How to choose a sunscreen for you and your family
I’ve heard that many of you are going away soon, so it seemed like a good time to talk about sun protection. There is such a wide range of sunscreens to choose from these days, and it’s often hard to know what to look for, and whether price is an indication of quality.
Why do we need sun protection at all?
The sunlight that reaches us is made up of two types of harmful radiation rays: long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). Essentially, UVA rays can age us and UVB rays can burn us. Overexposure to either can damage the skin.
Unlike UVA rays, UVB these rays aren’t always the same strength year round and they’re more prevalent in the summer months.
The main decision you need to make about sun protection
The main decision to make is whether to choose a physical sunscreen or a chemical one.
Physical sunscreens have either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as their main active ingredient. Zinc oxide is the main ingredient in nappy rash cream which shows you how gentle it is.
Physical sunscreens work by deflecting the sun’s rays away from the skin. They are great for:
– Sensitive skin
– Babies and young children
– People with skin issues (eczema, psoriasis etc)
Positives: They start working immediately on application
Negatives: They can be thick thick and harder to apply and can leave white marks on the skin. Also, because it sits on the skin, physical sunscreen is much more likely to rub off easily to needs so be reapplied throughout the day.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing and neutralising the suns rays. Despite the term ‘chemical’ they are actually quite safe and don’t tend to be sticky and viscous like some physical sunscreens. They are best for:
– Wearing under make-up
– If you’re going swimming (it won’t rub off as easily as physical sunscreens)
– If you are looking for sun protection with skincare benefits
Positives: They feel much lighter to use than physical sunscreens and are also great as a make up base or primer. They often also include nourishing or hydrating skincare ingredients.
Negatives: Some chemical filters can be irritating to the skin, so if you have any sensitivities or are prone to allergies, probably best to look for a sunscreen with zinc oxide instead. You also have to wait 20 minutes for chemical sunscreens to activate.
Here are my top three sun protection recommendations:
1. Sunsense Kids and Sensitive ranges
Great for both children and adults that have sensitive skin or are allergic to some sunscreen preservatives or fragrances
2. La Roche Posay Anti-Shine range
Great for oily/combination skin as well as for men’s sun protection. It gives a matte look to the skin and doesn’t clog pores.
3. Ultrasun Family SPF 30 and Ultra SPF 50
The perfect all-rounder for the whole family, especially if you’re looking for a more natural sun protection as it contains 0% emulsifiers, fragrances or preservatives.
We stock Ultrasun at Moon and Stars Beauty, so please feel free to pop in before your holiday and get advice on best sunscreen for your skin.