Enter new FDA standards & information around sunscreens. What is in this stuff, is it tested & how does it all really work? Here's my summary:
- We need protection from the UVB & UVA rays. UVB are what give you sunburns. UVA penetrate deeper & give you premature aging, sunspots & skin cancers.
- SPF numbers apply to UVB protection only.
- There is a difference between sunscreen & sunblock. See next 2 bullets.
- Sunscreens soak into your skin & absorb the rays. These contain more chemicals, but are generally lighter. There seems to be some question about the safety of these chemicals & not a lot of testing. Some say they remain on the surface & don't penetrate the bloodstream. Others aren't so sure.
- Sunblocks contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They sit on the skin's surface instead of being absorbed so they are considered a more natural option.
- You can find lists of recommended sunscreens & those to avoid. It seems to me the environmental groups recommend ones that avoid chemicals harmful to the environment regardless of how well they actually protect & dermatologist groups recommend ones that protect your skin, regardless of what else they are doing. There's not a lot of research and it seems everyone has an agenda.
If you want to read up on some of these things on your own, I found these websites thorough yet comprehensive: