Despite the snow on the ground and chill in the air on this New England day, it is starting to become evident that spring is not too far away. As each day passes, daylight increases and the sun’s rays becomes stronger and more direct.
A combination of dry air and sunlight exposure can be harmful to the skin. Because it can be so cold during these months, many people don’t think of protecting their skin from the sun. I advise all of my clients to use a daily sunblock even in the month of February! Sunblock with at least SPF 15 will really make a difference in protecting your skin during the winter and early spring months. (I recommend daily SPF 28 to SPF 30 sun screens during the later spring, summer, and early fall months).
When looking for facial sunblocks, I recommend that my clients make sure to look at the ingredient lists. Active ingredients that have been proven safe and effective according to the Evironmental Working Group include zinc, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, and mexoryl SX (for more information visit the EWG Skin Deep guide). Also of great importance in choosing a sunscreen is ensuring that it provides full spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
My favorite sun screen is MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 – a non-toxic, reef-safe, full spectrum UVA/UVB solar defense. The active ingredients are zinc oxide (11.6%) and titanium dioxide (0.67%). I love this sunscreen for several reasons. First, it fulfills my requirements for a safe and effective sunblock having full spectrum UVA/UVB protection and having no chemical UV absorbers (such as oxybenzone and PABA). Second, it is easy to rub in leaving no white streaks. Third, it is affordable compared to many non-toxic sunscreens. MyChelle also makes a Daily Defense Cream SPF 17 which combines a moisturizing cream and sunblock for daily use.
Another non-toxic sunscreen that I like is Aubrey Organics Natural Sun SPF 15 and SPF 30. It has both UVB and UVA sun protection with the active ingredient being zinc oxide (12%). This only issue that I have with this sunblock is that, unlike the MyChelle Sun Shield, it can be difficult to rub in and it can leave white streaks. Aubrey Organics Natural Sun protection is one of EWG’s top sunscreens of 2012.
A popular moisturizer that has some solar defense is Purpose Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion SPF 15. For those looking for a daily moisturizer with sunblock that is readily available at most pharmacies, I will often recommend this with the disclaimer that it contains octinoxate, a UV absorber that has been connected with some level of toxicity and considered to be a “moderate hazard” by the Environmental Working Group (for more information about octinoxate, click here).