Tag Archives: Sunscreen

Are You Forgetting Something?

Your summer checklist probably includes a few barbecues, maybe a pool party, and a juicy beach read. It’s easy for us to remember all the fun parts of summer but below are a few things to remember when heading out for your summer fun.

Woman applying hair conditioner

Hair
We don’t often think of our hair when thinking about sun care, but prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to dry, brittle strands. Plus, color-treated hair will fade much more quickly when not properly protected. There are several products on the market these days just for hair. Look for the words “UV protection” on the bottle and shop online or check out a beauty supply store for a wider selection.

Scalp Protection
You’ve likely had a sunburn on your scalp before, so you already know how painful it can be, but it’s also important to remember that skin cancer can form anywhere on our bodies, including the scalp. Sunscreens in a spray application are ideal for reaching the scalp since they aren’t greasy like lotion formulas; however, there are also powder sunscreens you can try if your hair already tends to be oily. You can also top off your look with a hat; just make sure to keep it on while you’re in the sun!

Woman wearing sunglasses

Eyes
Some of us never leave the house without sunglasses, but for those of you who are forgetting your sunnies at home, take note! The sun is bad news for eyes. Squinting, dryness, and age spots all contribute to premature aging around the eyes and repeated exposure to the sun raises your risk of eye diseases, including cancer, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Look for sunglasses that cover as much of the eye area as possible and block 99 percent or more of both UVA and UVB rays.

Ears
Did you know that your ears are the third most likely place for skin cancer to appear? When you’re applying sunscreen to your face and body, make sure to get your ears covered. Most sunscreens need to be reapplied every two hours, and you’ll want to make sure you cover your ears again at that time.

Woman applying lip balm

Lips
Parched, sunburned lips can be a thing of the past if you keep your lips protected from the sun. Keep a lip balm with you at all times that has an SPF of at least 15 and reapply often. Make sure you avoid sparkly or shiny glosses since the reflective nature of those formulas only attracts more sun to your lips.

After-Sun Care
What you do after you’re out in the sun can be just as important as what you do before. Soothing aloe vera gel or after-sun lotions can help your skin stay hydrated and promote quicker healing of burns. You can easily grow your own aloe vera plant indoors and use the gel directly from the plant!
Woman drinking water

Hydrate
You’re already drinking your eight glasses a day, and that’s great, but in warmer weather, we lose more water through perspiration and sheer exertion. Make sure you’re sipping water throughout the day and keep plenty of water-rich foods, such as watermelon, grapes, and berries around to snack on.

The summer months don’t have to leave us dried out and burnt. Keep your skin glowing and your health intact by making sure you remember these tips!

Sunburn Soothing Treatments

Woman with sunscreen Regardless of all the information we are given to protect our skin from the sun, sunburns do happen. Either we lose track of time, forget to reapply, maybe even nod off while sunbathing. Well, nobody’s perfect. And, if you do get a sunburn, you need to know that best way to treat it.

At first signs of a sunburn, you should act fast to cool it. If you are near water, you might want to take a quick dip to cool skin… with emphasis on the word ‘quick’! You don’t want to prolong exposure so it’s important to cool skin and then cover up and get out of the sun as quickly as possible. Then follow up by treating skin with cool compresses or ice water, but do not apply ice directly to sunburn. A cool shower or bath can be effective if you don’t stay in the water too long since it can have a drying effect. You also want to avoid harsh soap.

Moisturizing is also an important step in treating sunburn. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends moisturizing while skin is still damp from cooling and then follow up to keep the skin moist over the next few days. Avoid petroleum or oil based ointments which can trap heat and make the burn worse.

You also want to make sure you treat the inflammation as soon as possible. “At first sign of sunburn, taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin can help with discomfort and inflammation,” says Dr. Brackeen, who practices at the Skin Cancer Institute in Lubbock, TX. You can continue with the NSAIDs until the burn feels better. Over the counter cortisone cream, and aloe vera are both topical solutions that will help to this end. It is recommended you wear loose, soft clothing to avoid further skin irritation and stay out of the sun while sunburn is still active.

While healing from a sunburn, you want to drink plenty of fluids. “Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, so you may become dehydrated,” explains Brackeen. Rehydrate by drinking extra liquids including water and sports drinks that will replenish electrolytes at the first sign of burning and as skin heals.

woman with sunburn
Seek medical help if there are signs of severe blistering over a large portion of your body. You may also want to see a doctor if you are experiencing fever, chills, wooziness or confusion. Do not scratch or pop blisters as this may cause infection. Signs of infection include red streaks or oozing puss.

