Skin Cancer Awareness Month and Choosing the Right Sunscreen

by | May 8, 2018 | Non-Toxic Living

As May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring some awareness and education about this topic.


With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By raising awareness of the dangers of unprotected exposure and encouraging sun-safe habits, we can change behaviors and save lives.

Sunscreens can prevent sunburn, reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, and help prevent early signs of skin aging. But not all sunscreens are created equal!


When selecting a sunscreen (according to the American Academy of Dermatology), make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum: The words “broad spectrum” means that the sunscreen can protect your skin from both types of harmful UV rays — the UVA rays and the UVB rays.
  • SPF 30 or higher: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
  • Water resistant: Dermatologists also recommend that you look for the words “water resistant.” This tells you that the sunscreen will stay on wet or sweaty skin for a while before you need to reapply. Water resistance lasts either 40 or 80 minutes. Not all sunscreens offer water resistance.

SPF = Sun Protection Factor.

SPF is the measurement for defense from UVB rays

  • SPF 15 = bocks 93% of UVB rays
  • SPF 30 = blocks 97% of UVB rays
  • SPF 50 = blocks 98% of UVB rays



UVB are the rays that lead to sunburn. On average, five sunburns at any age doubles one’s risk for melanoma.*

*Skin Cancer Foundation



UVA = Aging sun rays. While UVA is almost undetectable because these rays do not change the color of the skin, they do penetrate deeper into the dermis of the skin, where they cause free-radical damage that leads to skin aging. UVA rays are equally intense no matter the season, AND they penetrate clouds and glass.



One ray that is becoming top of mind as we spend more and more time in front of computers, smart phones and tablets is Blue Light. Blue Light is a trendy topic in the technology realm, but, Blue Light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. The shorter, high energy blue wavelengths that make up Blue Light, collide with the air molecules, causing blue light to scatter. This is in fact what makes the sky look blue.



Its skin-aging effects can potentially be as much of a concern as those caused by UVA & UVB. The latest research suggests it may damage skin proteins and lipids. When these are damaged, signs of age like loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are possible.

Next Question…should we be using a physical or chemical sunscreen?


Physical sunscreens, which are also known as mineral or inorganic sunscreens are formulated with ingredients (eg non-nano zinc oxide), that work by reflecting and bouncing UV rays.


Chemical sunscreens use ingredients including Oxybenzone. New evidence shows that oxybenzone is damaging to coral reefs. A study published [Oct. 20] in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology found that even a tiny amount of oxybenzone, a common ingredient meant to block harmful ultraviolet radiation, can harm or kill corals by damaging the DNA in both mature and larval coral organisms.

Oxybenzone has also been shown to cause skin allergies in people and linked to hormone disruption based on animal studies. Despite these concerns, it is still widely used by sunscreen manufacturers. However, the state of Hawaii has just banned the use of Oxybenzone!


So mineral sunscreens are definitely the way to go!


A nano-particle is the technical name for a speck. These particles are so miniscule that one strand of human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick. Many sunscreens contain nanoparticle-sized sun filters which could have adverse health effects. Studies suggest their microscopic size is small enough to get past skin’s defenses and soak into the bloodstream.



This is a very important question. Studies show that most people don’t use enough sunscreen or reapply frequently enough which is how unwanted burns can occur. You should apply SPF liberally and evenly 15 minutes before sun exposure and at least every two hours. Remember, sun protection is generally only as effective as the application quality and quantity.

A proper amount is 1oz for an adult full-body application. 1oz is about the size of a shot glass.


So what sunscreen is safest to use???

If you are overwhelmed by the choices of sunscreen out there that are safe to use on your how family, look no further than Beautycounter’s mineral sunscreen. It comes in a lotion, mist and stick. Beautycounter uses non-nanoparticle zinc oxide to prevent any potential health risks. They protect you from UVA, UVB and Blue Light and go on white to help guide application (but they rub in clear!). They also smell great (not like normal sunscreen!).


Why is it safer?

Technology: At Beautycounter, they prohibit chemical SPF filters due to their high potential for skin irritation. They prefer to use physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreen.

Formula: They use non-nano zinc oxide and evaluate its particle size to ensure there is no potential risk of respiration when sprayed and does not enter the blood stream to cause harmful effects to the body. They never use Octinoxate or Oxybenzone, ingredients known to contribute to the collapse of coral reefs around the world, making our sunscreens safer for both people and our oceans.

Packaging: They’ve chosen a non-aerosol, bag-on-valve actuator system. While it delivers the convenience and even application of an aerosol, it is actually air-powered. So, no harmful propellant chemicals are sprayed into the atmosphere or onto skin.


They also have a very generous 60 day return policy! Check out the mist in action! I know you guys will LOVE it! xx

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