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How To Choose The Right Sunscreen For Your Skin

How To Choose The Right Sunscreen For Your Skin

Sun Protection/Skincare damage

Summer is here, and with that comes the promise of sunshine and good vibes! We know that the sun often gets a bad rep for being the leading cause of premature aging, and skin cancer, and is much maligned by dermatologists. So, why is it that we are so drawn to being outside in the sunshine? Could it be that, actually, there are some bonafide benefits that our bodies intuitively know we need? Absolutely! Here’s just a few:

  • Firstly, it’s the healthiest, easiest and most natural way to top your vitamin D levels; very important for healthy bones and teeth!
  • Secondly, the sun has natural mood boosting effects for your mental wellbeing, as it  helps your body produce serotonin (the “happy” hormone). Turns out a “sunny disposition” isn’t just a turn of phrase! Take a look around in summer- isn’t everyone just a little bit happier?!
  • Finally, it can help with regulating your sleep cycles. Serotonin and melatonin (the “sleep” hormone) work in harmony, so by catching some early morning exposure to direct sunlight, it can actually help settle your circadian rhythm, meaning a better night’s sleep!

Pretty good, right? 

So, the sweeping notion that the sun is bad and you must avoid it at all costs isn’t completely true, but, that said, the sun can indeed be harmful; it’s all about enjoying it safely, and protecting the skin you're in! 

The skin is the largest organ of the body and it does a lot of heavy lifting as it’s your first barrier of protection, so it’s important to show it some love by wearing sunscreen!

With the myriad of endless choices of sun creams out there, you might find yourself wondering what to choose? “Is expensive better- or am I just paying for fancy packaging?” “I don’t like chemicals and wearing creams- is there a natural alternative?”What about me? My skin is always breaking out. Won’t sunscreen make it worse?”  “I don’t really tend to burn- do I really need it?”

To save you time and confusion, here’s what you need to know when choosing the best sunscreen for you. And, remember that, whether you're fairer or darker skinned, sunscreen is indeed vital!

Know Your Skin’s Needs.

Consider your skin type. If you’re prone to breakouts and acne (yes, the sun can help “dry them out”, but don’t ever skimp on sunscreen!), look for oil-free, non-comedogenic formulas. Suffer with those pesky brown patches (melasma) that darken in the sun? Then look for mineral (or physical) sunscreen active ingredients, not chemical ones. Do you do a lot of swimming, or get your glow on by working out outside? Then, you may want to look for waterproof, rather than water-resistant sunscreens.

Understand The Level Of Protection

The sun has two main types of Ultraviolet rays (UV), the easiest way to understand this is that UVA are the “Aging rays”. UVA has a longer wavelength, and these are the rays that “age” your skin and cause premature wrinkling. UVB are the “burning rays”. These are shorter length wavelengths and are the rays that cause your skin to burn - you can often, but not always, actually feel it happening! And it can happen fast - just 15 minutes in the sun can be all that it takes for your skin to burn.

Not all sunscreens are created equally, so even if they are deemed “safe” by the FDA. In order to keep your skin safe from both UVA and UVB, you need to look for “Broad Spectrum” skin protection. This means it has met the list of requirements by the FDA for protection from both UVA and UVB rays. This applies regardless of whether it is a natural or a chemical sunscreen. 

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is another key thing. You want to aim for sunscreen that has 30 SPF. If you’re aiming for a sunkissed glow, then you will be safer this way, and less likely to burn, than if you use a lower SPF. 

 Natural vs. Conventional 

The obvious difference between natural and "regular" sunscreen is in the ingredients and how they work to shield you from the sun.

Natural sunscreen uses (mineral) physical UV filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (literally just grounded up minerals), whereas chemical sunscreens opt for chemical UV filters like octocrylene, avobenzone, and helioplex. 

The natural UV filters in mineral sunscreen work by reflecting the sun's rays, whereas chemical filters absorb sun rays into their compounds so your skin doesn't get burned. 

If you have sensitive skin, or are prone to skin irritation and breakouts, then opt for mineral sunscreen, and be sure to use a hydrating aftersun, because sunscreen can dry your skin out. 

We have a selection of reef friendly, natural sunscreens including for kids, and if you’re unsure, pop in store, or drop us a tweet if you’re buying online, and we can help you out! 

We recommend our Mad Hippie's chemical-free, all natural Facial SPF 30+ Sunscreen which utilizes zinc oxide, the safest and most natural physical blocking agent available. And as a bonus, this one doesn’t dry out your skin! 

Finally, remember the Golden Sunshine Safety Rules:

  • If you’re basking by the pool or at the beach, avoid baking yourself in the midday sun between 12-3pm- you’re more likely to burn as the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Build up your exposure gradually, that way you’re less likely to burn and end up with peeling snake-skin a week later!
  • Reapply your sunscreen regularly, even if you’re not swimming and don’t be stingy with it! 
  • Sunscreens are usually good to last for three years, but if you leave it in a hot car, or out in the sun, that will shorten its shelf life. If you’re in doubt, don’t use old sunscreens, especially on your face or sensitive areas.

Time to get outside, soak up some rays, feel the sun’s warmth on your skin and energize yourself! 

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