With summer now in full swing, it’s time to discuss one of our favourite topics: sunscreen! There are so many different types of sunscreen on the market today, from chemical to physical, SPF 15 all the way to 100+. To help you find the right sunscreen for your unique skin, we have listed our most frequently asked questions!
Q: What is the difference between chemical & physical sunscreen?
A: To put it simply, PHYSICAL sunscreen BLOCK and reflect sun rays while CHEMICAL sunscreen ABSORB and PREVENT them from going deeper into the skin.
For many years, chemical sunscreens have been the go-to as they have generally been more sheer in consistency. However, within the past 5 years physical formulas have come a long way. Most are now made up of a combination of zinc and titanium dioxide that work together as a shield for your skin. Consistencies have also improved with formulas now much thinner, like SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50. This particular one comes in a universal tint to prevent that typical grey-cast that more traditional physical sunscreens can leave behind. Physical formulas have become more favoured as they are suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive.
Q: What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
A: UVB rays cause sunburns and play a key role in developing skin cancer (for more info on skin cancer read our blog post with Skin Bosses). A sunscreen’s SPF number refers mainly to the amount of UVB protection it provides. UVA rays cause skin damage that leads to tanning as well as skin aging and wrinkles. It’s important to look for the words “broad spectrum” on the label, which means the product has ingredients that can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays.
In order to fully protect your skin, we recommend a medical-grade vitamin C serum, like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, to ensure your skin is being protected from both UVA and UVB rays.
Q: Do I really need to wear sunscreen everyday?
A: Absolutely! Just because the sun isn’t out doesn’t mean there are not harmful rays. The sun may not be casting down to the point where you get a sunburn, however skin damage and premature aging is still a high possibility. We recommend a vitamin C serum and sunscreen everyday for optimal protection.
Q: What SPF number should I use?
A: The answer to this is really dependent on your own unique skin. The SPF number tells you how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to redden your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. So ideally, with SPF 30 it would take you 30 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. This is only a rough guideline as the time can be much quicker with fairer skin.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend at least an SPF 30 for everyday use. On the days when you will be spending more time outside, we recommend an SPF 50 or higher, always remembering to reapply on the hour.