As very little of you may know, National Sunscreen Day was just a few weeks ago! On May 27th, we celebrated this always-important product by lathering up with our favorite skin saver and hit the waves. It doesn't need to be National Sunscreen Day for you to appreciate the importance of using sunscreen to protect your skin. So we thought that even though the day has passed, we would still share our favorite versions of the purchasable sunscreen products.
A Little About Sunscreen, the Sun and Your Skin:
SPF Stands for: Sun Protection Factor.
The way sunscreen works is that it adds to your already natural sun protection. Your natural sun protection is determined by your natural coloring. Generally, light colored eyes and fair to red hair are the most at risk of skin problems in the sun. Dark skin with brown eyes is less susceptible to sun damage. This is because people with darker complexions have a much higher natural sun protection factor. Ever wonder why people in the Mediterranean have darker complexions as compared to those in say Scotland? Well, there is less sun in Scotland than Spain or Greece, therefore the need for natural sun protection is far less if you live in Scotland, or further north, than there is in Greece or Spain. Obviously, people move around a lot more and live in different places and don't take into account that their skin type may not be suited for their environment, hence the need for sunscreen.
Base your brand and SPF number on your skin.
It is a misunderstanding that the highest SPF number will be the best protection. Depending on the brand, various chemicals make up sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the more chemicals are in the sunscreen. Some of these are not that good to be on your skin all day. Choose carefully! It is your skin after all. If you are in the sun all day, you may want to use a high SPF 30. Research has shown that SPF50 is about as effective as 30, and is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. If you plan on being in the sun for a short amount of time, use SPF 15. There are less active chemicals in SPF 15 sunscreen that will damage your skin.
In the Water
Higher SPF does not mean higher water resistance. Bodysurfers and handboarders are a lot more likely to have the sunscreen rub off from being submerged in the water, so choose a rugged sunscreen. Do not skimp. Only the best will do! If you have a white face and need to remove the sunscreen with a spade after your session, it is the right stuff to protect yourself. Forget how you look, this is about protection. You need to reapply if you plan on spending much more than an hour in the water. Also, another tip: just because you are in the water, that doesn’t mean your feet and bottom half are not in the way of the sun. Sunrays can penetrate water and will still burn you.
Body Parts that Burn the Most
Apply liberally to protruding parts i.e. your shnos (nose), ears and lips, particularly your bottom lip. Also, I was once told by my dermatologist that the skin on the top of my arm should look like the bottom. If it is darker, which on most people it is, you have sun damage.
Our Favorite Commercial Brand
Remember how we said most brands have harmful chemicals that in some cases are just as bad for you as overexposure? Well, not these guys! They have an all-organic formula that is as close to what you could make yourself. Brian and his crew over at Raw Elements are dedicated to protecting you from the sunscreen as much as they are about protecting your skin from the ultraviolet rays! We highly recommend Raw Elements and below is why.
" 30+ is the conscious consumer's answer to serious sun protection. All natural and free of all of the bad stuff, this formula boasts balanced physical UV protection through their unique Organic Eco-Shield Performance Technology. As a performance-driven sunscreen, it is water resistant beyond 80 minutes, yet so gentle and moisturizing that it is perfect for our young ones! Packed with biologically active antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and extracts, it continues protecting our skin long after environmental exposure. Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 23% "
Here are some other great products we have all used, and in some cases grown up with. There is nothing better than that hot warm smell of suncreen at the beach:
We love this one because it contains only the best ingredients and comes in both an original and pro line, which is great for a non-slip grip on your handplane. And we love the ape!
Bullfrog stays water-resistant for 80 minutes, unlike a lot of brands that can’t resist against the waves. Again, non-greasy, so as they say, “your grip won’t slip”.
Made for surfers. Best war-paint for shredders. Look serious on your handboard and part the sea of people.
Their gel form is unique and effective! They also carry a great SPF lip balm and a gel spray (never seen that before).
Aveeno Sun Protection
If you’re looking for a sun block that’s healthy for your skin, you've come to the right place. Aveeno uses natural ingredients and keeps your skin moisturized. Side note-- this brand is better for sunbathers than surfers. They also have great products for children and babies!
Here’s another one that’s better for sunbathers. Not quite as slip-free as some of the above brands-- and you wouldn't want that hand plane to fly right off your hands!
There are tons of great sun block brands out there, so grab a good one and keep your skin safe from the elements. Also, keep an eye out for our make your own sunscreen article that’s coming out very soon!
Happy handboarding, surfing, paddling, or sunbathing-- whatever your favorite sun-soaked activity is that you love!