Sunscreen 101

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According to the CDC, too much sun exposure (UV light) is a risk factor for most skin cancers.  You are at increased risk for skin cancer (and sunburn!) if you have pale skin, red or blonde hair, or have a family member who has had skin cancer. That all being said, being outdoors can be a great way to stay physically active, reduce stress, and create vitamin D (though this is not the preferred Vit D source- let me know if you want to know more about that). UV rays can reach you on cloudy and cool days, too! In addition to sunscreen, there are other ways to protect yourself from the sun. Scroll down to read them all!

The Pure Haven sunscreen is my personal favorite! Get it!

Sun Protection:

  1. Shade – When outdoors, stay under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter, like a convenient to store, pop up tent perfect for the beach or community sporting game. As possible, limit sun exposure to between 10am – 2pm, per the FDA. 
  2. Clothing – Opt for a cover-up or t-shirt over your bathing suit. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. According to the CDC, a wet T-shirt offers less UV protection than a dry one. Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing is certified under international standards as offering UV protection. *BONUS TIP* When possible and weather permitting, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. This may be most appropriate for fall and winter activities like skiing or ice skating – YES you still have to worry about sun at those times of year!
  3. Top the ‘Fit’ with a Hat – Wear a hat that has a wide brim all the way around so it will shaded your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A hat made from tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection, just like with clothing. I like this one, which has a wide brim to cover your face, ears, and neck and reflective top to reflect sunrays.  NOTE: If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using sunscreen, or staying in the shade.
  4. Sunglasses – Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Opt for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB. It should be listed on lens sticker or packaging. 

Now, the Sunscreen!

SUNSCREEN is a necessary step of sun protection. Here are some helpful tips sunscreen best practice. Sunscreen works best when combined with other options of sun protection for reducing your skin cancer risk and keeping you safe.  NOTE: Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger, unless you have consulted and cleared it with your healthcare provider. 

  1. Mind the Date – Don’t forget to check that expiration date! Most sunscreen expires after 3 years AND exposure to heat shortens the shelf life. Check the labels before you apply.
  2. UV Protection Choose a sunscreen that blocks BOTH UVA and UVB rays.
  3. SPF Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is preferred by the FDA, SPF of 30 or higher is preferred by the American Academy of Derm. Higher SPF numbers mean greater UV protection. 
  4. Application Put a thick layer on all exposed skin about 15 minutes PRIOR to going outside. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back and neck. Don’t forget your ears, tops of hands and feet, toes, head (if thin or little hair coverage) and dècolletè! 
  5. How often should you reapply? –  If you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours, then it’s time to reapply. You should also reapply after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. NO sunscreen is 100% waterproof. Need help remembering when to re-apply? Set a timer on your phone or try these sunscreen spot checkers. They tell you if the sunscreen is working and when to re-apply!

6.  Check the Ingredients – To date, the FDA has claimed only two ingredients in sunscreen to be GRASE (generally recognized as safe and effective). These ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The FDA has identified two other common sunscreen ingredients NOT GRASE, and are no longer sold legally in the US. These are PABA and tolamine salicylate. And finally, the jury is still out on some other common ingredients, which are currently being studied for safety. These include ensulizole, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, oxybenzone, avobenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, meradimate, padimate O, sulisobenzone. I PERSONALLY try to avoid the questionable ingredients. I generally gather information from the CDC, USDA, FDA, or EWG as sources and make the best decision for me when it comes to lifestyle or nutrition.  Below, you will find my personal favorite sunscreen options. 

  • Pure Haven SPF 30 – Find it at, here. (By the way – the Pure Haven deodorant I have been using for 4 years and it is AMAZING!  Send me an email if you want more info on that.
  • My second favorite is the screen from Beautycounter – including a convenient face stick. Reach out to Marla@andsoitglows and she will help you place your order. She also had a fantastic sunless tanner business in which she comes directly to you home – ask her about it! Learn more at
  • There may also be options over the counter or at drug stores but I not too familiar with them. You should review options with your healthcare provider and check them out on

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Additionally, the products above are not recommended to or for you. These products are solely based off personal and individual preferences. These items are not to be considered nutrition or medical advice. Before trying these items, consult with your health care provider.