How to choose the sunscreen that's right for you
Summer 2020 has already started! Obviously you should use sunscreen all year round, but, it is even more important to use it during the summer: when the days get longer, the sun's rays are stronger and we spend more time outdoors.
Find out how to choose the sunscreens that suit you
When choosing your sunscreen, be sure to read the label carefully before purchasing.
- Always choose a sun product with "broad spectrum" protection. The sunscreens with this label protect against UVA and UVB rays. All products reported as - sunscreen - protect against UVB rays, the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. But UVA rays also contribute to the appearance of cancers and premature aging of the skin. Only products that pass certain tests and meet certain requirements can be labeled "broad spectrum". In products not labeled as broad spectrum, it must be reported that these protect only from sunburn, not from skin tumors or skin aging.
- Make sure the sunscreen has a protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. The SPF number is the level of protection that sunscreen provides from UVB rays. The higher the SPF numbers, the greater the protection. SPF 15 sun filters filter about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sun filters filter about 97%, SPF 50 sun filters about 98% and SPF 100 about 99%. Remember that a sunscreen with an SPF lower than 15 only protects against sunburn, not against skin tumors or skin aging.
- "Water resistant" does not mean "waterproof". No sunscreen is completely waterproof or "sweat resistant". Products marked as water resistant must specify whether their duration on the skin is 40 minutes or 80 minutes in contact with water or in sweating presence. Remember to apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and even more often if you are swimming or exercising.
After carefully reading the sunscreen label you are interested in, you can focus on the type of sunscreen product you want and other factors.
Pump, roll-on or spray?
As we have seen, the use of sunscreen is essential. Sunscreen must be applied to every part of the body. Spreading the product evenly is easier to achieve thanks to the products with pump dispenser. On the contrary, roll-on products are not recommended because using them tends to apply much less product. For the spray version it is recommended to apply a lot of product for adequate coverage.
How to avoid shiny and oily skin
Grease is perhaps the most annoying thing about sunscreen for many of us. But there are non-greasy formulations, often marketed as "dry-touch" or "matte finish". These products can be an excellent choice if the greasiness of sun protection becomes the main barrier to the use of sun protection. The skin may appear shiny immediately after applying the product. But it tends to get a matte finish within 10-20 minutes, when sunscreen settles in the epidermis.
Sensitive or imperfect skin: which sunscreen to choose?
Sensitive skin is constantly irritated by a wide variety of wrong products and external factors. You could therefore choose sunscreens that contain ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which partially reflect and also absorb UV rays.
So-called physical blockers are very unlikely to cause allergic reactions or irritation. But they will appear white on the skin, unless you choose a formulation containing nanometer-sized particles, which are invisible on the skin. If your skin is prone to acne, the best options are sunscreen in lotion or gel, rather than creams and products marked without oils or non-comedogenic. Sensitive and acne prone skin often appears in limited areas such as the face and neck, so it may be useful to use a specific sunscreen for these areas and a different one for the rest of the body.
As far as sunscreen allergies are concerned, they are quite rare but affect up to 3% of people. They are generally caused by a single component present among the ingredients of the solar product, and usually they are preservatives or perfumes.
Which sunscreen to choose to protect children?
One of a parent's constant concerns in the summer are the effects of UV exposure. And, we know very well how young children are impatient with sunscreen.
Sunscreens for children are to be used every day and must be applied many times a day. In addition, many sunscreens for children are made with sensitive skin in mind, as skin sensitivity is more common in younger children. If the baby's skin does not react with itching or burning, adult sunscreens are also fine.
However, children under the age of six months need a physical sunblock.
What we absolutely must not do
Home-made products with homemade sunscreens are banned. Natural oils and other ingredients promoted in recipes found online always have a low SPF. And, since they have not been tested, they can react unpredictably on contact with the skin.
Well, now you just have to choose the most suitable sunscreen and enjoy the summer!