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:
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.
Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide
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
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
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
Lightweight, thinner in consistency, spreads more easily.
Less is needed to protect skin.
Less residue on skin
Commonly found at big stores
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.
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!!