Welcome Summer! What you need to know about sunscreen.....
Most of us know that the official start of summer is June 20th. However, Memorial Day Weekend has traditionally been the kickoff to summer activities. Pools are open, parties are happening, and we are ready to shed our layers. Particularly this year, most of us are looking forward to it more than ever before. Let's welcome summer with open but protected arms!
First, is sunscreen losing its importance? We have heard so much about the importance of vitamin D levels (which will increase with sun exposure). We discovered during the pandemic just how much optimal vitamin D levels support our immune function. Vitamin D plays an integral role in so many of our body’s functions. The bottom line is that it’s nearly impossible to get optimal levels from sun exposure! Now, if we lived at the equator and had 12 hours of unprotected sun exposure each day, we might achieve that. But the reality is we really don’t have that luxury and there are many detrimental effects from sunrays. Vitamin D is hard to get in foods as well. Let me make a bold statement: EVERYONE needs to supplement Vitamin D. It is non-negotiable!
So, let’s talk about safe sunscreen. It is important to select one with mineral based ingredients. Most effective are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. They are non-toxic and safer for you and the environment. Remember, when you apply sunscreen and then get into the ocean or lake you no longer are the only one exposed to that product! Chemical based sunscreens are absolutely causing damage to our coral reefs and marine life. Choose wisely. You have heard me preach this message before. Be aware of what products you put on your skin. Your skin absorbs most of the chemicals you put on it. These accumulate to create a toxic load on your system. These can cause disruption in your hormone regulation and wreak havoc on your health. A great resource for safe household and personal care products is the EWG (Environmental Works Group) app. You can scan a product and know how it rates for you and the environment.
Be mindful of SPF labels. Research is discovering that the label doesn’t necessarily correlate with the number of hours of protection. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security. Certainly, products with higher SPF offer better protection, but you still need to re-apply often.
It is important to choose products that protect against UVA and UVB spectrums. Both cause damage. The SPF is tied to the UVB protection which is mostly responsible for superficial damage and sunburn. But make no mistake, UVA causes deeper, long term damage such as DNA breakage and oxidative stress.
Want to read more about how to choose safe and effective sunscreen? Read more at
There is no doubt that I feel more confident with a summer glow! But the bottom line is that sun exposure=aging. This has taken me years to accept, and I constantly need a reminder of this! What helps? Self-tanners that are less toxic and work fantastically! Look for a product that is sold in Europe as well. The FDA only bans 39 chemicals for use in personal care products in this country. Europe restricts 1,400 chemicals. Without needing to know the chemical makeup of every personal care product, purchasing those that are produced in Europe is a good way to make a safer choice. You can tell if it is EMA (Europe’s FDA equivalent) approved by looking for the bold “e” on the manufacturer label. This actually has nothing to do with being EMA approved but represents the estimated volume in the product. But if the product has the “e” next to the volume of contents, then it was produced and approved in Europe. Just a tip I use frequently!
I am not a fan of endorsing certain products or companies but if you would like some recommendations, please email me. I am happy to share my favorites!
I hope you have a safe, healthy, and super fun Memorial Day Weekend!
Dr. Anne Morgan