Many of us know the importance of slathering on sunscreen during the hot summer months. But as it gets colder during the winter and the hours of daylight get shorter, we store our sunscreen away.
Unfortunately, sunscreen needs to be worn all year round. Even when no sun is shining, its rays are still penetrating through the clouds.
Our bodies respond differently to the 3 types of UV radiation. The most harmful, UVC, is thankfully, completely absorbed by the ozone layer in the atmosphere.
UVB rays have a shorter wavelength, which means that they only reach the epidermis (outer layer) of your skin. These rays count for only 1% of rays that reach Earth but are a common cause of sunburns, redness, and many cases of cancer. Since UVB rays are stronger, many of us ignore the fact that UVA rays affect our skin.
However, that is not the case. Though UVA rays are less noticeable, they have the longest wavelength and count for 99% of rays on Earth, so they penetrate deeper into the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles, sunspots, along with some cases of skin cancer.
Sunscreen: the good and the bad
There are two main types of sunscreen in the skincare market: a mineral barrier and a chemical one.
Mineral sunscreens mainly include ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which provide a healthy barrier against UV rays.
Next time you are shopping, look out for ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A, commonly found in chemical sunscreens. Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen, which can interfere with hormone processes in the body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 96% of the population had some amount of oxybenzone in their body.
Make sure you protect the body’s largest organ!