With summer here, it is more important than ever to be lathering up with sun protection every time you leave the house. With so many sunscreens out there, it is hard to know which one is right for you. The key is to choose a sunscreen that you will use and that offers the following characteristics:
Below are a few recommendations for sunscreens based on your own skin and its needs.
#1 Brown spots or melasma – Use a sunscreen that not only blocks out harmful UV rays but also treats pigment changes. MelaShade™ Anti-oxidant Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 contains the physical blockers titanium and zinc oxide, as well as Vitamins C, E, and ferulic acid which work to brighten the appearance of the skin by lightening brown spots. SkinCare Prescription Broad Spectrum Sun Protection with SPF 70 provides broad spectrum coverage with antioxidants to brighten the appearance of your skin.
#2 Acne prone skin – Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen contains Helioplex®, which is a patented technology that provides broad spectrum protection, while being ultra-light and non-comedogenic. La Roche Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen is non-greasy and has a dry finish texture that won’t clog pores either. The active ingredient Mexoryl SX® has also been specifically approved by the FDA for broad spectrum protection.
#3 Sensitive skin – Be careful about fragrances, dyes, preservatives, alcohol, and chemical sunscreen agents that can aggravate the skin and may cause allergic reactions. It is best to use a sunscreen that contains a natural physical sun blocker, such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide, as these are gentler on the skin. La Roche Posay Antihelios 50 Mineral Ultra-Light Sunscreen contains a patent-pending mineral sun filter and antioxidant complex called Cell-Ox Shield, which contains zinc oxide and an ingredient from the plant Senna Alata. Vanicream Sensitive Skin Sunscreen is specifically designed for those with ultrasensitive skin: it contains zinc oxide and is free of dyes, PABA, oxybenzone, fragrances, lanolin, formaldehyde, parabens and other aggravating preservatives.
#4 Baby skin – The AAD recommends the use of sunscreens in babies over the age of 6 months, whose skin is more sensitive than adults’. There are several brands that offer baby sunscreens including Neutrogena and Aveeno. Neutrogena Pure & Free® Baby Sunscreen is made from 100% naturally sourced sunscreen ingredients. Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Sunscreen contains MineralGuard Technology with 100% naturally sourced sunscreen ingredients and skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal. Both are available as a lotion or face stick for easy use.
#5 Sports – Using a sunscreen that is water and sweat resistant is important when exercising. Target brand Up & Up Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30 is an excellent choice and a cheap buy.
There are many more wonderful brands besides those mentioned above. Again, the key is to apply a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher, and water resistant. Choose one that you like and use it every day with frequent re-applications!!
For more information, visit the American Academy of Dermatology website which has a lot of information on sunscreens, their use and safety, and how to read the labels to select the product that is right for you. You can also contact one of our dermatologists at SkinCare Physicians.
Note: This blog post does not cover sunscreens with SPF 15 or under.