Choosing sunscreen: Firstly using any sunscreen is always better than no sunscreen!
UV is one of life’s most aggressive carcinogens and it is the greatest cause for skin aging. When choosing a sunscreen ensure you have a broad spectrum from both UVA and UVB rays.
Personally I like to choose brands that are hypoallergenic, non greasy, free of parabens and cruelty free. If the sunscreen is Australian made, even better because we have such strict regulations here.
Basically you can buy chemical based sunscreen or physical (mineral) based sunscreen.
Chemical Based Sunscreens
- These contain chemicals, such as Octylcrylen, Avobenzone, Retinyl Palmitate, Homosalate and Oxybenzone.
- They will often contain parabens and other synthetic preservatives and fragrances. Generally anything higher than a SPF 30 will be a chemical based sunscreen
- These chemicals are designed to absorb into the deeper layers of the skin then absorb UV rays, to cause a reaction protecting you from getting sunburnt.
- Depending on the brand many chemical sunscreens are irritating, cause skin sensitivities, dermatitis, watery eyes and eczema.
- The ingredients in chemical based sunscreens can be allergens, carcinogens and endocrine destructive!
- Oxybenzone is not good for the environment, especially coral reefs where it will produce a virus in the algae. Reefs need algae to stay alive, and this chemical is washing into our ocean from our skin by the buck load because of sunscreen use. It is also one of the most toxic ingredients found in cosmetics *so if you are buying a chemical sunscreen make sure this ingredient is not in it.
Physical Based Sunscreens
- Physical based sunscreen use natural minerals such as zinc and titanium oxide. These ingredients sit on the surface of the skin and act as a protective barrier to reflect off UV rays.
- Zinc used to get a bad wrap because of its thick white consistency and it was hard to apply. These days there are many high quality mineral based brands such as ‘Little Urchin’ and ‘Eco by Sonya’ which have incredible formulas and micronised minerals to help them glide on easily. SHOP HERE
- If you are looking for a mineral makeup with sun protection absolutely choose jane iredale the quality of their products is exceptional SHOP HERE
- I love that physical sunscreens offer immediate protection, so you don’t need to wait as long for the chemicals to absorb into your skin. This is particularly good for kids that have just come out of the water and then want to re-enter straight away after they have had their sunscreen re-applied.
Chemical sunscreens do offer more coverage against UVA and UVB rays. For example they go up to SPF 50 (sun protective factor). It is important to understand that SPF 50 is not ‘double’ as effective as SPF 25 sunscreen.
SPF is a measure of the amount of time you can stay out in the sun without getting sunburnt, and the measure between the two is minimal. For example you may be able to stay out in the sun for 10 minutes more with an SPF 50 before re applying, than SPF 25. But often the higher the SPF the higher amount of harsh chemicals that are in the product. So personally I would just rather reapply slightly more frequently, unless I’ve done a patch test and know that particular chemical based brand works for me.
If you or your kids have sensitive skin too, I would steer clear of chemical based sunscreens and look for a good quality mineral alternative instead.
Thanks for reading