Sunscreen is one of the only proven ways to prevent visible signs of aging on the skin. Not only does it help prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it also helps prevent sun damage that could cause hyper-pigmented sun spots or cancer. Most people are aware that UV rays can be dangerous, but how does the exposure actually cause issues within are skin?
When skin is not protected and then exposed to UVA or UVB rays, it can damage skin cell DNA. This can prevent the skin from functioning properly as cells begin reproducing with damaged DNA, or it can even cause mutations in the skin cell DNA that result in cancerous growths.
This is why it is important to care about daily sun protection and sunscreen usage. It not only prevents signs of premature aging, but decreases your risk of health related sun issues as well.
So, now you know why you should be using sunscreen on the daily, but there are still some potentially confusing aspects about sunscreen that I’ll help sort out below…
Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen –
One main difference between sunscreen options is the choice between a physical sunscreen and a chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens create a physical barrier to reflect UV rays off of skin using mineral components. These sunscreens will contain ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Chemical sunscreens use ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate. These ingredients penetrate the upper layers of your skin to absorb UV rays from the sun before the skin does.
Sun Protection Factor ( SPF ) –
The next question to consider when choosing a sunscreen is which SPF number is best for you. To briefly explain the difference in each, the number represents how many times longer it would take for your skin to redden in the sun after application. So, if you typically get red within 10 minutes of exposure to the sun and you use a SPF 30, it would take 30 times longer than 10 minutes for your skin to redden hypothetically. So that would be approximately 5 hours.
Even with that being said, each sunscreen number also blocks out rays in different amounts. This aspect of the number is arguably more important than the aforementioned one. SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks about 97%, and SPF 50 blocks around 98%. Any above 50 stays around the 98% mark give or take a little.
How to decide?
My recommendation is to opt for an SPF 50 in either a chemical or physical sunscreen if you can. It makes sense for both exposure time and protection amount. Always be sure to reapply throughout the day. Typically physical sunscreen works well for more sensitive skin types, but just be sure to patch test for irritation as with any product that you might try. I will link some suggestions of both chemical and physical sunscreen options below…
PURITO Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+ (All time favorite. I love this for any skin type and/or color. It is gentle, lightweight, and leaves no white cast.)
These are just a few suggestions, but there are so many more options to choose from. If you are still struggling to find a sunscreen that is right for you, or wish to inquire about a product, feel free to contact me. Great skin is in your future!