Although skin will heal from a sunburn, the skin has still been damaged. Repeat sunburns put you at a risk for skin cancer and premature aging so prevention is really the best route. Covering exposed skin, limiting sun exposure, and using an adequate amount of broad spectrum sunblock with a sufficient SPF are all key in avoiding sunburn. The SCF offers, “Remember how bad this sunburn felt, then commit to protecting yourself from the sun every day, all year long. Learn from the burn.”

Keeping Your Skin Hydrated and Radiant

Woman with glowing skin

It is so important to keep your skin healthy. Your makeup will look better, and your skin will stay looking youthful if you work to prevent damage. Follow these skin health tips to keep your skin looking hydrated and radiant this summer!

Exfoliate a Few Times a Week
Getting rid of dull, dead skin will boost radiance and help your serums and moisturizers sink deeper into the skin. Using a cleansing brush, like a Clarisonic, can be great for daily use, but a gritty exfoliator once or twice can really make a difference in your skin’s texture. Chemical exfoliators also work great if you find traditional methods too abrasive. They can be purchased as a peel-off mask to use weekly, or in toners for daily use. Don’t forget to also exfoliate your body with a body scrub!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water
This tip is obvious, but is so important, so we’re including it anyway. Nothing will give you dull, tired looking skin like being dehydrated. This is especially important in the summer because you can get dehydrated faster. Make sure you bring your water bottle to work with you so you don’t forget to drink before lunch- getting dehydrated in the morning can zap your energy as well as your skin. Coffee in the morning will only dehydrate you! Making a conscious effort to drink water throughout the day can do a lot for your skin.

Try Out Some Vitamin C
There are so many products on the market right now in every price range that are formulated with vitamin C. Because it is an antioxidant, these products can prevent skin damage on a cellular level, and promote radiance and health! Vitamin C products also normally have a great citrus smell that can perk you up in the morning!

Use a Hyaluronic Acid Mask
There is no better way to keep skin hydrated and maintain its elasticity! Using an overnight hyaluronic mask will make your skin look smooth, plump, and healthy!

Woman applying sunscreen

Get Serious About Your Sun Protection
Wearing sunscreen on your face every day is the best way to prevent skin damage. Sun damage can make your skin dry and uneven, plus it causes premature aging, so commit to using a moisturizer with SPF 30 every day. Top it with a foundation with SPF for even more protection. If you want a little color this summer, stick with bronzing primers and glowy powders!

Pack on the Glow!
Now that strobing is popular, there are tons of products out there that will give you a glowing, radiant look. We recommend starting with a nourishing moisturizer (bonus points if it has sun protection). Then, using a brightening eye cream will help cancel out any dull blue circles that can pull your face down. Using a radiance boosting primer will help your glowing look last all day. Keep the glow coming with a light, dewy BB cream and a cream bronzer to give you a sun-kissed Finally, top everything off with a subtle wash of a shimmery bronzer across your cheeks and the bridge of your nose. You’ll be left with a radiant, healthy look that’s perfect for summer!

Anatomy of the skin

Collagen and Elastin

What are Collagen and Elastin?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and it is found in the skin, bones and connective tissues. This strong, fibrous tissue connects and supports tissues including your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and organs. There are over 16 types of collagen, but about 80 percent of the collagen in your body is either type I, II or III collagen. Type I collagen is stronger than steel wool gram for gram. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissues, and your body needs it for your skin to be supple and firm.

Elastin is another essential protein that is found in connective tissue and it is another protein that is vital to your skin. Elastin is responsible for giving structure to your skin and your organs, and it allows your skin to return to its normal shape after stretching or contracting. Collagen and elastin work together to keep your skin firm and to help it retain its shape. As you age, your natural collagen levels slow – after the age of 20 you lose about one percent of your total collagen per year – and when your skin loses collagen, it also loses its elasticity. Fine lines and wrinkles appear and become far more prominent as your skin loses its collagen levels.

Woman applying sunscreen

How to Increase Collagen and Elastin
Although you can’t stop your body from losing collagen, there are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to help replenish your collagen levels.

