You pop open the lid, squeeze a dollop of sunscreen on your hand and thoroughly cover your skin before heading out for the day. It’s part of your sun-smart routine. You know sunscreen is important, but do you know what’s in it?
We’re here to help you understand the different kinds of sunscreen so you can be a savvy sun-safe consumer, just in time for UV Safety Awareness Month this July!
The two kinds of FDA-approved broad spectrum sunscreens — mineral and chemical — have different ingredients working toward the same goal: protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays!
There are two types of mineral sunscreens: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These natural ingredients act as physical sun blockers by creating a layer of protection from the sun. They typically contain less harmful toxins for your body and for the environment (a win-win!), but the sometimes thicker substance can be hard to rub into your skin. Mineral sunscreens also are safe for sensitive skin, as they have a smaller risk of irritating your skin than chemical sunscreens. However, be aware that some mineral sunscreens do go through some chemical processing.
We love this all-in-one mineral sunscreen from Fair & Fashionable. It's lightweight and tinted, making it feel more like an anti-aging foundation than a sunscreen. It’s also chemical, fragrance and paraben-free.
Chemical sunscreens act as absorbers. The chemicals absorb into your skin to deflect and convert UV rays into heat, essentially deactivating them. These types of sunscreens are typically sheerer and preferred for water activities. However, the chemicals are absorbed into your skin for sun protection, which can be more irritating for people with sensitive skin. A few chemical sunscreen ingredients we like to avoid include oxybenzone and octinoxate. Hawaii recently banned over-the-counter sunscreens made with these chemicals as they can bleach coral reefs and interrupt fish and other wildlife.
Choosing the right sunscreen depends on your skin and preference. The most important thing is they are broad spectrum, meaning they protect against UVA and UVB rays, and that you wear it daily!
Happy sunscreen shopping, Sol Sisters!
- The Sol La La Team