Let's be clear - sun blocks are excellent helpers when it comes to avoiding the negative outcomes from excessive exposure to the sun's harmful rays BUT they aren't all created equal and many fall short. If your lotion has an SPF of 15 - it means it will block up to 94% of the UV light. The residual light that does "get through" can produce free radicals - highly reactive molecules that can cause cell damage. That's how the beginning of skin cancer occurs. As you go up in SPF from 15, you gain small benefits of protection only
Adding in certain vitamins to these less than perfect sun blocks can help to reduce the generation of these free radicals, specifically vitamin C and vitamin E. Specifically:
- Vitamin C -sodium ascorbyl phosphate (stable vitamin C)
- Vitamin E alcohol
- Vitamin E acetate
The winner by far?? Vitamin C, so now experts recommend finding a sun block that is not only broad spectrum, but one that has vitamin C (and E) in the formulation. Using a vitamin C cream after exposure may also have protective benefits.
Ongoing research will continue to look at anti-oxidants as ingredients for before and after care and as ingredients that should be included in sun protection products.
Published On: July 28, 2008