  • Wear Sunscreen – You know that you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect you from signs of aging, but you may not know exactly how sunscreen helps you. Both UVA and UVB rays do damage to your skin by weakening the skin’s natural support of collagen and elastin. As this damage occurs, fine lines and wrinkles become more visible.
  • Use Good Skin Care – The needs of your skin change, and as you age, antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients become even more essential to your routine. Antioxidants help your skin fight off oxidative stress and they also help your skin maintain collagen and elastin levels. Retinol, the anti-aging wonder ingredient, is another important thing to look for in your skin care products. Retinol stimulates cell production, which helps to reveal newer, healthier and firmer skin.
  • Eat Well – What you put into your body appears on the outside of the body, so it’s important to fuel yourself with healthy foods. Eggs, beans and seeds are all a great addition to your diet because they all contain a high level of collagen-boosting agents. Antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranates and berries help protect damage to your body’s collagen levels.

Collagen and elastin are crucial for firm, supple and strong skin. While aging is inevitable, an overall healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and great skin care can significantly impact how your skin responds to aging. Boost your collagen and elastin by using the proper skin care ingredients and eating a diet with collagen-building foods to see skin that looks and acts younger.

Top Summer Skin Care Ingredients

Woman enjoying the summer sun

Like your wardrobe, your skin care products most likely rotate depending on the season. For some, this is not a problem at all and changes in climate do not affect the skin at all. But, for most of us, a change in season requires products that target the specific skin concerns associated with that season. Perhaps the most common problem associated with summer skin is oil production. The rise in temperature can actually melt the sebum that is in your pores, making your skin look like an oil slick. The other major concern associated with summer skin is the level of sun protection. You should definitely be using sun protection year-round, but it is a must have for the summer months. Vine Vera has rounded up the most important ingredients to look for to keep your skin looking its best during the hotter months.

Woman applying sunscreen.

SPF
Okay, we already said it but it bears repeating, you should be using an SPF all year long not only in the spring/summer. But, with the sun being out for longer periods of time, it is especially important that you use a product that contains SPF. Depending on the type of sunscreen you prefer (chemical versus physical) the SPF ingredient you should look for will change. The most common, and beneficial, SPF ingredients to look for in summer skin care products are titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone and oxybenzone. Often, products contain a mixture of many SPF ingredients in order to provide broad-spectrum coverage. For summer, try looking for a mattifying sunscreen to help control your oil production. A great way to make sure you don’t forget your SPF is to buy a moisturizer with SPF of 25 of higher built in.

Salicylic acid molecule.

Beta Hydroxy Acid
Using a BHA (salicylic acid) can help minimize the amount of oil clogging your pores. A BHA exfoliant penetrates the pore and removes built-up skin cells that also clog your pores. This helps cut down on breakouts experienced during the summer. If properly formulated, BHA exfoliants can also drastically reduce, or eliminate, blackheads while also fading discoloration from sun damage or post-acne marks. This is a product that is great year-round for those with oily skin, but benefits those with normal to dry skin in the summer as well. Aim to use your BHA exfoliant two to three times weekly. There is one caveat that comes with using a BHA: though removing skin cells helps reduce breakouts, it also does remove a bit of added sun protection as it reveals new skin. This means that it is even more critical to be using a product with SPF.

Aloe vera plant on a wooden table.

Aloe
Even if you are diligent with your sunscreen use, applying with plenty of time to sink in and reapplying every two hours, a burn is a possibility. Aloe is an excellent ingredient for soothing sun- burned skin. That isn’t it’s only purpose though. Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory and may help wounds heal more quickly. You can go straight to the source for your aloe needs, or, you can look for moisturizers with aloe or grab some aloe vera gel for sunburn relief.

Though your skin care needs are likely going to change from season to season, you don’t have to overhaul your entire bathroom counter. A few products with beneficial ingredients is all you need to help your skin deal with a change in climate. And we’ll say it again, even though it’s listed on here as a top summer ingredient, you should use an SPF every day of the year.

Best and Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

You know you need to apply sunscreen every day to protect against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. You may even be an individual that dutifully applies sunscreen before heading outside no matter what season it is. However, there are some ingredients in sunscreens that could be doing more harm than good. We’ve rounded up a list of the very worst sunscreen ingredients that you should avoid at all costs, and their counterparts, the very best and beneficial sunscreen ingredients.

Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

Chemical formula of Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone
Oxybenzone is almost always number one of the list of ingredients you should be avoiding when it comes to your sunscreen. This ingredient is in your sunscreen because it is a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin more effectively. However, while it does help other ingredients penetrate the skin, it also absorbs into the skin and can create allergic reactions or eczema-like symptoms. Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst of what oxybenzone does. Skin care experts and doctors believe that oxybenzone circulates in your system and mimics, blocks and changes the level of hormones in your body.

Octinoxate
This is one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen and like oxybenzone, it helps other chemicals be absorbed by your skin. Unlike oxybenzone, octinoxate is rarely a cause of allergic reactions, but it is still a dangerous ingredient. Most people wear sun protection in order to prevent signs of premature aging, but octinoxate may enhance premature aging as it creates free radicals. Additionally, octinoxate is another sunscreen ingredient that disrupts the hormone levels in the body.

Chemical formula of  Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl Palmitate
Also known as Vitamin A, this ingredient is an antioxidant added to sunscreens. And while antioxidants are generally great for your skin, there is a major problem when it comes to retinyl palmitate. When this antioxidant is exposed to the sun, it breaks down and creates dangerous free radicals. Free radicals are destructive and may be linked to cancer as they are toxic to cells and damage your DNA. In fact, studies conducted by the Food and Drug Administration suggest that retinyl palmitate can accelerate the development of malignant cells and skin tumors.

Best Sunscreen Ingredients

Woman applying sunscreen

Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is a common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is an inorganic compound that protects mainly against UVA rays. When used in a sunscreen, zinc oxide is a very finely milled powder and famously results in the white cast that physical sunscreens often leave.

Woman pouring sunscreen in her hands.

Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide is the other most common ingredient in physical sunscreens. It is also widely used in the cosmetic industry and has a variety of uses. The reason that titanium dioxide is most helpful in sunscreens is that it actually absorbs UV rays produced by the sun. It is a highly stable sunscreen ingredient that helps your skin remain protected from the sun.

It does not matter if you prefer physical or chemical sunscreen, but it should be worn before exposing yourself to the sun. When reading ingredients be sure to avoid the worst ingredients to keep yourself as healthy as possible. If using  chemical sunscreen be sure to apply 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every two hours or after immersing yourself in water. And, of course don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine (safely!).

Vacation Beauty Preparation

You want to look your absolute best on your vacation, but carting around your entire skin care and beauty product collection is impractical and may even be impossible. To minimize the amount of products you need to take, you can prep your skin before you travel using some of the following ingredients.

Woman applying moisturizer.

Moisturizers
Moisturizers are especially important if you are traveling by airplane because the air in planes is so dry it literally sucks all the moisture from your skin. Prior to leaving, look for moisturizers with extremely hydrating ingredients. One of the most beneficial ingredients for hydrating your skin is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid not only adds moisture, but it increases your skin’s ability to retain moisture which helps combat the dryness of plane cabin air. Additionally, you may want to look for vitamin E, which helps add moisture to your skin. Aloe, while not necessarily the most hydrating ingredient, does help soothe upset and uncomfortable skin, so it can be beneficial to invest in a product containing aloe before you travel.

Woman getting an exfoliating session in a spa

Exfoliants
Part of what keeps your skin looking it’s best is regular exfoliation. If you exfoliate regularly, you remove dead skin cells and help unclog your pores. You also stimulate cell turnover revealing newer, healthier skin cells. It isn’t just your face you want to exfoliate, your entire body can benefit from consistent exfoliation. Products with ingredients such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid help gently exfoliate your skin and can be used daily if desired. Scrubs, such as sugar or salt scrubs, should be used no more than 2-3 times each week and are most beneficial for your body. Exfoliate prior to leaving for vacation to get glowing skin before you leave.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Sun Protection
Whether you prefer a chemical or a mineral sunscreen, the fact is you need to be using sun protection. You should be using a sunscreen every single day (yes, even in the winter), but it becomes especially important in the summer months when there is increased sunshine and decreased skin coverage. While sun protection is an ingredient to look for in your moisturizers or body lotions, this is something that you need to use before and during travel. Don’t forget to protect your lips using a lip balm or conditioner that contains an SPF of at least 15.

