Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Summer is coming up and protecting your exposed skin is a must. With so many different sunscreens to choose from, how do you know which one is the best choice?
Let’s first start with a little background on the sun’s rays. There are three main types of rays emitted from the sun: UVA, UVB, and UVC. You probably haven’t heard of UVC, which is actually the most dangerous type! Luckily, UVC rays never reach us - they are filtered out by our atmospheric ozone layer.
UVA rays have the longest wavelength, so they are capable of penetrating past the dermis and damaging both our skin and immune system. This damage leads to wrinkles and premature aging, which is also known as “photo aging”. A = Aging.
UVB rays are slightly shorter in wavelength, and get filtered out a little by the ozone layer. However, they can still penetrate the skin, causing sunburn and eventually skin cancer. B = Burns.
It is very important to have a broad-based sunscreen that will protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
There are two kinds of sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
PHYSICAL BLOCKERS: A sunscreen made with a physical blocker acts like a mirrored shield, reflecting the sun's rays away. This type of sunscreen physically bounces the rays off of your skin, preventing them from penetrating the dermis. Physical blockers are formulated with FDA-approved Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Since this formula sits on top of the skin as a barrier, it is often tinted or used in makeup. This is a good choice for everyday protection, especially under makeup.
CHEMICAL BLOCKERS: Another way to protect your skin is by allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate the skin, but chemically changing their properties. Chemical blockers work by chemically converting UVA and UVB rays to heat, which is then released by the body. This type of sunscreen is a good choice for those that are playing a sport, exercising or swimming in the sun.
I personally use a physical blocker for my everyday protection on my face and a chemical blocker on my body.