How can wearing sunscreen be wrong? There’s a lot of information and hype out there about sunscreens, and their dangers, however, weighing up the benefits vs dangers ratio, it’s far more dangerous for our skin (in the form of skin cancer) not to use sunscreen.
Having said that, not all sunscreens and sunscreen ingredients are the same. There are two types of sunscreen filters used, namely chemical and physical/mineral filters.
- Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin and (very simply put) protect you by absorbing the sun’s rays. On the sunscreen label, you will see these with names like Tinosorb, Mexoryl SX and SL, avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate and octisalate.
What you need to know:
- Mineral filters sit on the skin’s surface, reflecting the sun’s rays away from your skin. The sunscreen should contain both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to cover the UVA and UVB spectrum.
just because a chemical filter is absorbed into your skin, this doesn’t mean it’s bad. Mexoryls are very stable, for example, and don’t break down.
The chemical filters you should avoid – especially if you have skin that is prone to allergies, acne and rosacea - include PABA and oxybenzone, which have been associated with skin reactions. People with sensitive skin should also check the sunscreen label for alcohol (usually found in gels) and fragrance.
Mineral sunscreens are used in sunscreens for kids and sensitive skin because they're photostable, don’t break down, and because they sit on the skin’s surface.
Our advice for potentially reactive skin
: Stick to proven sun care brands that cater specially for sensitive skin, such as La Roche Posay, Avène, Bioderma, BioNike, Heliocare and Eucerin.
It’s important to note that you need to use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, including both UVA and UVB protective agents, to get adequate protection. Any other option just won’t do the job. This is a good overview of sunscreens
for different skin types.
Read More. 12 Important Things You May Not Know About Sunscreen (But Need To)