This summer, MyChelle is again partnering with the EWG for its annual Sun Safety Campaign that provides best practices against excessive sun exposure and resources for picking sunscreens. MyChelle wants everyone to understand the risks of excessive sun exposure and have access to the best safe, natural sun protection products available, so we’ve created a cheat sheet of some of the most common—and complex—terms and definitions associated with the sun and sunscreen to consider when planning outdoor activities and shopping for safe sun products. We also recommend checking out the 2016 EWG Sunscreen Guide that includes sun safety tips and reviews of 750+ beach and sport sunscreens.
As part of its 2016 findings, the EWG reports almost 75% of sunscreens tested offer inferior protection and/or contain potentially toxic ingredients. Not MyChelle, though! For the third year, the EWG designated MyChelle Sun Shield Unscented SPF 28 and Sun Shield Coconut SPF 28 as a Best Beauty & Sport Sunscreen and Replenishing Solar Defense SPF 30 a Best Moisturizer with SPF.
If you want to try them for yourself, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page with your best sun defense tips and strategies. We will select multiple commenters to receive one—or all—of our highly rated sun care products. If you can’t wait that long, go here to purchase.
The MyChelle A-B-Cs of Sun Safety
Sunscreen products that contain ingredients to protect against both UVB and UVA rays.
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons that form when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction. Their primary danger is the damage that occurs when they react with important cellular components such as DNA. Cells may function poorly or die if this reaction occurs.
Incidental sun exposure
Incidental sun exposure is received unintentionally during everyday activities. Incidental time spent in the sun is projected to account for 80 percent of a person’s lifetime exposure. For this reason, dermatologists emphasize the need to protect the skin daily with clothing, hats, sunglasses, and/or a broad spectrum sunscreen.
The most dangerous of all skin cancers, melanoma is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing tanning cells (melanocytes). With early detection, melanoma can often be treated successfully, but at later stages, melanoma can spread to other organs, resulting in death.
This is the unit used to measure the wavelengths of solar radiation, including the shortest wavelengths—ultraviolet rays—that are responsible for sunburn, photoaging, and certain kinds of cancer.
The EU defines non-nano particles as “the primary particle size is greater than 100nm”. These particles are too large to enter the bloodstream. Mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are widely considered to be safer and more effective than chemical versions that use ingredients such Oxybenzone, which can enter the bloodstream and is a known hormone disruptor.
A common chemical UV filter linked to hormone disruption and cellular damage.
A gas composed of three atoms of oxygen (O3) that partially filters out certain wavelengths of UV radiation from reaching the earth.
This is the scattered layer of ozone molecules found in the stratosphere located six to 25 miles above the earth’s surface. The ozone layer partially filters certain wavelengths of UV radiation from the sun, preventing these rays from reaching earth.
Photoaging is a process that starts in youth, though the more obvious skin changes, such as wrinkles, freckles, rough texture, and loss of elasticity, may not become evident for decades. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 15 or above) regularly can help protect the skin against further damage.
Burns from the sun are induced primarily by UVB radiation. The injury they cause is characterized by delayed redness and swelling followed by tanning and peeling. Sometimes the skin darkens without first reddening, but that does not mean that damage has not occurred. Chronic sun damage and sunburns especially in the first 18 years of life can result in dry, wrinkled skin and possibly skin cancer in later life.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
This factor is a measure of how much ultraviolet (or UV) radiation it takes to burn your skin when it’s unprotected compared to how much it takes to burn it when it’s slathered in sunscreen. The higher the SPF value of your sunscreen, the more protection it offers from sunburn.
All sun protection products labeled with an SPF of 2 or higher are considered sunscreens. Sunscreen agents absorb, reflect, or scatter UV light. Most lotions and oils work by forming a surface layer of sun screening ingredients that absorb UV rays before they penetrate the skin.
Sweatproof indicates the product maintains its degree of sunburn protection after 40 minutes or 80 minutes of water exposure.
Titanium Dioxide is a safe, inorganic compound used in a range of body care products, including sunscreens, for its ability to absorb ultra violet light with low skin penetration.
Ultraviolet Radiation: UVA and UVB
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the sun’s spectrum—wavelengths shorter than visible light. UVB rays are more intense in summer months, at higher altitudes, and areas closer to the equator. They are the primary cause of sunburning, premature aging, and skin cancer development. UVA rays are more constant year-round and penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers and also contribute to burning, premature aging, and the development of certain skin cancers.
Waterproof , Water-resistant
Per the FDA, sunscreen manufacturers cannot make claims that products are waterproof.
Indicates the time (40 minutes or 80 minutes) a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating..
Mineral sunscreen ingredient that reflects, absorbs, and scatters UV rays. It forms a protective barrier to UV penetration of the skin and provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.