It's August and you know what that means....OVER 100°F WEATHER IN TEXAS! As a native Texan, sunscreen and UV protection is a MUST if you even take a step outside. In fact, the average UV index in August in major Texas cities is a 10 which means "very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take extra precautions because unprotected skin and eyes will be damaged and can burn quickly" (US EPA).
So we know sunscreen is a must but which sunscreen ingredients should you look for...and which ones should you avoid? Have no fear! I have done the research for you!
✅ Zinc oxide and Titanium oxide are probably the most widely known sunscreen ingredients. While these ingredients are generally recognized as safe and effective, safety concerns are raised when used in powder ir spray products because of inhalation
✅ Avobenzone is the "only chemical that absorbs the whole UVA spectrum from 310-400 nm" with little skin irritation (verywellhealth). Note that this must be used in a product that also has UVB absorper ingredients (like OMC and octocrylene) because avobenzone alone breaks down quickly in sunlight (50-90% of this sunscreen is lost
one hour after exposure to sunlight).
✅ Mexoryl SX is a water resistant, stable ingredient that is not irritating to the skin and "blocks UVA1 rays, which are the longwave rays that spur skin aging" (healthline).
~ Other names it can be found as: terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfoic acid (TDSA), ecamsule, and Anthelios SX
❌Oxybenzone is the WORST ingredient you could have in sunscreen. While it reduces UV exposure, it is a "designated endocrine disruptor" (i.e. the system that produces hormones) and has relatively high rates of skin allergy. Because oxybenzone is a UV absorber a tanning or freckling is common in individuals with a lighter skin tone (thedyrt).
~ Environment note: Oxybenzone can trigger outbreaks of viral infection in coral reefs.
❌Octinoxate absorbs UVB radiation but not UVA and is not very stable when exposed to sunlight (it breaks down and loses its effectiveness). In animal studies hormone-like activity occured and there were reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations.
~ Other names it can be found as: Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
❌Retinyl Palmitate is topically ineffective according to Dr. Leslie Baumann, American dermatologist and author. Some research shows that it isn't toxic while another study shows RP causing DNA damage and cytotoxicity in association with UVA.
❌Methylisothiazolinone sensitizes and irritates the skin when put in leave-on formulas and is only recommended in products that you rinse off. It's so bad that some countries are thinking of banning it completely.
👍Recommended Sunscreens (because of ingredients, skin absorbing, and no white cast)
👍 CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 | Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen With Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide
👍 PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+
👍 PURITO Comfy Water Sun Block SPF50+
👍 Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
👍 MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen
👍 First Aid Beauty Weightless Liquid Mineral SPF 30
👍 Krave Beauty The Beet Shield SPF 50 (*K Beauty product!)
👍 Dear, Klairs Soft UV Airy Essence SPF 50
👎 Sunscreens To Avoid (based on EWG rating)
👎 Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60
👎 No-Ad Suncare Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray
👎 CVS Health Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion, SPF 60+
👎 Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
👎 Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
👎 Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Lotion Spray, SPF 50+ (*for my mamas out there!)