Your Field Guide To Sunscreen
As summer temperatures rise and you spend more time outside, you’ll probably want to keep a tube of sunscreen or one of the newer sunscreen powders in your gym bag or glove compartment. If you pop into any makeup counter, drugstore, or grocery store, you’re likely to see at least a half-dozen sunscreen brands. While the ubiquity of sunscreen makes it easy to stay sun-safe, the variety of options makes it hard to choose!
That’s why we’re going over the sunscreen basics and listing some of our favorite formulas. With this handy email, you can figure out what works best for you and avoid getting burned.
First things first, there are two main types of sunscreen:
Physical sunscreens deflect sunlight with the active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The old versions used to feel thick and sometimes leave a white cast on the skin. Newer versions of microniadized zinc and titanium feel great, are not thick and do not leave a white sheen on your skin.
Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, use chemicals like avobenzone and oxybenzone to absorb UV rays and make them less harmful. These formulas blend invisibly into skin. The drawback is that the chemicals in sunscreen may be absorbed in minute quantities when applied in large amounts every 2 hours. This has recently gotten some bad press but there’s no conclusive proof that they’re harmful. Still, pregnant women, young children, and cautious types may want to go for physical sunscreen.
If you already know which type of sunscreen you prefer, you may be wondering, “Which brand is the best?” We’re glad you asked!
- For your face and body, try EltaMD UV Shield, EltaMD UV Sport or EltaMD UV Aero, which are all fast-absorbing sunscreens that feel smooth on the skin, absorb quickly, layer well under makeup, and are made with antioxidant-rich vitamin E.
- We also love Alastin HydraTint, EltaMD UV Clear, EltaMD UV Daily, EltaMD UV Facial, Silverberg Ultramatte BB Cream and SkinMedica Total Defense and Repair for your face.
- For your lips, EltaMD’s UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 31 neutralizes free radicals with antioxidants and offers both physical and chemical sun protection.
- For when you’re exercising or going swimming, make sure you reapply even a “waterproof” sunscreen every two hours
Whichever sunscreen you choose, remember to use it in conjunction with other sun-safety measures, like wearing protective clothing and scheduling an annual skin check with a board-certified dermatologist. As always, get in touch with us if you have any questions. We hope you get outside and enjoy healthy, comfortable skin all summer long!
Yours in good health,
Your West Dermatology Team