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Unprotected exposure to the sun can damage your skin. Sure, we all love a nice sun-kissed tan, but for optimal protection, it’s important to incorporate SPF 30 or higher into your skincare routine.
Soaking up vitamin D doesn’t have to be harmful. If you’d like to know more about sunscreen in time for the summer season, check out my take on the many benefits, key ingredients and a few optimal options from Heinen’s Wellness Department.
The Benefits of Sunscreen
- Protects Skin from UV Rays: Harmful UV rays can cause sunburn and long-term skin damage.
- Prevents Premature Aging: Exposure to sunlight and UV rays can lead to photoaging, collagen breakdown and saggy, wrinkly skin. Discoloration can also occur.
- Ensures Even Skin Tone: Sunscreen prevents discoloration, leading to maintenance of even skin tone.
- Reduces the Risk of Skin Cancer: UV rays are capable of causing skin cancer. Applying sunscreen prevents skin damage, which reduces skin cancer risks.
What Makes a Good Sunscreen?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is calculated by how long skin takes to sunburn with sunscreen versus without sunscreen. The minimum recommendation is a sunscreen with SPF 30.
How Often Should You Apply Sunscreen?
It’s best to apply sunscreen daily, especially in the summer. No matter the weather, the sun can cause damage to our skin. Always use as directed.
Are Certain Sunscreens more Ideal for Certain Skin Types?
Yes, sunscreens have varying ingredients, which is why some may be more suitable for sensitive skin, and others work better for dry or oily skin.
- Dry Skin: Hydrating sunscreens are an option for people with dry skin. This option will ensure that the skin remains well-moisturized with no appearance of dry patches.
- Oily Skin: People who have acne-prone or oily skin should always opt for sunscreens labeled as noncomedogenic to avoid clogged pores and breakouts.
- Sensitive Skin: A mineral sunscreen is ideal for sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreens contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide–two skin protectants.
Are Certain Sunscreens More Effective than Others?
There are two types of sunscreens. One is physical sunscreen and the other is the chemical sunscreen.
- Physical Sunscreen: Physical sunscreens coat and prevent UV rays from reaching the skin. Physical sunscreens need reapplication often when exposed to water or sweat.
- Chemical Sunscreen: Chemical sunscreens are somewhat like aspirin and they absorb into the skin, which prevents the penetration of UV rays. This option doesn’t wash off and stays on the skin. The only problem with chemical sunscreen sprays is that you may miss some spots during application.
Are there Ingredients that Should Always be in Sunscreen?
Ingredients such as Tinosorb S and M, Mexoryl SX, Oxybenzone, Titanium Dioxide, and Octinoxate are the ingredients that protect the skin from UV rays. Be on the lookout for these ingredients when perusing sunscreen options.
- Alba Botanica Sensitive Sunscreen Fragrance-Free SPF 50: I love this sunscreen spray. It provides broad-spectrum protection, is water-resistant, certified gluten-free and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The spray is also free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, Vitamin A and contains no artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.
- Coppertone Sport Clear SPF 50 Lotion: This is a great sunscreen if you’re going to have a sweaty day. It rubs on easily, feels hydrating and, for the most part, resists sweat and water. It provides broad spectrum protection and contains no dyes, PABA or synthetic preservatives.
- Neutrogena Clear Face Breakout-Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30: For those like myself with acne-prone skin, this is a great option. It provides broad-spectrum protection and is noncomedogenic and oil-free. It feels lightweight and is suitable for the face and body.
- Sun Bum Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm: This lip balm is smooth and soothing, thanks to aloe, cocoa butter and vitamin E. It contains SPF 30 and is gluten, paraben and petrolatum-free, as well as vegan.