Natural sunscreen vs synthetic sunscreen – how stay safe in the sun

With the easing of lock down and rising temperatures in the UK we are all spending more and more time outside visiting parks and beaches, basking in the ever elusive British sunshine.

Average temperatures in June should be a high of 20 degrees and a low of around 11 degrees but in recent years, thanks to the climate crisis, temperatures are regularly hitting 25 and even the low 30’s in London.  So it’s no wonder we are all making the most of the short lived rising heat.

*I’d like to quickly point out, I’m not saying the heat is good, or that rising temperatures are good, they are the product of global climate change.  I’m purely offering advice on how to stay safe in the heat*

Sunscreen is a huge part of how to keep our skin safe against the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.  There are two types of UV rays that reach the earth from the sun.  UVB rays cause sunburn and premature skin aging and UVA rays are responsible for causing skin cancers, including the deadly black mole form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

Sunscreen blocks these rays so when you are on the look out for a sunscreen, make sure that it protects against UVA and UVB rays.  Just one or the other isn’t good enough I’m afraid.  You need broad spectrum protection and protecting against both UV rays does just that.

SPF – an SPF rating tells you how long it would take for the UV rays to redden or burn your skin.  It’s a bit finger in the air really but a factor 30 would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you were to wear none at all.  But the key is to use the sunscreen exactly as directed.  Re application after a few hours is imperative.

So, sythetic or natural sunscreen?  Well of course I’m going to say natural.  You know who we are right?? 🙂  that said, any sunscreen is better than none, on yourself and on your children.

A natural sunscreen works as a sun block reflecting the suns harmful rays from the skin.  Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the key ingredients.  Both are non toxic to marine life so also make excellent reef friendly sunscreens.  They are kinder to the skin using non nano particles in most instances so that they sit on the skin not in it.  Natural suncreens are often referred to as mineral sunscreen because zinc and titanium are mined minerals.  They also have some super nourishing skin loving ingredients in them too like coconut oil, jojoba, honey or beeswax, candelilla wax, cocoa butter, olive oil, argan oil – all the amazing natural or organic ingredients that a natural product can have.  Leaving the cream feeling silky soft and soothing the skin as well as protecting it.  They are excellent for sensitive skins, like our little ones skins and skin conditions such as rosecea, eczema and psoriasis.

A sythetic sunscreen uses ingredients that absorb the UV rays, slowly dispersing it across the skin, the ingredients will break down the rays slowly but this causes the skin to heat up so you may feel a bit sweaty when you were a sythetic sunscreen.  Synthetic sunscreens also contain some pretty nasty ingredients that are not only harmful to our skin but are toxic to marine life and are the cause of coral bleaching.  This has led to some countries, such as Hawaii and Mexico banning the use of sunscreens that contain Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.  Synthetic sunscreens can also cause contact dermatitis, heat rash and other reactions as well.

As well as wearing sunscreen other ways that are super important to be doing are;

1.  Avoid being in the mid sun heat from between 11am to 2pm if you can.
2.  Top up your sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours, depending on instructions but most definitely after swimming and towel drying.
3. Wear loose fitting, flowing clothing so as not to overheat.
4. Avoid wearing black.
5. Wear a sun hat.
6. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
7. If you feel that your skin is burning, get into the shade and cool down.  You’d probably had enough sun for the day.
8. Stay hydrated.  Even if you don’t feel thirsty, it’s very easy to overheat and dehydrate without even knowing it.  We all know those headaches right?
9. All of the above applies to your little one’s too. 
10.  When you’re home and out of the sun, make sure you apply an uber nourishing after sun or moisturiser.  A natural product with aloe vera leaf juice as the base would be perfect.

We should enjoy the sun but also be aware that it is also extremely harmful.  We have always had a very relaxed attitude towards suncare in the but with temperatures rising globally and skin cancer rates rising we need to make sun safety a priority, not only in the warmer months, sunscreen, especially on our faces, should become part of our daily skincare routine.

*Please be careful when you’re out and about, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.  It’s not always safe to go to the beach or park if you cannot socially distance.  If in doubt stay home or closer to home at least.  Go somewhere quieter, somewhere with space.  The need to sun yourself can wait.  After seeing pictures of Bournemouth beach and also the aftermath of beach vistors at my local beach in Southend, I’m disappointed that so many people are so relaxed when it comes to keeping their families and others safe.

I hope you’ve found this helpful 🙂

Jayne x

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