Summer Skin Care: Sunscreen 101
Perhaps the most neglected part of our skin care routines is applying sunscreen. Many only apply when it’s sunny outside. Others believe that darker skin doesn’t require sun protection, as the natural melanin will prevent the absorption of harmful ultraviolet lights. Some feel as if sunscreen is too greasy for acne-prone skin. What’s your excuse?
Unfortunately, these misconceptions are stopping you from protecting your skin. The result? Acne, photo aging, and skin cancer.
Why Use Sunscreen?
Regardless of rain or shine, the sun emits rays that can harm the body. When you’re over-exposed to these rays, the damage on the skin and body can be irreversible and even life-threatening.
There are two types of very harmful rays. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays prematurely age the skin, and Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) cause sunburns or skin cancer. Putting on sunscreen is a crucial measure to protect yourself from the harmful effects UVA/UVB rays on your skin health.
Do you know? Applying sunscreen every day has the other benefits, too. First of all, sunscreen can help prevent acne by regulating the skin’s sebum production that UV rays often disrupt. This means you’ll get fewer pimples.
Secondly, when using active ingredients, like AHAs, BHAs, and retinoids, to treat acne, the skin is more photosensitive. To protect the skin during its healing process, applying and reapplying sunscreen is a must.
Fear you may have a skin condition that you want to address? Contact one of our board-certified dermatologists today!
Different Types of Sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreen available in our markets today: chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens.
Chemical sunscreens guard your skin by absorbing UV rays, and then converting them into heat within the skin. They are smooth, easy to apply, and don’t leave that pesky white cast on our skin. While they’re essentially invisible and sit well under makeup, chemical sunscreens can clog your pores and cause acne. Also, by heating up the skin, they create ideal conditions for bacteria to grow.
Physical sunscreens physically block UV rays. These are those typical, thick, white-cast leaving sunscreens that may not sit well under makeup, but do an effective job in protecting the skin. Physical sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide, an ingredient that can decrease redness, soothe the skin, and are ideal for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
What To Avoid in Sunscreens
Understanding what ingredients in sunscreens can be a challenge. Ingredient lists are long and far too medical for the average-Joe to comprehend. These are ingredients to absolutely avoid when shopping for sun protection:
Oxybenzone or Benzene-3 is highly irritating to the skin and when applied, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream, upsetting the body’s natural hormone levels.
This ingredient, when exposed to sunlight, breaks down. It can damage skin cells, DNA cells, and even create skin tumors.
Fragrance or Alcohol
Fragrances and alcohol can dry the skin and irritate it further. Fortunately, most physical sunscreens do not incorporate either of these ingredients in their formulas.
Now that you have a basic understanding of sunscreens and what ingredients can cause more harm than good, it’s time to incorporate sun protection into your daily skin routine. If you’re suffering from sunburns or suspect skin cancer, ask an online dermatologist today.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence.