In previous posts, we’ve discussed the general differences between chemical and physical sunscreens, and how much SPF is enough, but how do you know what sunscreen is ideal for your skin, and what factors you need to consider before making a purchase?
A Different Way To Think About Sunscreen
Think about what you’re going to be doing when using sunscreen. Just like you have different clothes for different seasons and occasions, you shouldn’t use the same sunscreen for every situation. That would be like wearing a winter coat to the beach or shorts to build a snowman. Keep two or three types of sunscreen that you can use for different purposes.
If you’re constantly in and out of the office you want sunscreen that’s barely visible but still provides adequate protection, there are lighter sunscreens that are more cosmetic in nature. However, this wouldn’t be ideal for a day at the beach.
On the other hand, if you plan to go swimming in a lake or mow the lawn, you’ll want to go with a highly water-resistant sunscreen, which tends to be heavier and more noticeable. Obviously, this type of sunscreen wouldn’t be comfortable in the office.
Keep in mind that it’s not just one or the other. Sunscreens come in a lot of different formulations. For example, not all water-resistant sunscreens have zinc and titanium dioxide, the key ingredients of most physical sunscreens. You can use water-resistant sunscreen without looking white and pasty.
Sunscreen Ingredients To Look For
Also, there are formulations of sunscreens with zinc and titanium dioxide that are tinted or clear, not white and pasty. Tinted sunscreens have a little color that can blend nicely with your skin tone without looking like makeup. Of course, you still have your heavier, white sunscreens for outdoor and water activities.
Do your research online and find out what formulation is right for you based on what you’ll be doing when you use the sunscreen. Remember, sunscreen should do more than protect you from the sun. It should suit your lifestyle without making you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.
Dr. R. Todd Plott is a board-certified dermatologist in Coppell, Keller, and Saginaw, TX. His specialization and professional interests include treating patients suffering with acne, identifying and solving complex skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and identifying and treating all types of skin cancers. In his spare time, Dr. Plott enjoys cycling, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his children and new grandson.
Learn more about Dr. Plott.