8/15/14

Block Island Organic Sunscreen review (and discount code)


There are a few things that I can not train without on the bike, especially during Ironman training. Spending at least 7 hours (total) outside each weekend, sweating and training my body on the bike and running, means that I get a lot of sun exposure. 
Now I have to thank my dad for my naturally dark skin, unlike my mom and my brother who are a bit on the pale side (thanks Dad!). However, even though I do not burn very easily, I never take advantage of my time in the sun and I always put on some type of sunscreen to protect my skin from UVA and UVB rays. 

SUNSCREEN INFO 
(specifically UVB and UVA, not discussing UVC) 

UVB (B for burning) rays cause sunburns and cancer. UVB rays damage the skin's more superficial epidermal layers.
UVA (A for aging) rays increase skin aging, suppression of immune system and can cause skin damage. UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers. 

The American Cancer Society recommends to use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen which blocks UV radiation with a SPF greater than 30 and to reapply for continuous protection.
The U.S. FDA has recently changed labeling rules to help consumers better understand sunscreen products and how to best use them. 

According to Skincancer.org, there are currently 17 active ingredient approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. These filters fall into two broad categories - Chemical and Physical.
Most UV filters are chemical which means they form a thin, protective film on the surface of the skin and absorb the UV radiation before it penetrates the skin. The physical sunscreens are insoluble particles that reflect UV away from the skin. 

The most common sunscreens contain chemical filters like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate whereas mineral-based sunscreens contain zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. 

Titanium Oxide and Zinc Oxide are used alone or in combination with other inactive ingredients to protect against both UVB and UVA rays and are broad spectrum. 

A sunscreen's efficacy is measured by its SPF (sun protection factor) and this indicates how long it will take for UVB rays to redden skin with using the sunscreen compared to how long skin would redden without the product. SPF is not the amount of protection necessarily. 

An SPF 15 sunscreen screens 93% of the sun's UVB rays, SPF 30 protects against 97% and SPF 50 protects against 98%. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a SPF of 15 or higher is necessary for adequate protection. 

Believe it or not but there are actually a few household items that have a natural SPF:
Almond oil, coconut oil, zinc oxide, shea butter, red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil!


As you know, there are many sunscreen products on the market to protect your skin but many of them contain ingredients that may protect you from the sun but may not be very safe for your skin as they can disrupt hormones, cause skin irritations and may be toxic in other ways. 

Because I am not a dermatologist or your primary care physician, I am not comfortable telling you what sunscreens you should use or not use. When it comes to food, I have a license to cover me in that area. 

However, when it comes to sunscreens, I prefer a mineral based sunscreen and one that is comfortable on my skin. If I am spraying/rubbing sunscreen on my skin before a workout or race, I not only want it to protect my skin from the sun's beautiful, yet harmful rays but I also want it to be breathable and comfortable when I am sweating. I hear very often that athletes do not wear sunscreen because they feel it is not "airy" on the skin, they feel like they have a layer of lotion on their skin that makes them feel like they can not cool the body in the heat through sweating and because they feel they do not need it. 

Well, to answer the last part, you do need to wear sunscreen and it is possible to find a sunscreen that feels good on the skin. Although sun exposure at some length is healthy for the skin for vitamin D absorption, it is important that athletes take precautions to protect the skin for we also compromise our immune system thanks to hours and hours of heart beating, muscle contracting, body-part moving working out and racing on a daily/weekly basis. Wear your sunscreen when training for there's no need to damage the body any more so than we are already doing with long or intense exercise routine. 

I was recently contacted by Block Island Organic Sunscreen a few months ago to try one of their products. I was not asked to write a review or provide a giveaway and I was not paid to write a post.
Since I am always up for trying something new (only if I believe in the product or if it is safe and there is good research on the use of it), I was looking forward to trying a new sunscreen to add to my training accessory list. 

I did not write about this product right away because I wanted to truly test it out in training and with IMWI on the horizon after just racing in IM Austria in June, I have had plenty of long weekend workouts to try out this mineral sunscreen, which is fragarance free and is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protective sunscreen (and synthetic ingredient free). 

Although this sunscreen only has around 40 minutes of water resistance, I can say that I have had no issues with this sunscreen on my skin for long bike rides and runs. Although I am always hesitant to rubbing white lotion on my skin for the fear of it being thick on my body when I am working out and sweating (or skin irritation), this lotion felt more like a soothing cream and didn't leave any bad smells or greasy, thick residue. You do have to rub it in a little as it is not a spray but I had no issues spending a few seconds rubbing this sunscreen on my face without irritations or on my exposed body parts. 

After trying this sunscreen out a few times, I am very comfortable writing this review and recommending this product to my readers.

Because I want to make sure you are protecting your skin when you are training, Block Island Organic Sunscreen has provided me with a discount code of 20% off your order by using the code TRIMARNI at checkout. This discount only runs until 8/24 so be sure to take advantage before your next race or long training session. 

Also, to stay on the topic of UVA and UVB protection, did you know that clothing and sunglasses can protect you from the skin? 



If my dad (Dr. Rakes - optometrist and former Optometric Physician of the VA Clinic of New Port Richey) was still here, I know he would be proud to read that I am recommending all of you to invest in a quality pair of sunglasses to not only protect your eyes from debris but also from UV rays. As an Oakley Women ambassador, you know I love my Oakley glasses because they are comfortable and safe for my eyes. I do not trust any other sunglass lens on my face except Oakley because I have seen how they make and test their sunglasses and why they are the best sunglassses out there for active bodies (disclaimer: I have been wearing Oakleys way before I became an ambassador as Karel turned me on to Oakley's when we were dating - he wouldn't let me wear anything else :)
Oakley glasses are made with Plutonite which filters out 100% of all UV rays and harmful blue light up to 400 nm.
Learn more HERE for Oakley's incredible technology.