Shining a Light on Sunscreen

Posted May 26 2011, 3:00 am

With summer just around the corner, no doubt we’re all anxious to lose the pasty whiteness on our leg and arms in favor of that healthy, golden glow.  And since we know the dangers of too much sun, it’s time to break out the good, ole sunscreen, right?  But did you know that sunscreen can lose its effectiveness if the bottle has been open for over three years or it’s been exposed to high temperatures?  So if that same tube of Coppertone has been staring back at you from the medicine cabinet shelf for longer than you can remember, toss it and buy new.  Truth be told, if you use your sunscreen in the proper amount with the proper reapplications, you shouldn’t have any leftover sunscreen from one year to the next.

To ensure the best coverage, you should use about 1 ounce of sunscreen (roughly the amount in a shot glass) and apply it to your exposed body parts 20-30 minutes before you hit the Adirondack chair.  For years, conventional wisdom has preached we need to use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.  But did you know that the ubber high SPF sunscreen could actually cause more problems than they solve?  Folks might be lured into a false sense of security with the higher number and end up staying in the sun longer than normal or not reapplying as often.

Another tip is to opt-out of using spray sunscreens.  They fill the immediate area with tiny particles that may not be the best to breathe in.

And you need to check the labels on your fave sunscreen as well.  Look for oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.  Oxybenzone has been associated with allergic reactions and can be a hormone disrupter.  (I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t need any help with disrupting my hormones!)  Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A and is unsafe when exposed to sunlight – not a good ingredient in sunscreen, huh?  Instead, choose products that contain zinc, titanium dioxide, avobensone or Mexoryl SX.

These are just a few tips to consider for enjoying the sun while staying safe.  Do you have any to share?  Would love to hear ‘em!




15 responses to “Shining a Light on Sunscreen”

  1. Hey Lynda-baby!
    I’m very faithful with sunscreen on my face, under my make-up. I’m pretty good with it on my arms and neck. I’m not always so consistent on my legs–if I expose them at all 😛

    What I’d really like to know is if you (or anyone) has suggestions for good self-tanners. I’ve had some that are fairly okay for not turning pure orange–but a lot of them have pretty strong scents. It may just be the nature of the beast, but if there are suggestions I’d love to hear ’em. I’d rather be safe as much as I love sun worshipping!

    • lbailey says:

      I’m not usually one for self-tanning sprays or lotions, but if I were, I’d choose something that was part tanning, part moisturizer like Jergen’s Natural Glow and Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer. The scent might not be so, so strong, given that it’s also marketed as a standard lotion.
      Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by, Roomie!

  2. Jennifer Jakes says:

    Wow! This is very good info. I didn’t know about the ingredients.
    I admit in my younger days I was a sun-worshiper – yes, to the point of burning, yes, tanning beds. *hangs head in shame* But I try to be careful now and slather on the good stuff.
    Thanks so much! Great post:)

    • lbailey says:

      Thanks Jennifer~
      (Looks like you might have tamed my blog gremlins! LOL)
      I, too, was a sun-worshiper in my younger years, though never a fan tanning beds.
      Ah, to be young again – and bullet proof, right?
      Thanks a bunch for popping in!

  3. My hubby told me oxybenzone also could contribute to … argh, it was last summer and I don’t remember … some sort of undesirable behavior in children.

    And what do you mean, summer’s coming up? We’ve been hitting the pool for a month now! Ah, sunny Florida! *grin* I usually use SPF 50, and I admit to using the spray, but only if I have to get my back!

    • lbailey says:

      Don’t make me come to Florida to kick your a**, sister! We’re barely crawling out of the 60’s here in Reno. Talk about urgh!
      Let’s face facts, anything that has the letters x, y, and z in its name (as in oxybenzone) is probably best avoided if possible. Something Lizzie said about the nature of the beast…
      We just need to remain diligent label readers.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Suzanne says:

    I learn something new every time I read your blog. Will pass the info to my sun worshipper friends in Florida.
    Greasy sunblock hugs to all,

  5. Great tips, Lynda!

    I live in a country that has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, so the message of slip, slop, slap before going outside is ingrained in us from a young age. (That is, slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.) We’re told to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm — when the sun’s at its strongest, and to apply sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy.

    Have a lovely summer! I’m already shivering in the cold here. 🙂

    • lbailey says:

      Great to *see* ya!
      “Slip, slop, slap” is great advice no matter where you live. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. Robin Weaver says:

    Hi Linda,

    Have you thought about compiling all your blog tips and writing a self-help book? It would be great!

    Now, if only they’d make a sunblock that didn’t sting my eyes!

    • lbailey says:

      I hadn’t thought about writing a self-help book. It’s something to consider if my romance stories tank… 🙂
      I understand all too well how sunscreen can sting your eyes, but it’s a small price to pay to protect your delicate facial skin, don’tcha think?
      Thanks a bunch for popping in!

  7. nan dixon says:

    Great reminders. And here I’ve been throwing my sunscreen after a year! Guess I can get a little more protection out of the bottle.

  8. Ramona says:

    That Jergens Natural Glow is good stuff! Thanks for the reminder.
    –Ramona, glowing ’cause BORDER HEAT will be out in 10 days!! Wheeeee!

Leave a Reply to Abigail Sharpe Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site contains content that might be considered offensive and/or inappropriate to some. If you are under 18, or are easily offended, please click the "exit" button.