Welcome back to our Sundots 101 Series!
Sunscreen has long been our first line of defense against sun protection. Most of us wouldn’t dream of a day at the beach or a morning on the golf course without a healthy squirt of sunscreen. And that’s great!
But the truth is, though sunscreen is an important measure, a robust sun protection routine has to include more than sunscreen alone. If you’re tempted to think “isn’t sunscreen enough?” this article is for you.
For Part 2 of our Sundots 101 series, we’ll address 4 key reasons why we need more sun protection.
Reason 1: Sunscreen is not user-friendly
Sunscreen simply isn’t easy to use.
Maybe this scenario sounds familiar: You spend 5-7 minutes slathering on sunscreen, making sure that every square inch of your (or your squirmy little one’s!) skin is protected. Yet somehow, at the end of a sunny pool day, you still end up burned.
So what gives?
In order to work effectively, sunscreen must be applied the right way. First, that means using a thick layer. Many of us want to “rub it in,” but sunscreens must be applied thickly to work well. Most people tend to use only ¼ to ½ of the amount of sunscreen required to achieve the SPF listed on the bottle, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Second, we have to remember to reapply. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours, and every hour when swimming or doing outdoor activities that make you sweat. That’s a tall order! If we’re honest with ourselves, are we really that diligent?
Finally, it’s just plain hard to cover all the spots we should. Are you working sunscreen into your scalp, on your eyelids, or at the back of your ankles?
Research shows we’re pretty bad at hitting all these recommended practices. That’s why a sun protection routine that combines sunscreen with UPF-rated clothing and Sundots gummies daily is so important.
For more, read our article Sundots Myth Busters: The Real Deal on All Things Sunscreen.
Reason 2: Sunscreen is weak against the skin-aging parts of light
When we talk about the parts of light that are damaging to our skin, we’re talking about UV light (for an in-depth look at light, read What Parts of Sunlight Hurt Us?). Sunscreen provides protection from UVB light, but offers weaker protection from UVA light—the parts of light primarily responsible for skin aging.
There are two general types of UV light that make it to the Earth’s surface: UVB light, (290-320nm) with more energy, and UVA light (320-400nm), which contains less energy than UVB.
UVB, which has a shorter wavelength, can only penetrate the superficial part of our skin, but its high energy means it does a lot of damage. UVB plays a key role in developing skin cancer and also contributes to skin aging. For more on this topic, check out this article from SkinCancer.org.
In contrast, longer-wavelength UVA can penetrate into deeper layers of our skin, but has less energy than UVB. VA damage is what results in most of premature skin aging and uneven skin tone. UVA damage leads to wrinkles, sunspots, and leathery skin—what we call photoaging. UVA light also causes tanning. Finally, plays a lesser role than UVB in the development of cancer, but is still a contributing factor.
In one 2010 study, people who had one side of their face exposed to sunlight through a window for a prolonged period of time had more wrinkles, rougher skin and more uneven skin tone on that side of their face compared to the unexposed side.
Wonder what a lack of UVA protection looks like? Check out this stunning photo of a truck driver of 28-years.
Many sunscreens in the US do not robustly block UVA radiation, making them an ineffective measure against the parts of light that visibly age our skin. For more on this topic, check out this article from SkinCancer.org.
When combined with sunscreen, daily Sundots are a great way to make sure our skin is protected from both types of UV light—and from visible signs of aging, too!
Reason 3: Some sunscreens just don’t work
Are you sure the sunscreen you’re using even works? Many of us select the highest Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rated sunscreen we can, assuming it will provide the most protection.
But a 2017 Consumer Reports study found “one-third of tested sunscreens delivered less than half of labeled SPF protection.” Even worse, these results have stayed consistent across multiple years of testing, including CR’s 2018 tests.
That’s a pretty astounding lapse!
Sunscreen should always be used to protect our skin against sun damage, so this isn’t a reason to stop using sunscreen. Rather, it’s how we know we need more and better solutions. Sunscreen alone is not enough.
Reason 4: Many sunscreens contain potentially toxic chemicals
There is concern that chemical sunscreen ingredients can permeate the skin and cause hormone disruption and allergic reactions.
Because of this, the Environmental Working Group and many dermatologists recommend using mineral sunscreens instead of chemical sunscreens. Common chemical sunscreen ingredients to avoid include oxybenzone (one of the worst offenders), avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.
What’s more, oxybenzone and octinoxate are damaging to the health of coral reefs. Hawaii recently banned sunscreens containing these ingredients, which researchers believe damage coral DNA. Popular outdoor outfitter REI announced in April it would cease carrying sunscreens with oxybenzone starting in 2020. For more background on the ban, check out this article from the journal Nature.
Any sunscreen is better than none when it comes to protecting our skin from sun damage. Given the harmful side effects associated with oxybenzone, we prefer using a mineral-based sunscreen to safely protect ourselves.
For our favorite non-toxic sunscreens, read The Best Organic Sunscreens of 2018 (Non-Toxic & Natural).
The Sundots Approach
Sunscreen is an important part of your sun protection routine, and it shouldn’t be skipped. But sunscreen alone isn’t enough. It’s not user-friendly, it doesn’t protect well against UVA light, in many cases it doesn’t provide the advertised protection, and it may contain toxic chemicals.
Sundots address all four of these issues: they’re fun to take, protect against UVA and UVB light, are based on a research-backed ingredient with over 30 years of historical use, and are rigorously tested for quality.
By choosing the right sunscreen, wearing UPF-rated clothing and hats, and taking Sundots regularly, we can truly enjoy our time in the sun while knowing our sun protection bases are covered!
In the next post in our 101 series, we’ll address another common question: are Sundots safe? We think you’ll like our answer, so stay tuned!
Have questions about how to get the most out of your sun protection regimen? Just leave us a comment below!