Hi, this is Dr. Davis for Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing.
I wanted to talk to you about How to Choose a Sunscreen. It can be overwhelming. You walk into a store and you see hundreds of items on the shelves, but how do you even begin to choose.
Number one, the number you look for tells you how long that sunscreen is going to work. So if you’ve got a 30 it will work twice as long as a 15. Use SPF 30 or higher.
You also need to be mindful of what the ingredients are. There are two main groups.
(1) Physical Blockers (reflectors)
Sits on the surface of your skin and creates a physical barrier to UV rays that blocks/reflects them away from the skin.
- Works right away on both UVA & UVB rays, no need to apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Ingredients: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
- Good for sensitive skin
(2) Chemical Absorbers
Creates a chemical reaction within the skin that allows the sunscreen to absorb UV before it penetrates the skin.
- Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure.
- Ingredients: octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), homosalate, and octocrylene absorb UVB, while oxybenzone, avobenzone and ecamsule absorb UVA.
These two categories are for two different types of skin.
Sensitive skin likes the physical sunscreen – great choices – Vanicream 60, super compatible with sensitive skin. Physical Sun Blocker – Not going to be as likely to sting as the sunscreens that have some chemical sunscreen ingredients. But, the chemical sunscreen ingredients last longer, they soak in, they’re better for sports and water resistance. So, look for a good high SPF number, 30 or higher and then maybe a combination of chemical and physical if you’re not really sure which one is right for you. If you’re sensitive, stick to physical. If you’re really going to be working out, get the chemical ones. That at lease gives you a starting point.
Brand wise, if you like organic, Soleo is an Australian brand – all physical so that should be compatible with most people’s skin. We talked about Vanicream. Don’t forget your lips – Fallene LipCotz. Physical sunscreen for the lips, especially men, is super important. That lower lip we often see skin cancer. Women wear lip products more, lip balms and lipsticks so we tend to have more natural sun protection, men do not. Blue Lizard, the fun thing is that the color changes when Ultraviolet light hits it so you know you need it when the bottle is blue. It’s a mixture of chemical and physical.
That gives you a starting point.
Don’t forget 1 ounce is what you need, 2 tablespoons or basically a shot glass full. Way more than you think you need. You’ve got to get a nice even coating and re-apply every couple of hours, especially in the heat of the day, especially if you’re sweating.
So Don’t Forget to Be SunAWARE!
Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.