A couple days ago, the UK’s Daily Mail reported that Giselle Bundchen referred to sunscreen as “poison,” claiming she doesn’t use anything “synthetic” when it comes to her skin. According to the report, the supermodel justified her stance on sunscreen by stating that she doesn’t go out in the sun after 8 a.m.
Now, if I were the gambling type, I’d bet my last dollar that those on-location Victoria’s Secret catalog shoots take place during daylight hours and are rife with lacquers, sprays, glitters, glues and a slew of other beauty aids that most definitely do not occur in nature. Maybe Giselle meant to say that her “natural only” philosophy doesn’t apply while she’s on the clock. Maybe she forgot to mention that she chooses natural in real life to give her skin a much-needed breather.
That still wouldn’t make not wearing sunscreen okay.
Skin cancer is THE most common form of cancer in the United States, despite also being the most preventable. This frightening prospect should be enough to make you think twice the next time you consider skipping the SPF, or taking any other wacky model-issued health advice to heart without first doing your research. But if it’s not, here’s some food for thought: DermStore’s Medical Director, Dr. Ashley Magovern, says that in her experience, patients who regularly use sunscreen can look up to a decade younger than their sun-worshipping peers.
Yesterday, in what appears to be an effort to backpedal, Giselle spoke to People Magazine, claiming she didn’t say anything about not wearing an SPF. Her remarks were, her camp claims, lost in translation—and what she really meant was that she prefers physical sun blocks over chemical ones. Fair enough. I know some of you are also adamantly opposed to chemical sunblocks and wouldn’t flinch at calling them poison. Some of you also believe that sunscreen in general does us a huge disservice by hindering our natural ability to produce vitamin D.
According to Dr. Magovern, these concerns are common, albeit a little off-base.
“To my knowledge, we don’t have any studies to confirm that the chemical ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed in any substantial amount, or that they cause any harm—but I hear this kind of thing all the time from my patients, and given all the information available these days, whether right or wrong, I do understand their worry,” she said. “For those who are concerned, I recommend a purely physical block.”
DermStore offers several options in the way of physical sun blocks—those leery about chemicals should look for SPF products formulated with zinc and/or titanium only, such as Dermalogica Super Sensitive Face Block SPF 30, NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention Sunscreen SPF 30, and Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41, to name a few.
And as for the vitamin D argument, dermatologists encourage patients to get their vitamin D by committing to a healthy diet with foods rich in vitamin D, like salmon and tuna. Vitamin D-fortified foods, such as milk, cheese, orange juice and cereals are also good for some. If you’re like me and favor a plant-based diet, oral supplementation is a great way to ensure you’re getting what you need. Dr. M recommends a 600IU vitamin D supplement daily for most patients, but advises that you discuss any supplement or diet changes with your personal physician to determine what’s best for you. And while you may have read or heard that some doctors suggest exposing your bare arms to the sun for 10-15 minutes a day in order to synthesize vitamin D, Dr. M doesn’t necessarily think that’s a good idea.
“I really don’t want to encourage people to seek the sun for any reason,” she stated.
Moral of the story? Giselle gets paid the big bucks to get her photo taken, not necessarily to share her skin care wisdom. Even if you’re opposed to chemicals in your beauty products, there are many options when it comes to physical sun blocks. You really have no excuse to forgo SPF.