Sunscreens


Suns out!

Sunscreen can be confusing, and there’s a lot of opposing information out there about what’s best. Natural? Physical? Mineral? Chemical? What does it all mean? All valid questions.

Here are some points to keep in mind when choosing your sunscreen:

PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN

AKA Mineral Sunscreen, it forms a protective physical barrier of inert minerals over the skin. Sits on top of the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. A physical blocker.

INGREDIENTS

Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

PROS

  • Protection against both UVA and UVB rays

  • Sun protection upon application, no wait needed

  • Lasts longer when in direct UV light

  • Less likely to cause skin irritation

  • Better for those with heat-activated skin (i.e. rosacea and redness).

  • Less likely to clog pores

  • Longer shelf life

  • Safe for babies and mothers during pregnancy

  • Reef-safe

CONS

  • Can easily rub off, sweat off, and rinse off. More frequent reapplication required.

  • May leave a white cast on skin.

  • Can create an occlusive film that increases perspiration during physical activities, causing it to wear off more quickly

  • Tend to be thicker, requiring more effort to rub in.

  • Can cause white drips to show on skin when sweating

  • Needs to be applied generously since UV light can penetrate through the sunscreen molecules

  • Titanium Dioxide protects from UVB rays well but does not protect from UVA rays as well as zinc oxide

CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN

AKA Synthetic Sunscreen. Contains organic, carbon-based compounds which create a chemical reaction. It changes UV rays into heat, then releases heat from the skin. A chemical or organic absorber.

INGREDIENTS COMMONLY USED

Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene

PROS

  • Lightweight, thinner in consistency, spreads more easily.

  • Less is needed to protect skin.

  • Less residue on skin

  • Commonly found at big stores

CONS

  • Can possibly cause an increase in existing brown spots and discoloration due to a higher internal skin temperature.

  • Requires 10-20 minutes after application to dry and create a protective film over the skin.

  • Increased chance of skin irritation and stinging.

  • Protection it offers gets used up more quickly when in direct UV light, so reapplication must be more frequent.

  • Increased chance of redness for rosacea-prone skin types because it changes UV rays into heat, which can exacerbate flushing.

  • Oxybenzone and oxtinoxate have been banned in Hawaii for posing a risk of degrading coral reef.

  • Depending on the formula, could be pore-clogging.

  • Can disrupt hormones, including endocrine levels

  • Can cause stinging if it drips into the eyes from sweat.

SUN PROTECTION

  • Seek the shade during peak sun hours.

  • Wear protective gear like rash guards, long sleeves, and hats when in the sun.

  • Choose zinc oxide sunscreen

  • Eat healthy foods to provide antioxidants for immune and skin health!!

REFERENCES:

  • https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

  • https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/sunscreen-labels/how-to-decode-sunscreen-lingo

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543289

  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018/

#skin

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Dr. Megan Ding, ND

10722 Carmel Commons Blvd, Suite 450, Charlotte, NC 28226

PHONE: 704-672-0308

FAX: 704-672-0409

Telehealth: Monday-Friday 9-5 PM

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