Sunscreen and Ingredient Tips – by Traci Drury

Sunscreen is not an exciting subject.  People either don’t mind using it or don’t use it at all.  While porcelain skin is beautiful, most prefer a sunkissed look.  And any sunscreen will work, right?  Well, no, not really.  Sunscreen isn’t just for preventing those ugly brown spots and wrinkles, but also to (hopefully) prevent against skin cancer.

There are so many choices for sunscreen that it’s a little overwhelming.  Who hasn’t stood in the aisle and felt confused?  The up side to this means you have options and can choose one that suits your skin.  Let’s keep it as short as possible while providing some helpful information.

Sunscreen Ingredients                                                        Sunscreen

The concern I’ve seen the most is regarding the face and breaking out.  My recommendation for sensitive or acne-prone skin is to use a mineral sunscreen.  Look for the “Active Ingredients” which are usually found at the top of the box or bottle.  A mineral sunscreen will list either Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (or both).  Shiseido, Kate Somerville and La Roche Posay have excellent mineral sunblock products.  I also like Neutrogena pure & free liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 and the brand Equitance.  If you’re concerned about Zinc Oxide leaving a white color on the skin try a tinted sunscreen.  This isn’t a foundation, it’s sunscreen with a tint.  I’ve tried (and like) tinted sunscreen by Clarins, La Roche Posay and EltaMD Sunscreen.  The majority of sunscreens sold at stores contain chemical sunblock ingredients.  The most common ingredient is avobenzone.  There will likely be more than one active ingredient listed in addition to the avobenzone. Some of the other common chemical ingredients are oxybenzone, octisalate or octinoxate.  Chantecaille has a very good sunscreen with avobenzone that leaves a matte feeling on my skin.

Here are a few pointers:

*  Look for “Broad Spectrum” on the bottle/container (usually found on the front).

*  The lowest recommended amount of SPF is 15, but I always recommend a minimum of SPF 30 for daily use and SPF 50 if you will be outdoors.

*  Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before needed.

*  If you know you won’t remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours while in the sun then think of something that will remind you.  For example, set a reminder on the calendar of your phone (or with Siri if you have an iPhone).

*  Water resistant does not mean water proof.  This type of sunscreen is good for very hot days, playing sports, etc.

*  Sunscreen only works if used as directed.

***Reminder:  We have sun exposure in a car, on an airplane and if you sit in an office anywhere near a window.

Do you have any sunscreen tips or products you like?  Let us know!

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4 comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. The who SPF things confuses me sometimes. If I am wearing an SPF 50 and then apply foundation, am I still protected? Or is it better to use foundation with SPF? Right now I’m taking a break from my favorite foundation (densillis) and using a bb cream that says SPF 45++++. What do the plus’ mean?

    • Thank you for your questions! Your concerns are common and yes, daily SPF can be confusing. Think of SPF and foundation as separate products – usually we apply more sunscreen (or moisturizer with sunscreen) than we do foundation so if you rely on the latter there won’t be enough protection. The SPF+’s come from Europe. Because these are common questions and concerns I’m going to post something addressing these and some other items with need more detail.

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