Not Just Protection for the Skin

If there’s one thing we are passionate beside plastic surgery and providing our patients the highest-quality care, it’s reminding people about the importance of wearing sunscreen. Our reminder comes at the right time, too. It’s summer, and Consumer Reports recently published its annual ratings for sunscreen products. According to the magazine, the top sunscreens are chemical-based versus products that are mineral-based. But before you buy a chemical-based sunscreen product, read this.

Why Sunscreen Is Important

Sunscreen is critical because it protects your skin from the dangerous and damaging rays of the sun. It can help lower your risk of developing skin cancer and reduce the chance of developing the signs of aging, too, such as fine lines, wrinkles and creases.

What Is the Difference Between Chemical-Based and Mineral-Based?

Chemical-based sunscreens contain active chemical ingredients, including oxybenzone, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate and octocrylene. These chemicals are absorbed into the skin and work by changing the radiation of the sun’s ultraviolet rays into heat, which is ultimately released from the skin.

Sounds great, right? Well, there’s a catch. The catch is that they are made of chemicals! Particularly, chemicals that have been found to negatively affect users’ health.

Chemical-based sunscreens have been linked to a long list of issues, including:

Endocrine Disruption. Some tests have found that the chemicals, particularly oxybenzone, used in these sunscreens can interrupt the body’s endocrine system, including estrogen production and thyroid function. Oxybenzone can also reduce sperm count in men and cause gynecomastia (the development of unwanted breast tissue) in boys.

Products containing oxybenzone also should not be used on pregnant/breastfeeding women.

Environmental Concerns. Did you know that Hawaii has banned sunscreen products that contain the ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate because these chemicals are harmful to ocean life and can destroy coral reefs? Several other cities across the country and around the world have followed suit.

Some of the effects of these products include bleaching of coral reefs, DNA damage to animals and the development of deformities or mutation in sea life.

Some of the products found in chemically based sunscreens have been linked to an increase in the development of cancerous cells.

More About Mineral-Based Products

Unlike chemical-based sunscreens, mineral sunscreens, like those that contain zinc oxide, contain mineral particles that are too big to enter the skin. As they are too big to be absorbed into the skin, they serve as a physical barrier to protect you from the sun’s damaging rays.

One mineral-based sunscreen product we recommend (and sell) is Colorscience ®. Colorscience ® is a broad-spectrum, chemical-free sunscreen free from oxybenzone that provides protection with peace of mind. Learn more by visiting our page here.

If you’re seeing the signs of sun damage now, it’s not too late! Wear sunscreen (year-round – this is Kansas, where the sun can be intense all year!) and call us at 785-234-9000 for information about skin-rejuvenating procedures from Dr. Peterson.