What You Need to Know
Chemical sunscreens and Physical Sunscreens – Both types of sunscreens work well to block UV rays, but dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen with chemical and physical active ingredients. Full-spectrum combination products work best as they cover the entire gamut of UVA and UVB and give protection for many hours. However, you must take care to ensure that the sunscreen of your choice does not leave behind a white cast or an oily residue.
Chemical sunscreens are colourless, odourless and thin, but they also give rise to skin irritation and take 20 minutes to take effect.
Physical sunscreens get to work immediately but leave a white cast on your skin surface. They are also thicker when compared with their chemical counterparts and need to be rubbed in vigorously so that the white cast disappears. They are not waterproof and do not provide protection when the user is in water.
Whether you are leaving home for a swimming session or for a shopping spree, the last thing you do is to slather on some sunscreen. Hang on; are you aware of some common myths surrounding sunscreens? No? Here we debunk them for you so that you make the right choice of sunscreen to protect your skin:
Myth #1: Using sunscreen regularly causes Vitamin deficiency:
According to a study in 2017, using sunscreen in the short-term does not affect the Vitamin D levels nor does it cause osteoporosis. A proficient dermatologist claimed that the amount of Vitamin D in subjects’ bloodstream is not different from those who had high or low rates of sunscreen usage.
Another research proved that about a billion people worldwide have inadequate exposure to the daily sun. If, when they go out, they wear sunscreen, they further negate the chances of the body producing Vitamin D from cholesterol. This leads to muscle weakness and bone fractures.
Myth #2: Chemical sunscreens have active cancerous ingredients:
Dermatologists find that this myth was created because of a study that used an active ingredient found in the majority of sunscreens – retinyl palmitate. It was according to this study, retinyl palmitate, when given in low dose prevented cancer in mice. However, a high dosage resulted in mice tumours. Hence, no blanket statements about chemical sunscreens having cancerous active ingredients can be made, particularly since there is not sufficient evidence to prove it. What people should worry about is UV radiation, which is cancerous.
Myth #3: Oxybenzone leads to hormone disruption:
Oxybenzone is an organic compound found in sunscreens and cosmetics. It is an active ingredient in these products because it can safely absorb UVA and UVB rays. A study to prove its effect on humans proved that it did not disrupt hormonal activity that leads to cell damage and skin cancer, but it certainly resulted in endocrinal dysfunction among rats.
Myth #4: Sunscreen damages coral reefs:
The study done to prove this is again inconclusive. According to researchers, there are other factors, which actually damage the reefs and the environment. However, environment-conscious swimmers may choose to use sunscreens that contain titanium oxide and zinc oxide which are safe for reefs.
To sum up
These four myths disprove the damaging effects of sunscreen on humans. Therefore, the bottom line is that both chemical and mineral sunscreens are safe to use. If you are concerned about your safety while using sunscreens, the thumb rule is to apply enough. In any case, the FDA tests all cosmetic products for safety.