Envision Eye & Aesthetics

What sunscreen is best for me?

Is your skin ready for summer?

By now you’ve heard that wearing sunscreen- even on the gloomy days– is essential for protecting the skin from cancer, sun damage and premature aging. Like many skincare products, sunscreen can be confusing. It works with various active ingredients to create a firm barrier from the sun. First and foremost, sunscreen must been applied relatively generously. The goal is to find a sunscreen that doesn’t use heavy emollients that make you look like you’ve been sitting in a sauna all day. What feels (or looks) best isn’t always the best option for your skin. With that being said, you don’t have to feel pressured to walk around with a chalky, white lifeguard nose like you would believe. Luckily, all of your burning questions are answered below so you can enjoy the summer sun, worry free.

Physical vs Chemical- What is best?

The most common types of sunscreen are physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, that create a barrier on the skin that deflect and filter out UV rays. Strive for product that leaning more towards zinc oxide when picking out a mineral sunscreen. Zinc is an anti-irritant and is tolerated by the most sensitive skin types. Chemical sunscreens contain carbon based compounds like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, and avobenzone, that react and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin. Think of chemical sunscreens as a sponge, whatever you put on your skin will absorb fast so a little product goes a long way. It spreads easily and leaves no risk of leaving spaces between the sunscreen molecules and skin after application. No one type of sunscreen is better than the other, both will work to protect your skin all year round.

Do numbers matter?

Within the UV spectrum, there are two types of rays that can damage the skin and lead to skin cancer.  It’s important to protect your skin from both types: UVB and UVA rays. UVB light has a wavelength of 290 nm to 320 nm, a much smaller range than UVA light. Although not as skin-penetrating or ever-present as UVA rays, UVB light is powerful and are the main component for producing sunburn. UVB rays also play the crucial role in development of skin cancer like malignant melanoma. UVA light, also known as long-wave light, accounts for about 95% of the UV light that reaches our skin. Although both UVA and UVB are bad for skin, UVA rays are more of a threat because a much larger percentage of them reach earth’s surface. They’re present all day long, year-round, even when it’s cloudy and the sun isn’t out.

SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and it measures the level of protection against UVB rays, or the rays responsible for sunburn. A sunscreen’s SPF number refers mainly to the amount of UVB protection it provides. It’s important to look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label, which means the product has ingredients that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. A higher SPF doesn’t indicate superior sun protection—it indicates that you will remain protected in the sun for a longer amount of time. For example, a product with an SPF 2 protects your skin just as effectively as one with an SPF of 30. However, sunscreen with SPF 2 will need to be applied more frequently.

Ultimately, the best type of sunscreen for you depends on the specific situation your skin will be put under. If you plan on performing physical activity outdoors (like hiking or jogging) you may want to opt for a chemical sunscreen as it’s more resistant to sweat. However, a physical sunscreen may be better suited for casual day-to-day activity.  Bottom line find a sunscreen you don’t mind the look and feel of, so you will be more apt to using it!

Some of our favorites available at Envision Eye & Aesthetics are:

    • Revision Skincare Intellishade Original Broad Spectrum SPF 45
    • Revision Skincare Multi-Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50
    • PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45
    • Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 36