Physical sunscreens are safer and are more effective than chemical sunscreens. Be aware of what type you are using!
Chemical sunscreens: oxybenzone and octinoxate are looking like they are harming sea coral and alter the sex hormones of ocean wildlife. Hawaii is banning them in 2021. The FDA finds them safe for people. But we know that the chemical sunscreens denature sunlight to not damage our skin. Preferable is a physical sunscreen to block it without putting chemicals in our body. Remember that the skin is our largest organ and what we put on it can travel into our bodies.
People have always found the chemical sunscreens thinner and easier to apply and less expensive. Their names are avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, oxybenzone. Note: they are not to be applied to infants < 6 months of age.
Physical sunscreens contain minerals like zinc or titanium. They are not linked to environmental or hormonal problems. Some good brands that can be used for body coverage are Neutrogena Sheer Zinc, Coppertone Sport Lotion. I've found an inexpensive zinc sunscreen by Meijer. Our office sells a cosmetic grade physical sunscreen that is good for facial use.
Choose broad spectrum sunscreen so that uva and uvb are covered. Uva causes aging and cancer and uvb causes sunburn. Use anything over spf 30 as it blocks 97% of rays. A common mistake is not reapplying after two hours.
Some companies sell oral sunscreens. Don't rely on them for sole protection. Wear a topical sunscreen too.
And enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer!
- Dr. Howlin