There is a lot of confusion when choosing a sunscreen, “What number SPF should I use?”, “Is the number of SPF all I should be looking for?”, “What is a chemical block versus a physical block?” It’s enough to drive the consumer batty and make them not want to use it!
Here’s what you need to know and what to look for:
Whether you are a skin care guru or you are comfortable applying your two products for the day, the number one product you should have and use daily is your sunscreen. I cannot stress that enough! Sunscreen companies have gone crazy with the SPF number on the front of the bottle to make it seem as if it is working harder and longer than a smaller number SPF. Truth is SPF 30-50 is more than adequate; FDA guidelines have changed the rule of selling anything higher. Any and all higher SPF you see on the shelves will eventually fade out. Sunscreen should have UVA and UVB protection, meaning you are protected from the aging sun rays as well as the burning rays. Another key factor is physical blocks and chemical blocks. Although chemical blocks have been tested to be safe, they can still cause minor irritation in some skin types. Look for a sunscreen with physical blocks such as Titanium and Zinc. Zinc is a natural resource found in our environment and new formulas have been micronized to supply a sheerer texture. Make sure there is a minimum of 6% zinc or titanium when choosing your sunscreen.
Rule of thumb: Physical blocks repel, chemicals absorb.
Most people in the summer apply their sunscreen in the morning, head off to the beach or an outdoor event, have full sun exposure for hours on end and then wonder “How did I get so burned or tan?” (If I had a dime for every time I heard that!) Truth is, if you are going to be in the sun for long periods of time, it is recommended to re-apply every three hours, and wearing a hat wouldn’t be a bad idea to avoid all the damage being done! Same holds true for swimming in the pool: look for a water-resistant sunscreen, but keep in mind it is not waterproof so re-application is advised.
One of my favorite sunscreens is the Pure Protection from LIPSG. It is a sheer physical sunscreen with SPF 50. This broad UVA and UVB sunscreen is chemical free and has 12% micronized zinc oxide. It is also fortified with antioxidants such as Green Tea, Vitamin C and Co-Q10 for added protection and very calming to the skin. This non-comedogenic, sheer formula is a must have for all skin types!
Toni Lee Roldan-Ortiz
Lead Medical Aesthetican