Choosing the Best Sunscreen For Your Skin

July 15, 2014
daughter and mother in beach with sunscreen

During the days of summer, sunscreen sales reach a fevered pitch; everyone going to the beach, water parks, or hiking stock up on plenty of UV (ultraviolet ray) protection. But what many don’t realize is that sunscreen isn’t necessary just on the hottest and brightest of days, but every day, all year long. Even when the skies are overcast, and the temperature is low, sunscreen protects you from UV rays that are invisible to the eye, but are present every day.

Sunscreen has come a long way from the chemical laden, strong smelling gunk that it once was. Cosmetic and skin care companies have spent the past few decades perfecting weightless environmentally friendly sunscreens that not only protect skin from sun damage, but also work to hydrate and nourish your skin when you wear it.

There are several types of sunscreens available on the market today, and each one is unique in its own way. There is no “one type fits all” UV protection, and each individual must check ingredients, strength of protection, and type of application when they are searching for an everyday sunscreen.

Most Common Types of Sunscreen

• Lightweight Sunscreen—Most lightweight sunscreens come in aerosol form, and are formulated to not be greasy or heavy. They can come in any strength, and are either scentless or made to smell like perfumes. There are also lightweight sunscreens in a cream form that quickly absorb into the skin and leave no residue. I prefer the creamy type since some aerosols are not good for the environment.

• Tinted Sunscreen—Tinted sunscreen is lightweight cream sunscreen that has been colored to double as a concealer or foundation. Sometimes with tinted sunscreen, there is no need to wear both sunscreen and makeup, since they have been combined. This type of sunscreen is my favorite for everyday use and it can be used under or over makeup.

• Sunscreen Wipes—For people with children, or who are constantly busy, sunscreen wipes are perfect. They are applied to the skin via disposable clothes that can be rubbed directly onto any part of the body, and then thrown away. You would have to make sure to reapply constantly, also look for wipes that contain mineral sunscreen.

• Water Resistant Sunscreen—Water resistant sunscreens can come in any form, and are best for people who are planning to be in the water, or who are playing a physically demanding sport where they are going to sweat.

• Organic/Chemical Free Sunscreen—In the past few years, there has been a big move towards organic sunscreens that are made from only ingredients found in nature like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural minerals. Sunscreens can be damaging to the environment, especially to marine life, but organic sunscreens are made of materials that won’t harm nature or wildlife. This type of sunscreen won’t get absorbed into your system either.

Child-Friendly Sunscreen–Throughout our lives, our skin changes drastically. Sunscreens that are suitable for grownups are not safe for babies and children. Special types of sunscreen are produced that will not harm baby’s fragile skin, and will not burn or harm their eyes. The best sunscreens that are suitable for babies and children would only contain natural zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are natural minerals.

Here at the Health and Skin Center of Miami we are proud to offer about 10 different types of sunscreen formulations. Having that many formulations is an advantage because we are sure that we would find the right one for your skin type.

No matter what type of sunscreen you ultimately choose, remember that next to smoking, exposing yourself to UV rays is THE most damaging thing you can do to your skin. Make sunscreen a part of your daily skin regiment, and avoid wrinkles, fine lines, sun spots, and dehydrated skin. Childhood is the time when your skin is most vulnerable, so using protection daily should begin in the earliest years. Regularly apply sunscreen to children, as well as to yourself, and avoid future skin-damage, as well as life threatening diseases like skin cancer.

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