The building blocks for a great summer are pretty simple; anyone can call to mind a shortlist of necessities that make your time in the sunshine memorable. Number one on anyone’s list should be SUNSCREEN. What makes the foundation for a good sunscreen can be a bit more mystifying than how to have fun while you have it on. There are countless choices available when it comes to sun protection; Creams, powders, sprays, sticks, and the list goes on and on. While choosing the best possible product for your unique skin may seem like a daunting task, making the right choice will seem like a breeze when you consider these 5 fundamentals choosing and applying sun protection.
1. Active ingredients
Sun protection falls into two categories: Physical Sunscreens and Chemical Sunscreens.
Physical Sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and create a barrier to reflect the rays of the sun whereas, Chemical Sunscreen works by absorbing into the skin where they absorb UV rays, convert them into heat, and then release the heat from the body. Here are some examples of physical and chemical sunscreens as well as some of their active ingredients.
- Physical Sunscreens such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide are broad-spectrum and are unlikely to irritate the skin.
- Chemical Sunscreens such as Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Helioplex, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, etc. Be aware that chemical sunscreens are more likely to cause a skin reaction than Physical sunscreens, so pay attention to what specific active ingredients are in your sunscreen in case of a reaction.
2. Broad Spectrum Protection
- Make sure that your sunscreen offers ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) protection to ensure that you are getting the coverage that you need to prevent skin damage and sunburn.
- You will want to choose an SPF of at least 30 but not higher than 50 (any SPF higher than 50 is equivalent to the protection offered by an SPF of 50)
3. Be sure to use the appropriate amount of Sunscreen to provide adequate coverage
- You need a tablespoon to cover your entire face (including ears) and a shot glass sized amount to cover the exposed areas of the body.
- Remember to reapply every 2 hours to make certain you have continuous coverage.
4. Added ingredients
- Many SPF products offer added befits like antioxidants so you are nourishing your skin while you protect it.
5. Water and Sweat Resistance
- In the hot weather and sunshine, it’s important to make sure that your sunscreen stays on, otherwise, all of the hard work you put into selecting the perfect product is wasted.
- Water-resistant sunscreens offer sun protection in water for 40 to 80 minutes. Check the label to be sure how much protection your sunscreen offers.
- Keep in mind that if you choose to use a Physical Sunscreen you will likely have to reapply it more frequently. Physical Sunscreen can rinse, rub, and sweat off more easily than Chemical Sunscreen.
Keeping in mind these 5 fundamentals will ensure that you pick a product that will keep your skin burn-free and safe while you enjoy the outdoors. Our medical-grade products at Quintessa have the highest quality ingredients and our well-educated staff is readily available to help you select the best possible option for your individual needs. While using sunscreen is at the front of our minds during the warmer months, keep in mind that your skin, in particular, your face is exposed to UV rays year-round, so a good sunscreen should be part of your well rounded daily skincare routine.
Enjoy your safe and healthy time in the sunshine!
Here’s a fun fact: In the middle ages it was considered a sign of wealth, and ideal beauty to have pale skin. In the 1920s Coco Chanel changed the perception of bronzed skin, as having tan became associated with vacations, leisure cruises, and glamourous life. In the 1980s, the tables began to turn yet again as people became more educated about UV exposure and sun damage. Next week we will be talking about exactly how the sun affects our skin’s health.
Contributed by: Sarah Ridderbush, Licensed Esthetician and Amanda Mueller, Licensed Esthetician