Did you know the number one anti-aging product is sunscreen? Sunscreen helps to prevent sun damage, aging skin, skin cancer, and hyperpigmentation. You may know how important it is, but with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out the best one for you or your family members. In this post, I go into a deep dive into the differences between the many options available, and hopefully, you walk away understanding how they are different. 

The sun can keep us healthy.

A little sun can be a vital way to keep our bodies healthy, and it provides an excellent natural way to get Vitamin D which helps our bones develop when we are young and stay strong when we are older. 

What does SPF mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and measures how long a sunscreen will protect you from damaging rays. An SPF 30 will save you 30 times longer from burning your skin in the sun than without wearing sunscreen. As the SPF number goes up, it offers more extended protection up to a point. 

UVA (Ultra Violet A ) and UVB (Ultra Violet B) Rays 

Both types of Ultraviolet rays can cause skin damage on a cellular level. 

Your body wants to protect itself and adds pigment to the skin. UVA rays are longer rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and are responsible for creating long-term aging effects by damaging it and creating wrinkles, tanning, and even skin cancers. UVB rays are shorter waves that cause immediate damage in the form of sunburns and tanning to the skin and can cause skin cancers. 

Physical or Mineral Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens, or Mineral sunscreens, lie on the skin’s surface and act as a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. The active ingredients are zinc oxide or titanium oxide and offer protection against UVA and UVB rays, making it a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens have undergone rigorous testing, are deemed safe by the FDA, and have been around longer. When applied, mineral sunscreen goes on with a white cast on the skin. Modern-day sunscreens come in a tinted form that blends into the skin easier than mineral sunscreens of the past and works better to keep your skin cool. Mineral or physical is the best option for all skin types, including acne and sensitive skin types. 

Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin, soak the UV rays from the sun, and convert the rays to heat, and it’s released from the body to protect your skin. Chemical sunscreens contain non-natural ingredients. You will need to wait 20-30 minutes for the sunscreen to absorb into the skin before going out into the sun to get the full benefit of sunscreen protection. If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, remember that the chemical sunscreen heats the body and that heat can make you more prone to hyperpigmentation. 

Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin easier than physical sunscreens and are a good option for everyday use. If you need water or sweat-resistant sunscreen, a chemical sunscreen may be a better option for you and your skin. 

Final thoughts

When looking for sunscreen, purchase one at least 30 SPF or higher. When in doubt about which option may be best for you, it’s always advisable to order a trial size to see how your skin responds. If you order a decent size, you can try it for long enough to know if it’s the right option for your skin. Make sure whatever sunscreen you purchase is a broad-spectrum sunscreen. 

Have questions? I’m here to help! 


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