UV rays.

  4. SPF 50+. As it turns out, the higher SPF simply provides a false sense of security of sun protection.

Now, heres what to look for in your sun lotion:

  1. Most important- look for the active ingredients Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. These may sound like dangerous chemicals but they aren’t able to penetrate skin and therefore offer a safer alternative to sun protection than the popular oxybenzone brands.

  2. SPF 15-50

  3. Brands that are unscented or use natural oils for fragrance rather than chemicals.

  4. Water Resistant, will allow 40 minutes of protection when swimming.

  5. “Broad Spectrum”, will protect from all types of UV rays.

There you have it, those are the best and up to date choices for choosing a healthy sunscreen. And as always, if they’re are any questions, feel free to contact us at Portland Backsmith Chiropractic!

Chris Zander