Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

So, I was one of those melanin blessed folks that just assumed that they didn't have to use any sort of sunblock to help ward off the damaging effects of the sun. It just seemed that I never got burned. In fact I think I was in my early 30s the first time I got sunburned and I had no idea why my skin was behaving like the skin on a peeled orange left out for too long. Peeling, flaky and dry.

Yes, I would get a few shades darker but I thought that was cute, fine AND dandy. Yes folks, those ultraviolet rays aren't doing you any good. Little did I know that I was making my eczema patches darker and aging my skin much faster than I would have wanted to. Darkening of the skin really means damaging of the skin.

The problem was that my skin is so sensitive that I rarely wanted to put anything besides the prescribed creams on it for fear of irritation. Looking on the back of a bottle of suntan lotion you will see a bunch of chemicals listed and not know what will irritate you.

Here's something you may need to know before buying your next bottle of sunscreen:

Sunscreens that block UVB rays are composed of some or all of the following chemicals: padimate O, homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, octyl salicylate, phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid, and octocrylene. Broad-spectrum sunscreens add oxybenzone or avobenzone (Parsol 1789) to block UVA rays. Mexoryl is a chemical that blocks UVA; its broad-spectrum characteristics allow sunscreens to be made with very high SPF factors. Physical sunscreens/blocks or chemical-free sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, which reflect UVA and UVB and are especially useful for people allergic to chemical sunscreens.

So, when shopping you may want to avoid formulas that include butylene glycol, ctyl alcohol, dyes, avobenzone and oxybenzone. These are known irritants and can be discouraging when using during a flare up.

Also, one tip about shea butter and it's much bragged about sun protecting qualities. As much as I love shea butter please be aware that it only has a SPF of only 6 which is not enough for prolonged periods out in the sun. I use it often in my natural hair and on my skin as a night cream but always grab the SPF 30 or higher when going outdoors.

My favorite happens to be Alba Botanica's SUN in SPF 30. It does not irritate my skin at all.

Do you have a favorite sun protecting lotion? Let me know about it.