Which Is Safer: Zinc Sunscreen or a Tanning Bed? Find It Again Friday

Angela Christiansen|June 6, 2014

Zinc Sunscreens for summer

 

Are you confused about all of the (often-conflicting) information on the best method to protect your skin from the sun?

Wondering if you should be using zinc sunscreen or a sunblock spray?

Do you think tanning beds are the safest way to get a tan?

Then you need to check out this week's Find It Again Friday post. Dr. Bailey is often asked about the best sunscreen for your skin and the safest ways to tan. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know she has very strong opinions on this topic. Bust the sunscreen myths and learn the truth about sun protection and indoor tanning in this post. The following information was inspired by questions that Dr. Bailey was asked for an article about sunscreens for Activetimes.com and the answers she gave.

Don't Make Common Sun Protection Mistakes

When asked about the common mistakes people make when it comes to avoiding sunburns and best protecting your skin, Dr. Bailey will usually start with these four.

  1. Making sunscreens your only sun protection. Too often people rely on poor-quality and expired sunblock for skin protection. Be sure to not only use fresh, broad-spectrum zinc sunscreen, but to also stay in the shade when possible and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and a sun hat. And remember to buy new zinc sunscreen every year.
  2. Using the wrong hat. Too often people use baseball caps and other front-billed hats and visors for sun protection. You need to wear wide-brimmed hats that provide protection for the sides of your face, ears, neck, and scalp.
  3. Thinking there are "safe" sun times. You need to protect your skin from the sun's rays all day. Morning sun and late-afternoon sun are just as harmful as midday sun. Also, you can still damage your skin on cloudy days and sitting in the shade.
  4. Under-using sunscreen. Whether it is not using enough sunscreen to start or no reapplying sunscreen, people too often do not properly protect their skin. You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours when you're in the sun or after you sweat or swim.

Avoid Harmful Sunscreens

When asked which type of sunblock you should use, Dr. Bailey will tell you to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide. You may not be a fan of zinc sunscreen, so if you choose other sunscreens, there are certain ones you should avoid. You should avoid sunscreens that contain:

  • Avobenzone: These products are NOT stable. They break down once formulated and they breakdown when they neutralize UV rays on your skin. When these products were still new and before Dr. Bailey realized that they were harmful, she had some in her home. Her husband grabbed the sunscreen from their kitchen mish/mash drawer, applied it and mowed their country acreage for an entire spring Saturday. His exposed skin would sunburn and he was stymied.
  • Oxybenzone: This chemical is common in many sunblocks, so be sure to check the labels. When the chemical is absorbed through your skin, it has been demonstrated as a hormone disruptor.

Citrix zinc sunscreen - best all over sunscreen"The Citrix Sunscreen is a dream come true!"

"I know how important it is to wear sunscreen, but I’ve always had trouble finding one that I liked.  They’d either burn my eyes or my make-up wouldn’t go on well over them.  The Citrix Sunscreen is a dream come true!  I can apply it all around my eyes and it never burns, it never seats off and my foundation goes on over it fabulously."

Get the Truth about Sunscreen Myths

Dr. Bailey knows there are common myths and misunderstandings about sunscreen and sun protection. Check out the truth behind these common ones. sun protection hats

Sunscreen blocks all harmful sun rays: False

Sunblock alone won't fully protect you. Even zinc sunscreens leave you exposed to the very end of the UV-A1 rays. Be sure to wear a full-brimmed hat and sun-protective clothing when possible to be better protected.

Sunscreen in the morning protects you all day: False

When there is intense sun expose, you need to reapply your zinc oxide sunscreen every two hours and after it is diluted by sweat or other water exposure. For makeup wearers, you can also increase your protection level with mineral makeup.

Spray sunscreens are good protection: False

Spray sunscreens do not apply enough product on your skin and the protecting ingredients are dispersed in droplets that are spotted on the skin and don’t entirely cover every cell. Also, the ingredients are not good for anyone’s lungs. Parents beware: although these are tempting to use on squirming children who are wriggling out of reach to go play, these sunscreens can cause more harm than good. The same goes for powder sunscreens.

Tanning beds are safe if you use sunscreen: False

Tanning beds are tragic, with or without sunscreen. Tanning beds emit mostly UV-A1 which causes skin cancer and is the most aging UV ray for the skin. Sunscreens don’t block this ray well; if they did, you would get NO tan from a tanning bed. Remember, it’s impossible to have a tan without cancer-causing damage to your DNA and without causing future wrinkles. For a healthy tan eat carrots and use self-tanner, it's what Dr. Bailey does!

Protect Yourself and Your Skin

Remember, protecting your skin is important, but it doesn't have to be hard. Remember these simple tips:

If you have found these zinc sunscreen & sun protection myth busters helpful, please show your thanks by commenting on, sharing, “liking,” Google+, tweeting, and “pinning,” using the social sharing buttons above and below this blog post with friends and family. Sincerely, Dr. Bailey Skin Care Team

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