With Beach Season in High Gear, Avoid Sunburn and Give your Skin a Healthy Glow with these Must-Know Sunscreen Tips.
An ounce of protection and spend the day worry-free of all free spins on the beach. Sun protection is no joke and should be taken seriously as a preventative measure for both your health and your appearance. After all, sunscreen is the closest thing to a fountain of youth that humans have found so far.
It is vital to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that cause sunburn and can lead to long-term skin damage – more commonly experienced in the form of wrinkles – and can damage cell DNA increasing skin cancer risk. The use of sunscreen is one critical you can take to protect your skin.
Avoiding direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day, from 10 am-2 pm, wearing a hat and protective clothing, and the use of sunglasses can also protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
The US FDA monitors sunscreen strength, shown as a number called a sun protection factor (SPF), and the water-resistance of sunscreens, but there are other critical differences between sunscreens currently on the market.
Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen
There are two major distinctions when it comes to sunscreens – those that are chemical-based and those that are mineral-based.
The protection in mineral-based sunscreens is derived from two naturally occurring minerals – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals create a physical barrier on your skin to block and reflect UV rays.
Many people do not understand the proper use and application of sunscreen in order to benefit from optimal protection. Mineral sunscreens should be the final step in your skincare regime allowing the physical barrier to remain intact and to maximize its protective value.
Chemical sunscreens are more prevalent and often cheaper than their mineral-based counterparts. These sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing into it, absorbing the sun’s harmful rays, converting them to heat and then releasing them. The primary chemical ingredients used in this way are avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.
Chemical-based sunscreens should be applied before other skincare products so that they can absorb and provide protection. In order to achieve optimal sun protection, chemical-based sunscreens should be applied at least 15 minutes before sun exposure to ensure that they properly absorb into the skin.
Choosing the Right Sunscreen for You
The chemicals used in chemical sunscreens have been known to contribute to the destruction of coral reefs. In fact, a law banning the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate passed in Hawaii and is set to go into effect at the beginning of 2021.
Those with sensitive skin often find mineral sunscreens to be less irritating than those based on chemicals. Chemical-based sunscreens tend to be more water-resistant and are; therefore, ideal for those who swim or play sports and sweat.
A common complaint of those using mineral sunscreens often have is the white cast that some creams leave on the skin after application. Picture the surfers and lifeguards with the white noses for an extreme instance. This white cast is due to the molecular composition of the minerals in the cream. There are some brands that sell mineral sunscreens that are tinted or have a matte finish, minimizing this unpleasant effect.
General Tips For Choosing The Right Sunscreen
Look for those sunscreens characterized as providing broad-spectrum defense protect from both UVA and UVB rays. Those with sensitive skin and skin prone to breakouts should look for sunscreens that are labeled as fragrance-free, paraben-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores. In general, dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30 or higher to achieve optimal protection.
When choosing the right sunscreen for you, you should consider protecting your health, the environment, your personal preferences and the composition of your skin. Whether you choose to use mineral-based or chemical-based sunscreen, it is vital that you don’t go out in the sun without the proper sunscreen protection or risk serious, even permanent skin damage.