While the above are beauty ingredients you want to look for in products prior to your vacation, there are some ingredients you should steer clear of before heading to your destination. Avoid any ingredients that increase your sensitivity to the sun, particularly if you are headed someplace sunny. The exception here is if you require a medication that may increase sensitivity to the sun in which case you should continue taking the medication as directed and increase your sunscreen application. Also steer clear of products that contain alcohol. Some people think alcohol is beneficial to the skin, especially in a toner. However, while alcohol may cut through the oil in skin, it dehydrates the skin in the process which leads your skin to produce more oil in an attempt to avoid dehydration.

Pack travel size beauty staples to decrease the amount of stuff you have to lug around. Avoid using brand new products that you have never tested on your skin before to ensure that you don’t have an adverse reaction during your vacation. Always apply sunscreen, drink plenty of water and of course, enjoy your vacation. Bon voyage!

Sunscreen Active Ingredients Explained – Vine Vera Reviews

You know that you are supposed to use sunscreen every single day even during those months where the sun is scarce. Using a sunscreen protects your skin against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Damage can be in the form of sunburn, sun spots, premature wrinkles or even skin cancer. However, what you may not know is what exactly the active ingredients in sunscreen are or how they protect your skin against all of the aforementioned types of damage. We explain here what the active ingredients in sunscreens really do.

In a document that gives consumers important information about sunscreens, the Environmental Protection Agency states that “[b]road spectrum sunscreens often contain a number of chemical ingredients that absorb UVA and UVB radiation.” In addition to chemical compounds that provide sun protection, there are also physical compounds that work a bit differently and are frequently referred to as sun blocks. The physical compounds zinc oxide and titanium dioxide scatter, reflect and absorb both UVA and UVB rays.

Woman spraying sunscreen on her legs.

Chemical Sunscreens
The majority of people applying sunscreens are using a chemical sunscreen, and these are often the most recommended by skin experts. The compounds contained in chemical sunscreens are approved by the FDA include:

  • Aminobenzoic acid (PABA) – Provides minimal UVA protection extensive UVB protection.
  • Avobenzone – Provides extensive UVA protection and limited UVB protection.
  • Cinoxate – Provides limited UVA and extensive UVB protection.
  • Dioxybenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Ecamsule – Provides extensive UVA protection limited UVB protection.
  • Homosalate – Provides minimal UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Menthyl anthranilate – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octocrylene – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Octyl salicylate – Provides minimal UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Oxybenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Padimate O – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Phenylbenzimidazole – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Sulisobenzone – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Trolamine salicylate – Provides limited UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.

The good news about chemical sunscreens is you do not have to worry about finding one with extensive UVA and extensive UVB protection because the vast majority of chemical sunscreens contain combinations of chemical compounds so that you are as protected as possible. This is why they are labeled as broad-spectrum sunscreens. Skin care experts suggest using an SPF of 30 (or higher) and always making sure that it provides broad-spectrum coverage.

Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulders.

Physical Sunscreens
There are currently two active ingredients approved by the FDA. They are:

  • Titanium dioxide – Provides considerable UVA protection and extensive UVB protection.
  • Zinc oxide – Provides extensive protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

One of the reasons that these active ingredients are not as popular as their chemical counterparts is the application, the appearance and the potential for breakouts. Still, these physical ingredients are beneficial protection from both UVA and UVB rays and these work immediately upon application whereas chemical sunscreens take about 20 to 30 minutes to absorb into the skin.

Skin care experts, while often recommending chemical sunscreens, remind you that the only effective sunscreen is the one that you wear. Choose the type of sun protection that makes the most sense for your skin and your lifestyle and apply before any sun exposure.

Top Summer Skin Care Ingredients – Vine Vera Reviews

Summer is seriously just around the corner and it is time to start re-evaluating your skin care routine. Sure, you may need some of the same products you use year-round, but summer skin does have a certain set of needs to be aware of. Here are a few of the most beneficial summer skin care ingredients to be on the lookout for.

Woman applying sunscreen.

Sun Protection
You knew we were going to say something about sun protection and sunscreen. And, you also know that you should be applying sun protection to both your face and body no matter what season it is. However, if you don’t follow the rule of year-round sun care, it is especially important to look for ingredients aimed at sun protection during the summer. The sun is out more frequently, the days last longer and you have more skin exposed in warmer weather, all of which add up to the fact that sun protection is an absolute necessity. Two of the most common skin care ingredients to watch for include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Oranges rolling out of a medicine bottle. Vitamin C Concept.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another skin care ingredient that is majorly beneficial during the entire year, but especially so during the summer. Vitamin C, when applied topically, aids in collagen formation and growth which helps keep your skin supple and radiant. Additionally, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology published a study online that states vitamin C also helps prevent the formation of sunburn cells. Still, these are not the only benefits in using a skin care formulation that includes vitamin C: other benefits include improved skin elasticity, reduction of fine lines and visible improvements against photo-damaged skin (discolored skin).

