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Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Your Health Resources

Sun’s Out! Which Sunscreen Is Right for You?

August 21, 2020

A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you simply looked for a high enough sun protection factor (SPF), which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet “B” (UVB).

Research since then has demonstrated that ultraviolet A (UVA) rays also increase skin cancer risk. While they don’t cause sunburn, they penetrate deep into the skin, causing cellular damage and wrinkling, in addition to skin cancer risk. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by lifetime exposure to UVA rays.

Today, “broad-spectrum” sunscreens that help protect against both UVA and UVB rays are widely available. Kelsey-Seybold doctors say daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above is important. But how do you determine which one is best for you? Turns out, it depends on your skin type.

Physical vs. Chemical

Sunscreens help shield you from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays in two different ways. The molecules in chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation through their chemical bonds. As the bonds absorb UV radiation, the components of the sunscreen slowly break down and release heat from the skin. Physical sunscreens actually reflect UV radiation.

If you struggle with hyperpigmentation issues (brown spots) on your skin, you should know that chemical sunscreen can exacerbate these issues due to its process of releasing heat, so you should strongly consider using a physical sunscreen.

In the past, you may have tried physical sunscreens and found them to be quite thick and even chalky on your skin. Fortunately, newer formulations are game-changers and come with lighter textures, along with tinted and un-tinted varieties.

Physical matte SPF 50 sunscreen is great for combination to oily skin. It’s proven to maintain a matte finish, even in humid climates like Houston. Translucent color spheres enhance radiance, and an optimized smooth base refines skin texture and minimizes appearance of pores with a powder-dry finish that acts as a great makeup primer as well.

Sheer physical SPF 50 sunscreen features an ultra-sheer, transparent fluid that combines 100% mineral filters with artemia salina, a plankton extract, to help boost skin’s natural defenses to UV and heat-induced stress. It offers broad-spectrum protection for all skin types, including sensitive.

Ultimate UV SPF 30 is a broad-spectrum protective chemical sunscreen with transparent zinc oxide. It’s moisturizing and has a light, cosmetically elegant feel.

Both chemical and physical types are available at most Kelsey Pharmacies, including varieties offered from SkinCeuticals® medical-grade skincare. Ask your Kelsey-Seybold pharmacist to help choose the sunscreen that’s right for you.

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