Safe Sunscreen Tips: How To (Properly) Have Fun in the Sun!

By: Bre Harrigan

We’ve finally made it! As finals week approaches and the end of the school year stress piles up, we can only count on one thing. Warm weather! It’s scientifically proven that warm weather improves your mood overall and creates an undeniable sense of joy everywhere. That being said, so many people are constantly forgetting the most important part of summer, sunscreen! And even people that actively wear sunscreen don’t always know exactly what they’re putting on their bodies. Here are some key ingredients and important tips to help you find the right sunscreen for you!

Reading the Label

When searching for your ideal sunscreen, never be fooled by the promised SPF. As soon as you come across a sunscreen that has a + after SPF 50, you’re immediately fooled into thinking you can spend all day in the sun with no consequences! Even if you don’t end up getting as burnt as you usually would, there is still invisible sun damage that can affect your skin in the future (ever seen sun spots? Not fun). Reapply reapply reapply!

Scary Sunscreen Ingredients

Much like so many other sun lovers, I’m usually quick to skim the label and immediately buy. However, after doing more research, I discovered that there are many scary ingredients in sunscreen that you need to stay away from however possible.

  1. Oxybenzone: this is a synthetic estrogen that can seep into your skin and disrupt your hormone system.
  2. Octinoxate: This chemical can affect hormones in animals and people. It can also be the cause for premature aging, yikes!
  3. Homosalate: This ingredient allows the SPF to truly penetrate your skin, but once absorbed it collects in our body faster than we can get rid of it, leaving toxins in our system.
  4. Paraben Preservatives: this ingredient can induce allergic reactions, developmental issues and overall toxicity. It is believed that parabens like this could be one of the causes of breast cancer!

Check the Expiration Date

Usually, unless it is a food product, people assume that most things just don’t expire. However, many non edible things do, like sunscreen! Most sunscreens have an average shelf life of less than three years, so remember to replace your sunscreen whenever possible!

Water Resistant

For people that are generally active during the summertime, it is always best to use a sweat and water resistant sunscreen. These specific SPFs usually only work for about 40 minutes in the sun, so it is even more important to reapply.And, even if the label says so, there is no sunscreen that is 100% waterproof.