By Dr. Adam Vaudreuil
In light of recent reports that the FDA is investigating chemicals used in sunscreens and the link between those chemicals and certain cancers, it’s vital that we emphasize to our patients the importance of using sunscreens that are effective at protecting the skin from harmful UV radiation while remaining free of potentially toxic ingredients that may cause serious health concerns.
Sunscreen is an essential component to our daily skincare routines. Without it, our skin is highly susceptible to various troubling and potentially deadly effects—including the formation of skin cancers, premature aging, and discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation. While the necessity of wearing sunscreen daily cannot be overstressed, many sunscreen options have recently been discovered to pose additional potential threats to our health.
Recently, several common over-the-counter sunscreens have been discovered to contain cancer-linked chemicals such as benzene, benzophenone, and octocrylene. Although the significance of this finding and the impact on our health is still unknown, many of these products have been recalled, but several others remain available for purchase.
A Physical Approach to Sun Safety
Sunscreen formulations have evolved wildly throughout the years, but there are a few key ingredients that continue to prove truly safe and effective for patients: mineral UV filters.
Products such as Vanguard’s Pure Tinted SPF 44 and Clara’s family of UV Luxe Products (including the ever-popular UV Luxe + Hydration SPF 40) employ the addition of mineral-based, physical UV filters such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides. One of the reasons why these chemical-free ingredients remain so highly regarded in the field of dermatology is due to their ability to reflect UV radiation without entering or altering our body’s internal structures.
The Many Benefits of Broad-Spectrum Physical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreen ingredients (such as those mentioned above) work by penetrating the epidermis and absorbing the UV radiation like a sponge. One of the downsides to this method is that the chemicals absorbed into our skin can be irritating, especially to those with sensitive skin, which can exacerbate preexisting skin concerns and lead to redness, irritation, and inflammation.
Mineral sunscreen ingredients, on the other hand, sit on the surface and deflect UV radiation, acting as a sort of outer shield to safeguard our complexion and the inner workings of our skin. Additionally, sunscreens that are classified as broad-spectrum—which includes all sunscreen options available at Shopclara.com—protect our skin from both UVA and UVB rays as well as blue light, which has become a growing concern due to our increasing interaction with smart phones, tablets, and other devices.
Mineral sunscreens are also safer for application on delicate areas of the skin that we often overlook, including the eyelids and surrounding eye area. Additionally, these sunscreens are reef-safe, making them ideal for beach vacations and the environmentally conscious.
Learn More About Sun Safety
As a Colorado Springs native, I am uniquely aware of my community of patients and the increased skin cancer risk we face as Coloradans. Nationally, 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Due to higher elevations, Colorado residents are exposed to higher amounts of UV radiation and have an even higher chance of developing skin cancer. However, by using an effective sunscreen every day and maintaining yearly skin screenings, we can greatly reduce our risks while continuing to enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings.
To learn more about safe sunscreen options or to schedule an annual skin cancer screening, contact Vanguard today.
Dr. Adam Vaudreuil is a board-certified dermatologist at Vanguard Skin Specialists. He is a Colorado native who completed his dermatology training at Loyola University. He specializes in medical dermatology and cares for patients of all ages in the Castle Rock and Parker dermatology offices.
To schedule a dermatology appointment in Castle Rock or Parker, call 720-615-6400.