A Successful Sun Block Product Requires These 2 Ingredients

Don’t be fooled by our recent cloudy, overcast skies and cool temperatures (a.k.a. June Gloom). Summer pushed itself off the starting block this week, which means it’s time to remind all of Laguna Beach’s sun worshippers about the importance of properly protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Practically everybody knows that the sun causes DNA damage to the skin, and the best protection is with physical barriers such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These mineral sunscreen ingredients are best for reflecting UVA and UVB rays. Neither is absorbed into the skin — unlike chemical ingredients — and as a result, neither zinc oxide nor titanium dioxide prompt an allergic skin reaction.

One drawback for using these barrier sunscreens is that it gives the sunscreen wearer a pasty white appearance. To avoid this predicament, seek out products containing micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in order to provide the ultimate in UV protection, without the accompanying zombie look.

Recent improvements in micronized oxides have resulted a micronized zinc or titanium oxide that retains 100 percent of its effectiveness, while making it possible to spread it on the skin clear instead of chalky white.

Here are some other sun damage prevention tips:

  • Seek the shade — especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Don’t allow your skin to burn — not even a little bit.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.
  • Apply an ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.
  • Make sure to reapply every two hours.
  • Whenever possible, cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

I recommend barrier sunscreens such as Banana Boat — which contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide — and is available in most stores, as well as Honest SPF 30 sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and can be found at Costco.

As for micronized zinc oxide for the face, my Laguna Beach functional medicine practice, we produce our own formulation of a sheer physical sunscreen SPF 50-plus that is gentle on sensitive and acne-prone skin. The formula provides lasting protection against UVA and UVB rays, and is water resistant (40 minutes).

This sunscreen blocks most UVA and UVB radiation from reaching the skin, minimizing the effect of UV damage, and providing up to 50 times the skin’s natural protection from sunburn. It also contains antioxidants protective coverage from green tea polyphenols, resveratrol, vitamin C, emblica, and Co-Q10.

This formulation of micronized zinc oxide comes in a 4-ounce, 360-degree omnidirectional spray bottle that will spray upside down, available for $38.

I also use IS Clinical Eclipse SPF 50 tinted formulation, which contains transparent titanium dioxide and micronized zinc oxide and Vitamin E. Vitamin E moisturizes and contains a potent lipophilic antioxidant, which inhibits DNA damage, thymine dimer formation, inflammation, oxidative damage, and protects against UV-induced photo damage.

This Eclipse 3-ounce Ultra Sheer, Broad spectrum, SPF 50-plus tinted product is also available for $38.

If you have any questions about summer skin care, feel free to contact the Office of Anita Wang, MD, in Laguna Beach by calling 949-734-0580, emailing [email protected], or visiting AnitaWangMD.com.

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About the Author: Anita Wang, MD, FACEP is a Board Certified Emergency Physician, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent the over 20 years as an Emergency Room doctor (previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center). Learn more at AnitaWangMD.com.

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