Sunscreen is becoming more of a skincare necessity than a luxury these days. We can now see people putting it on even outside of summer months, but buying sunscreen and using it isn’t enough. Believe it or not, there are a handful of things that you need to consider when it comes to sunscreen.
Things To Think About When Choosing Sunscreen
There are several factors that you should put into consideration before buying a bottle of sunscreen. For instance, what is your major purpose for buying it? Will you be mainly needing protection from the harmful rays of the sun, or do you need an overall protectant for daily use? Is any regular sunscreen enough, or do you need something that can double as a skin moisturizer? Is your choice mindfully manufactured, that it does not harm you or the environment?
That’s a lot of questions, I know. Read on to learn more about these sunscreen-related considerations.
Know Your SPF
The primary reason people use sunscreen lies in its SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. We know that the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can not only cause sunburn, wrinkles, and signs of aging, but they also are believed to be carcinogenic agents.
At least SPF 30 is recommended to provide a 97% protection against UVB rays. For fair-skinned people, a higher SPF of 50 may be necessary. There is a misconception, however, that we need to look for really high SPF sunscreen in the market. The truth is, for as low as SPF 15, you can already achieve 93% protection. Doubling the SPF does not double the percentage of protection. There is no single sunscreen that provides 100% protection from the sun’s harmful rays… at least, not yet.
Check The Labels
Right off the bat, this should be standard practice for every product you buy. You check your groceries and supplement labels, so why wouldn’t you check your sunscreen bottles for harmful ingredients before slapping some on your skin?
A quick glance at the label can tell you exactly what’s in the bottle. Learn about the protection coverage it offers. Check if it gives both UVA and UVB protection. This is usually indicated by the term “broad spectrum”.
You can also tell if the sunscreen is a mineral or chemical one. Mineral, or physical, sunscreens use natural minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to deflect harmful rays from the skin. Chemical counterparts use bemotrizinol, biscotizole, avobenzone, and other chemical compounds. Although both types are effective at offering sun protection, you should ask yourself if you prefer chemicals over natural ingredients.
A good product that might fit the natural and safe bill is the TreeActiv Safflower Oleosomes Sunscreen, which can protect the skin against broad spectrum ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB). Safflower Oleosomes are rich in Vitamin E and provide immediate barrier protection, without harming the skin. This SPF 30 product is free of parabens and aluminum. It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free.
There are ingredients that you might need to avoid altogether, such as oxybenzone and methylisothiazolinone, which can lead to adverse reactions on the skin and even affect hormone levels.
Match Your Skin Type
Not all sunscreens are created equal. The most common ones are designed for oily, dry, or sensitive skin. Before buying a bottle, you should be familiar with what skin type you have.
- If you have dry skin, go for sunscreens with silicones, glycerin, oils, lanolin, and aloe. Avoid anything that contains alcohol.
- If you have oily skin, choose lightweight variants with isododecane and silica.
- If you have sensitive skin, make sure you look for “Fragrance-Free” and “Hypoallergenic” badges on the packaging. Opt for mineral sunscreens, too. Avoid any that contain preservatives and alcohol.
Choose Sunscreen That You Enjoy Using
This might sound a bit obvious, but admit it— you probably have at least a bottle of unused skincare product collecting dust in your shelf.
When getting a new sunscreen, make sure that you personally enjoy using it: Check that you love the texture, feel, and scent. Sometimes, it’s these small things that will turn your sunscreen product into a skincare staple, making skin protection fun and easy.
Protect Your Skin Using More Than Sunscreen
While sunscreen can be effective, there is never a 100% protection guarantee, be sure to incorporate daily appropriate clothing and other forms of protection (hats, umbrellas). When it comes to safeguarding yourself from sunburn and skin cancer, remember that “less is more” does not apply!
If the sun is beaming hot, stay away from woven fabrics, which have tiny holes where the sun rays can still come through. Go for synthetic fibers: acrylic, nylon, polyester, and lycra. These give more protection than semi-synthetic fabrics (rayon) and bleached cottons.
Keep in mind, having fun under the sun is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Still, this does not discount the fact that keeping yourself safe and protected should be a top priority! Stay safe - so you can keep having more fun!