How to read suncreen labels

By Rachelle Dupree
beverlyIf you spend any time in the sun, you might be familiar with an old sun protector called Zinc Oxide. Recognized widely in the 80’s on the noses of lifeguards and sun babies, zinc has come a long way since then.

Micro-fine Zinc Oxide used in today’s skincare and sun protection are far improved from the old, thick, white predecessor. While this is a fairly new trend, many natural skincare fans may have already known about the benefits of Zinc in their skin care.

Today’s zinc creams have been specially formulated to blend in almost invisibly and are barely noticeable. Because of this new micro-formulation, many natural skincare products have now introduced Zinc (also known as Zinc Oxide) into their product lines.

Primarily, Zinc is known for its ability to protect skin from the sun. Damaging UV rays are your skin’s worst enemy. While experts advise a daily dose of sun for maximum health and Vitamin D absorption, once you go over the 10 to 15 minute mark, you are suddenly in “skin damage” territory.

Even if you think you hardly ever get harmful sun exposure since you never “lie out in the sun” or purposefully go to “get a tan” you might be surprised just how quickly the sun can do its damage. One of the best ways to protect your skin against this every day exposure is to use a daily moisturizing cream that contains Zinc. While many products on the market are specifically sold to be a sun protectant, they may contain loads of other chemicals that are harmful for your skin to absorb every day. You want to try your best to avoid harmful parabens, toxic chemical formulations and other preservatives that have little to no value in an everyday facial moisturizer.

Natural zinc moisturizers might also contain herbal ingredients that will help soothe and heal your skin. Look for formulations that contain Chamomile, Comfrey, Green Tea or Aloe vera – all excellent natural skin healers.

The best way to ensure you are keeping your skincare regime healthy and natural is to read the labels. Always be aware of what you are putting on your skin. It is just as important as what you eat. Your skin absorbs every chemical you slather on to it, so always be cautious. If you suffer from redness, bumps, or scaly, itchy skin, you could be experiencing an allergic reaction to a chemical in your skincare or every day toiletries. Always read the label.

Once you know you are using the right formulation, you can feel free to use it as liberally if needed.

Natural zinc sun protection can be found in natural sunscreen products that are specifically designed for prolonged sun use – such as heading to the pool or the beach for the day. Alternatively, a light natural zinc moisturizer with a limited amount of zinc minerals can be used every day and will give your skin a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15-20. That is more than sufficient for running errands, such as getting in and out of your car or driving short distances.

Once you know you will spend longer amounts of time in the sun, you can choose a heavier zinc cream or sun screen, that might contain more “white tint” zinc particulates and stronger SPF but will do the best job of keeping your skin safe from UV rays.

Rachelle Dupree is a Marketing and Communications professional with a passion for natural skincare, holistic health and wellness. She can be contacted through Vivoderm Natural Skincare at