The sunscreen aisle can be intimidating. So many brands, sprays, lotions…it can be overwhelming. Don’t worry! Scratch is here to help!
Don’t know why you need sunscreen? Check out this blog by yours truly for info on basic sun protection.
The first thing you need to know is that there are two basic types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. Dr. Doris J. Day, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center describes it this way:
A chemical sunscreen is absorbed by the skin. Sunlight is deactivated or degraded after contact with the organic chemicals contained in the sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens typically contain a range of ingredients like benzones, aminobenzoic acid and cinnamates that, together, protect against UVA and UVB.
A physical block, in contrast, sits on the skin’s surface and contains inorganic compounds like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that are not absorbed into the skin. In this case, light is either absorbed into sunblock material or reflected away from the skin, similar to a mirror or aluminum foil. Ingredients in physical sunblocks protect against both UVA and UVB and, because they are not absorbed into the skin, they are nonirritating and nonallergenic.
For those of your with acne-prone or sensitive skin, take note that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are nonallergenic and non-comedogenic.
And remember to pick a broad spectrum sunscreen to block UVA and UVB rays. Choose a spectrum with a SPF rating of 30 or higher – that’s the minimum that dermatologists recommend. You’ll need about a nickel’s worth for your face and two shot glasses’ worth for you whole body. But sunscreen only lasts about 2 hours so remember to reapply! I’d recommend sunscreens by either Neutrogena or La Roche-Posay. If you’re going to be sweatin’, grab yourself waterproof sunscreen.
More of a visual learner? Check out the image below!