Hot coffee in a cup with coffee beans scattered on the table. q

Caffeine
You may have noticed that caffeine is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient when it comes to skin care. There are a few reasons for this and the most relevant reason with regards to summer skin care includes the fact that caffeine has a sunscreen effect when applied topically. While caffeine mimics sunscreen and provide a bit of added protection, it is not a substitute for traditional sun protection. In addition, recent studies have found that when used on cells that had UV damage, caffeine was able to destroy the damaged cells without any harm to the surrounding healthy cells.

BHA representation.

Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHAs)
Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids are beneficial chemical exfoliants, but when summer rolls around it is usually advised to stick with a beta hydroxy acid exfoliant than AHAs. This is because many AHAs, such as glycolic or lactic acids, increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and BHAs do not. Using a BHA is helpful during summer because the warmer weather tends to lead to increased sebum (oil) production and a BHA exfoliant helps to clear pores of sebum and other debris such as dead skin cells.

Another important thing to remember during summer when it comes to skin care is to drink plenty of liquids. Not only does water help prevent your body from becoming dehydrated, it also helps keep your skin hydrated as well.

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen – Vine Vera Reviews

Woman with sunscreen on her back in a beach.

With summer approaching rapidly the importance of applying a sunscreen increases. And you don’t need to put a whole lot of thought into the brand you choose because sunscreen is sunscreen, right? Not entirely. There are actually two major types of sunscreens:  physical and chemical. Both protect against UV damage, but the way in which they work differs. Sunscreens do exist that are a hybrid of both types of sun blockers containing physical and chemical sunscreens. Vine Vera reviews both physical and chemical sunscreens to help you learn which sunscreen suits your needs best.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Physical Sunscreen
Physical sunscreens are also known as sunblock or inorganic sunscreen and are generally considered safe and are approved by the FDA. Physical sunscreens tend to be thick and may leave a white cast on the skin. The UV filters in physical sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide; both are natural minerals ground into a fine powder. Zinc oxide provides complete protection from the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide protects against UVB rays, but not the entire UVA spectrum. One of the advantages to using a physical sunscreen is that it begins blocking harmful UV rays immediately upon application. Physical sunscreens work by blocking or deflecting the sun’s rays. While physical sunscreens do provide immediate blocking protection, they also rub off more easily than chemical sunscreens. Additionally, if spending an extended time in the sun, physical sunscreens must be applied more frequently than chemical sunscreens. A disadvantage to physical sunscreens is that titanium dioxide may increase blemishes on your skin. If mineral makeup causes you to break out, it’s most likely due to the titanium dioxide, and problematic skin may result from using a physical sunscreen.

Woman applying sunscreen in a beach.

Chemical Sunscreen
Chemical sunscreen is also known as organic sunscreen and they work mainly by absorbing the sun’s harmful rays. Some of the UV filters used in chemical sunscreen work by scattering the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens are often more liquid than physical sunscreens, and can feel quite greasy on the skin. The possible UV filters in chemical sunscreen include:

  • 4-MBC
  • Avobenzone
  • Helioplex
  • Homosalate
  • Mexoryl SX and XL
  • Octisalate
  • Otinoxate
  • Octylcrylene
  • Tinosorb S and M
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Uvinul T 150

Some downsides to chemical sunscreen include the potential for skin irritation and damage, increased free radical damage and many of the filters have not been FDA approved yet. These UV filters have been approved in areas such as Europe and Asia. Additionally, chemical sunscreens tend to take more time to absorb into your skin. Dr. Craig Burhart, associate professor of Dermatology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was quoted in an article by the Wall Street Journal advises the use of physical sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens. Still, he says that the best sunscreen is the one that you actually use. He is quoted as saying “[w]hether it’s a chemical or zinc oxide or titanium dioxide product, I want you to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every time you go outside, and I want you to apply it every two hours while you’re exposed to the sun.”

The bottom line is that no matter what your preference is, to protect your skin you must apply sunscreen each and every time you head outside so you can enjoy the sun safely.