SPF for men

17 May

Gents, it’s time to be clear on summer skin. Since humanity blew a hole in the earth’s ozone layer, it is now dangerous for us to go outside without a protective barrier between us and the sun’s rays. This is why we need to use products that contain SPF, or Sun Protection Factor – sunscreens that reflect and/or absorb the sun’s harmful rays. Any dermatologist I’ve ever spoken to has stressed the importance of using an SPF in our skin care regimen because of the effects of sun exposure – accelerated aging and the possibility of skin cancer.

A frightening statistic from the Canadian Cancer Society states 5500 people will diagnose with melanoma this year and of these, 950 will die. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Getting into the habit of using a moisturizer with sun protection is a great insurance policy.

This summer, you may notice some changes in the wording on your sunscreen bottles. In 2011 in the U.S., regulation changes require sunscreen products to follow a standardized labeling system to specify products that have the best protection from harmful solar rays. The system will also ban the words “sunblock” (the word gives the false impression of protection), “sweat-proof” and “waterproof” (also false claims – products claiming to be water-resistant must indicate how long the product remains effective when exposed to water). See this CTV piece for more information.

Under the new standardized labelling system, only sunscreen products that protect against both UVB (causes sunburn), and UVA (leads to premature aging) radiation and have an SPF of 15 or higher, will qualify to be labelled as “Broad Spectrum.”

Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation in the U.S., says “sunscreen that is not broad spectrum or is broad spectrum but is lower than SPF 15 will have to carry a warning statement saying it has not been shown to prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.”

This is good news.  Below is information to help educate you about sunscreens and the nasty chemicals that are present in many. Following this, I’ve added some links to help you make wiser, natural choices in sunscreen.

Info and options

I spoke to Sara Schlatter, an Arbonne Consultant who educated me about her ethical, premium, green, Swiss-formulated brand of personal care products. The Arbonne line uses botanicals and antioxidants in their sunscreens, as opposed to some of the toxic stuff we’re offered on store shelves in North America. I learned that in Switzerland, ingredients must  be proven safe before used in products. Conversely,  ingredients can be added until proven harmful in Canada (what’s wrong with this picture?).

Arbonne does not contain preservatives (products are fresh!) and their literature explains hazardous ingredients to stay away from, so fellas, do read your product labels:

  • PABA: Though rarely used now in sunscreens, beware of products that contain the ingredient. Forty percent of the population is sensitive to it, experiencing red, itchy skin;
  • Parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-): Parabens are used as preservatives. They may cause skin rashes, redness, and pain, or, after inhalation, irritation of the eyes and the mucosa of the nose and throat. Parabens may also mimic estrogen, but because they are common in sunscreens, avoiding them may prove difficult.

–>When reading your product ingredient list, parabens will be found close to the end. When you look at your labels, you’ll find that parabens are in almost everything you buy in a drug store – shaving products, shampoo, deodorant, and moisturizers, so think about investigating a local health food store and trying an alternative brand that does not contain parabens.

  • Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (2-ethylhexyl-4-dimethylaminobenzoic acid and avobenzone): These two chemicals have the potential to damage DNA when illuminated with sunlight. On the skin’s surface, these chemicals do protect from UV damage; however, once absorbed into the skin, these same chemicals can prove destructive;
  • Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD40) dries up the skin, promotes brown spots and premature skin aging;
  • Propylene/butylene glycol is derived from petroleum. Causes skin irritation, dermatitis, may inhibit cell growth, can cause liver and kidney damage.

If this isn’t scary enough, the chemicals used as fragrance and filler in many personal care products can affect sperm count and testosterone, and influence the function of the liver, kidney, and lungs. I’m not sure that saving a little money by buying cheap grooming products is worth putting your internal organs, and your general health at risk, but I’ll let you be the judge.

To make your life a bit easier, choose a moisturizer with SPF already in it so you only have one product to apply. Here are some good options:

Arbonne Facial Moisturizer with SPF 20

Alba Mineral Protection Facial Sunscreen

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Broad Spectrum SPF 15

JASON Natural Facial Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF20

Keep in mind that the more inexpensive the product, the less pure it’s going to be and undoubtedly, the more chemicals it will have in its formula.  Sara says the most effective sunscreen should contain at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 15 or higher.

People with rosacea/eczema/sensitive skin should always use a sunscreen, and Sara recommends Abonne’s ABC baby sunscreen because it’s “fab and gentle“. Sara told me that David Cassidy almost had to stop playing guitar because his eczema was so bad and Arbonne saved his career!
Seal your lips
AskMen.com says “lips lack both oil glands to keep them naturally moist and melanin to provide protection against harmful UV rays.”
Men, your lips need special protection too and there are lots of SPF lip balms available. Sara urges men to protect their lips but with products that do not contain petroleum jelly (Vaseline), mineral oil, and paraffin – these begin life as crude oil. Using petroleum-derived products will eventually dry out your lips, and you’ll be absorbing the same stuff that axle grease and butane are made of. These petroleum products smell bad and are masked with toxic synthetic fragrances, not to mention chemical colours and texture enhancers. The Arbonne balm option has an SPF 30 and is made with chamomile extract and vitamin E among other good things. Alba also offers non-petroleum SPF balms.
If you’re out to protect your skin, gents, and I hope you are, there are lots of ways to keep away from harmful solar rays: stay out of the sun, avoid tanning beds, wear hats, and keep covered; slather an SPF of 15 – 30 on hands, face, neck, and anywhere else you’ll be exposed to sun.
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3 Responses to “SPF for men”

  1. gold price May 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    We tend to use less sunscreen than is necessary to receive the amount of protection indicated by the SPF number. Sunscreen should be applied evenly using about one fluid once per full body application for adults. For children, the amount will be less because of their smaller body sizes.

  2. arbonne sale May 20, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I feel I might never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely huge for me. I am having a look ahead for your subsequent put up, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

  3. Sugel May 23, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Studies have shown that the #1 cause of damage and aging to the skin is sun exposure. Excessive exposure to the sun’s rays can cause wrinkling, a leathery skin appearance, and in worst cases – skin cancer. It’s also been proven that overexposure to the sun can interfere with your immune system. Currently, sunscreen products containing a recommended SPF rating of 15 or above play an important role in helping diminish the harm of the sun’s rays.

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