Natural Skin Care Products or Lotions?

natural skin care producstsFor most of us, the yearly ritual of sunscreen research is all too familiar. When most of us were younger and carefree, we spent hours in the sun with little or no thought to natural skin care products. Skin cancer was a rare condition and moles were considered beauty marks. Does anyone remember suntan oil? Many of us can attribute some of our worst sunburns and pain to a body care regime that used tanning products meant to bronze the skin. Now that we’re older, we know more and we are more careful; but are the products that we use really as effective as we think?

Natural Skin Care Products

On one side of the natural skin care products argument, you will find that most dermatologists’ skin care advice includes sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher as it is thought that they provide enough of a shield against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that they should help prevent most skin cancers. In addition, studies have provided solid evidence that they reduce the incidence of precancerous skin lesions, and possibly common skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Most experts also believe they have found evidence of a protective relationship between sunscreen use and melanoma – the worst and most harmful form of skin cancer.

On the other side of the natural skin care products argument, you will find those that feel that the use of sunscreen in their skin care regime can actually increase your risk of cancer because certain ingredients may produce a carcinogenic reaction to the sun; that they don’t provide measurable protection against the more harmful (UVA) rays. They also feel that most sunscreens focus on eliminating sunburn by blocking UVB rays, which actually encourages lighter-skinned melanoma-prone people to stay in the sun longer, potentially increasing DNA damage. While this theory seems plausible, it is important to point out that studies supporting this theory are skewed as many of the test subjects, lighter skinned individuals, are both more likely to be avid sunscreen users as well as predisposed genetically to develop the disease in the first place.

It is this logic string that brings us to the likelihood that, while sunscreens most likely do not actually cause cancer, the choice of sunscreen may have an effect. If you are concerned about the natural skin care products you use, you can find skin care advice on the subject from the Sunscreen Guide by Environment Working Group (EWG) , which has reviewed available sunscreens and evaluated them taking into consideration leading concerns like vitamin A. At the top of their review of beach and sports sunscreens sold in the U.S. we find:

All Terrain

Auquasport Performance Sunscreen
TerraSport Performance Sunscreen
KidSport Performance Sunscreen

Badger

Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30
Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 30 Lightly Scented
Sunscreen for Face and Body, SPF 15 Lightly Scented

Beyond Coastal

Lip and Face Screen, SPF 30

Regardless of where you fall on the skin cancer debate over sunscreen and its effect on skin cancer, it is important o follow certain rules of thumb where natural skin care products are concerned to decrease your overall risk. Most medical professionals feel that your risk of melanoma is related to the number and intensity of sunburns experienced throughout your lifetime. Since sunscreens reduce the risk of sunburn, it is still a good body care rule of thumb to use sunscreen daily, minimize your exposure to the sun and wear hats, glasses, and other protective clothing when you can.

Good skin care advice when choosing a sunscreen – remember that the number of your selection indicates how well the product can absorb the UVB rays of the sun. However, please note that the higher SPF numbers have only a marginal difference in the length one should be in the sun. Make sure to choose a broad spectrum product that protects from both UVA and UVB rays; and most importantly during periods of extended sun exposure, reapply sunscreen very two hours.

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