Summer’s coming. Do you have your skin protection ready? Although you should be wearing a good sunscreen every single day, summer is a good reminder to refill your supply and to evaluate your options. What sunscreen is right for you?
Children’s skin is very sensitive and the chemicals often used in adult formulations (specifically PABA and oxybenzone) can be irritating to young skin. Choose sunscreens that are formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (these are physical blockers to the sun’s rays rather than chemical blockers). Look for products specifically made for children for the best results. Don’t use sunscreen on babies under 6 months. Keep them out of the sun!
Children aren’t the only ones with sensitive skin. Adults with sensitive skin may find sunscreens with PABA and oxybenzone irritating as well. Also avoid sunscreens with fragrances and preservatives. Sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t wear sunscreen; it just means you need to find the right one.
Some patients with acne actually have very sensitive skin. You may want to choose a sunscreen without PABA and oxybenzone. Steer clear of “cream” formulations and try a gel sunscreen instead. These sunscreens often contain alcohol which can dry out the skin and potentially keep you from an acne flare up. If you’re using topical acne medications, gel formulations may be too drying (especially since your skin may already be dry from your medications). In this case, opt for a light, oil-free lotion. Silicones, which won’t cause acne flare-ups, are often used in place of oils to render sunscreens water resistant. Also, products marked non-comedogenic are a good choice.
Darker skin tends to burn less often, but sunscreen is still needed. Physical sunscreens may make the face look chalky, so opt for chemical sunscreens instead. Micronized physical sunscreens can work well on darker skin.
If you haven’t been as diligent with sunscreen as you should have been in the past, turn a new leaf. It is never too late to reap some of the benefits of sunscreen. Even at an older age, sunscreen can lower your risk of some skin cancers and minimize sun damage, which leads to spots, wrinkles, sagging, etc.
Daily vs. Heavy Exposure
You need sunscreen every day, but your sunscreen needs aren’t the same every day. For daily use, choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 15. You’ll need about a nickel dollop for just your face. If you have brown spots, a history of skin cancer or very fair skin, choose an SPF 30+ for daily use.
On days when you’ll be spending more time in the sun, choose a higher SPF (at least SPF 30, the higher the better) and opt for a sunscreen that is water and sweat resistant. Apply lots and reapply often.
If you need to stock up on sunscreen, come on in. Right now, all of the sunscreens in our skin care line are 15% off.