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How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

by Hadley, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology Aesthetician

 

A good quality sunscreen is an absolute necessity for preventing sun damage, lowering risks of skin cancer, and maintaining optimal skin health. With so many choices on the market how can one even begin to make a good decision?  Here are some tips to better understand the mystery of skin and sunscreens.

1. Know the difference between ‘chemical’ and ‘physical’ sunscreens.

– Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing UV light

– A chemical reaction takes place when UV light is absorbed and heat is created

-This heat and the chemicals involved can cause redness and irritation in those with sensitive skin

-Chemical sunscreen products tend to be thin and easy to apply

-Physical sunscreens use titanium, zinc oxide, and iron oxides to block UV light from the skin

-The anti-inflammatory benefits make physical sunscreens the preferred choice for sensitive skin individuals.

-Physical sunscreens can be thick and must be warmed on the fingertips and applied to hydrated skin.

2.  Invest in a high quality broad-spectrum sunscreen for face, neck and chest.  Skincare companies such as Skinceuticals offer a range of suncreen choices for every skin type.  Their newest product, Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, with transparent Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, is lightweight, sheer, and dries to a matte finish.  It is ideal for oily skin individuals and those who hate the greasy feel of sunscreens.

3. Understand your skin type.  This is best done by consulting with an aesthetician, who should analyze your skin with a magnifying lamp. Choosing the right sunscreen can help balance the skin, reduce inflammation, fight aging and reduce the risk of skin cancers.

4. Recognize that breakouts and red irritated skin may be a skin disease or disorder such as acne or rosacea.  Certain sunscreens can aggravate these conditions so, if suffering from these symptoms, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

5. Understand that certain prescription and over-the-counter medications such as Retin-A, retinol and benzyl peroxide can increase sun sensitivity and overall sensitivity of the skin.  If you use these or other products that increase skin sensitivity be aware that ‘physical’ sunscreens, containing ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, may help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin while protecting from the sun.

6. Remember to use a sport sunscreen when swimming or being active outdoors.  Use waterproof rather than water-resistant formulas and reapply often.

7.  Make sure to purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB light.

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