Here is a great article by my guest blogger Lisa Cleary. Please read it. Lots of good info.
For most of us, sunscreen is a part of our daily facial cleansing and make-up routine; present in some of the best-selling creams, foundations and serums, it is also a welcome ingredient in some of the most popular new products on the market, including Argan oil moisturizers. Sunscreen has garnered much interest over the years owing to its ability to help stave off skin cancer. A study published on June 4, 2013 in the journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, however, has conclusively proven that the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen does much more than we imagined, actually keeping skin looking significantly younger if used daily.
The study followed 903 subjects between the ages of 25 and 55, asking some to use sunscreen daily (with frequent reapplications) and others to use sunscreen as they wished. After a four-and-a-half-year period, those who used sunscreen daily were found to have a 24% lower rate of skin aging, than those who had used it irregularly. Daily sunscreen use was found to positively affect subjects, irrespective of age, skin type, history of skin cancer, smoking, profession, etc. In order to provide this effect, said the scientists, subjects needed to use a sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15, apply a sufficiently thick quantity and reapply it often. Additionally, it was crucial to use a broad spectrum sunscreen, since this protects skin against both UVA and UVB rays, which play their respective roles in prematurely aging skin.
Opponents to Sunscreen Use
The above-mentioned study is interesting material in that it would suggest that the benefits of sunscreen outweigh its risks. Renowned opponents to the use of this product include beauty guru Leslie Kenton (author of over 35 best-selling books on health and beauty). In her book Skin Revolution, she refers to a study carried out by the University of Alabama’s Physics Department: “Sunscreens are designed to prevent skin cancer by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun before it gets to the DNA in skin cells,” said the researchers. Yet some sunscreens, they added, contain a chemical called octyl methoxycinnamate, which binds to DNA. Therefore, instead of keeping the harmful rays away, they actually deliver them straight to the skin’s DNA.
It is vital to carefully check the ingredients list of any sunscreen you are purchasing and, if possible, to opt for mineral-based sunblocks comprising ‘physical blocks’ like titanium oxide or zinc oxide. These products reflect the light away instead of absorbing them. Additionally, it is important to cover skin as much as possible, using hats, long sleeves and large-size sunglasses (which also happen to be a very fashionable choice this year), and to keep the sun away from the most delicate areas in your face (including the eyes). A basic rule to follow when selecting a sunscreen is: the more natural, the better. Many chemicals in sunscreens and other skin care products react with the skin, producing new compounds that lead to increased skin sensitivity and allergies.
Fighting Aging from Within
Merely using a good sunblock is not likely to keep your skin youthful and glowing if you are overloading your internal system with toxic foods. Protecting skin against premature aging and cancer must always begin from the inside, in the form of toxic-free nutrition. Foods to avoid include those which are high in sugar and processed ingredients. Excess sugar causes our blood sugar to spike, leading the excess production of insulin. When too much insulin remains in our system for too long, the body grows insulin resistant, a factor which has recently been identified as a leading cause of obesity.
Two additional foods which promote insulin resistance are coffee and alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can be particularly hard to give up since often, its abuse is tied to emotional issues and can be part of the more complex problem of addiction. Addictive substances are easier to give up as part of a comprehensive program which includes exercise and mental relaxation. Interestingly, in states like Illinois, alcoholism programs often offer alternative therapies like yoga to heal the mind and curb the anxiety associated with cravings. Sometimes, a really strong addiction to junk food, caffeine or sweets can be the strongest hurdle to overcome when it comes to achieving a fit, healthy body and beautiful skin. Therefore, while findings about the positive benefit of sunscreen are promising, we should also bear in mind the delicate relationship between maintain a youthful appearance and taking care of our physical and mental health.