HOT SPF Skincare Products

Tips for choosing safe sun protection from our skincare pro, Pat Scherven.

Be smart when it comes to protecting your skin this spring. Sun protection can be found as a cream or lotion that absorbs or reflects the sun’s rays by a chemical reaction or block. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—two blocks—create a barrier and are often combined in products for the most protection.

Remember to be selective when choosing your sun protection. Learn to read labels and familiarize yourself with certain ingredients, as some are safer than others. There are only 17 sunscreen chemicals approved for use in the United States.

Some ingredients to avoid;

Parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl- and propyl-): Parabens are used as preservatives and are common in sunscreens.

Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (2-ethylhexyl-4-dimethylaminobenzoic acid and avobenzone): These two chemicals have the potential to damage DNA when illuminated with sunlight.

PABA: Though rarely used now in sunscreens, beware of products that contain the ingredient. Forty percent of the population is sensitive to it, and the result is red, itchy skin.

Benzophenone (benzophenone-3), homosalate and octy-methoxycinnamate (octinoxate): These chemicals are of concern because they have shown estrogenic activity in lab tests.

I recommend zinc oxide first, as it’s a true block and is skin friendly. Also, aloe vera gel on your skin works as a natural sunscreen and helps heal a sunburn. And don’t forget that hats, umbrellas and sun-protection clothing is encouraged when spending prolonged periods outdoors.


BIO: Pat Scherven is the owner of Skin Therapease, a non-surgical skin health and rejuvenation clinic in Wayzata, and a member of the Lake Minnetonka Magazine editorial advisory board. Scherven has more than 30 years of experience in the health care and wellness industries.