Here's a roundup of the different types of sunscreen so you can enjoy the summer season without any worries. We've included 10 sunscreen brands that you can easily purchase at your local store.
There are few things are better than spending the day at the beach with friends and family. It’s easy to become lost in creating wonderful memories, so much so that we forget about safety. UV rays from the sun can become a health hazard if we don’t take the necessary precautions against it and protect our skin.
Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens are the two types of sunscreens available. Each kind filters UV radiation and protect the skin differently. Mineral sunscreens act as a physical shield on top of the skin’s surface. Chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin’s deeper layers.
You can never be too careful when you plan to spend a good number of hours in the sun. When kids are involved, it’s imperative to make sure they are well protected. To be completely prepared, let’s take a look at the differences between types of sunscreens:
What Are The Types Of Sunscreen?
Mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens are both effective, but they differ in their application. The rays from the sun are called UV rays. UV rays are further separated into UVA (Ultra Violet-A) and UVB (Ultra Violet-B).
UVA rays can age your skin prematurely, causing wrinkles and age spots. UVB radiation is responsible for causing skin burns. It is possible to get skin cancer from too much exposure to UVA or UVB rays. The best sunscreens provide UV protection.
Chemical sunscreens are widely accessible and have several advantages; they aren’t the best fit for everyone. Some chemical sunscreens can irritate the skin, particularly individuals with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
On the other hand, Mineral sunscreen is incredibly soft, making it an excellent choice for folks with sensitive skin (it’s also the SPF of choice in most baby sunscreens).
Mineral sunscreens use chemicals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to physically block UV rays. Physical sunscreen or sunblock is often the name given to mineral sunscreen.
Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV photons, converting them to heat, and then releasing the heat from the skin. They may not protect against all UVA rays, which still causes damage to the deeper layers of the skin because UV rays must penetrate the skin to reach these chemicals.
Oxybenzone is one of the most common sunscreen ingredients. This ingredient works by absorbing into the skin and creating a chemical reaction that blocks the sun’s harmful UV rays.
While this substance has received some backlash from scientists who are concerned about this ingredient having the potential to increase the coral reef’s vulnerability to bleaching and contribute to land-based pollution, dermatologists still recommend its usage in sun-blocking products.
Although it is not the only contributor to polluting the coral reefs, individuals who are looking to limit their impact on damaging the ocean may want to opt for a different type of sunscreen.
While some studies have indicated that this ingredient can have implications on human users’ health, no studies have conclusively indicated it. The FDA still approves the usage of oxybenzone in sunscreen and dermatologists also recommend it.
One of the main benefits of oxybenzone is that it blocks UVB and UVA rays, which is not a feature of every sunscreen ingredient on the market. This can benefit people who are at higher risk of sun exposure-related conditions and those who prioritize protecting their skin from all potential threats.
To enjoy the benefits of oxybenzone in sunscreen, check out Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen
Avobenzone is another chemical ingredient that reacts with the skin to protect it from harmful sun damage. Unfortunately, this substance only protects the skin for about 30 minutes. Thankfully, sunscreen manufacturers usually combine it with octocrylene or a similar compound to stretch its protective qualities.
To enjoy the benefits of avobenzone in sunscreen, check out Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun protection
Octisalate is another chemical that reacts with the skin to protect against UVA rays. While it does not protect against UVB rays, many sunscreen formulas pair it with another chemical that does cover UVB rays, such as oxybenzone. This ingredient improves water resistance. Sunscreens with octisalate are therefore ideal for a day at the beach, the pool, or even hanging out in the backyard under a sprinkler on a scorching summer day.
To enjoy the benefits of octisalate in sunscreen, check out Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Spray
Octocrylene is a chemical used in chemical sunscreen formulas, which are designed to react with the skin and provide protection against UV rays. Octocrylene’s sun-protective properties are super helpful in skincare products, but this unique ingredient has another hidden perk. It contains emollients, which can help moisturize the skin. While it is not recommended that users buy products containing octocrylene for the sheer purpose of moisturizing skin, it is a pleasant side effect for those looking to protect their skin and lock in a little moisture at the same time.
To enjoy the benefits of octocrylene, check out Sun Bum Original sunscreen.
Homosalate is a salicylate organic compound frequently used in sunscreen formulas. Like all other chemical compounds in sunscreen, it interacts with skin cells to protect the skin rather than simply shielding the skin from UV rays. Homosalate absorbs UV light and then converts it to heat. This way, users avoid DNA damage to their skin cells.
Homosalate protects against UVA rays but not UVB rays. Because of this limitation, it is important to find sunscreens that combine it with other UVB ray-blocking ingredients for broad-spectrum coverage.
Like all other chemicals, homosalate can cause rashes and other complications in those with sensitive skin. Always test a new sunscreen on a small patch of skin before applying it to the whole body to ensure that it is safe for an individual’s use.
To enjoy the benefits of homosalate, check out Coppertone Glow Hydragel.
Octinoxate is another popular ingredient in sunblock formulas. This ingredient, like oxybenzone, has raised concerns in the environmental science community for its potential impact on coral reefs’ health. However, for human use, dermatologists still back this ingredient. Additionally, the FDA continues approving its inclusion in sun-protecting products.
Dermatologists especially recommend this ingredient because it is one of the few chemicals that block UVA and UVB rays. This makes it particularly useful in effective protection against skin cancer, accelerated aging, darkened skin spots, and other conditions associated with sun exposure. Consistent application of this kind of sunscreen every two hours is crucial for continual shielding of the skin.
To enjoy the benefits of octinoxate, check out Paula’s Choice Skin Restoring Moisturizer with SPF 50
Titanium dioxide is classified as an inert mineral. It is mostly used in sunscreen and other skincare products to thicken, lighten, and moisturize. It also offers protection against sun damage by creating a barrier between the skin and the sun. Unlike chemical sunscreen ingredients, titanium dioxide does not convert UV rays to heat. Therefore, it is less effective at protecting skin cells from damage to their DNA according to some dermatologists.
However, for those with sensitive skin, environmental concerns, or who prefer a more natural alternative to chemical products, sunblock containing titanium dioxide is a solid choice. An added bonus of titanium dioxide is its suitability for individuals struggling with acne or redness-prone skin. Titanium dioxide can help prevent breakouts better than chemically based sunscreens, which sometimes clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
To enjoy the benefits of titanium dioxide in sunscreen, check out Clinique Super City Block
Similar to titanium oxide, zinc oxide provides protection in sunblock by shielding the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It does not protect the skin cells’ DNA through chemical reactions, but it is still more effective than going without sunscreen. Zinc oxide particles stay on the outside layers of the skin. From this position, they scatter, reflect, and absorb UV rays.
Zinc oxide effectively protects the layers of skin underneath this outer layer from UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Therefore, it can help reduce the risk of diseases and complications related to solar radiation exposure. The best part about zinc oxide is that it is a naturally occurring mineral, which makes it better for humans and the environment. Individuals with sensitive skin or a soft spot for environmental issues should consider opting for zinc oxide sunscreens over chemically based ones.
Sunscreen: Creams, Lotions, Gels, Sticks, or Sprays?
Choosing the most suitable application for sunscreen is often overlooked, but it remains quite relevant. For the most part, the average person may buy a spray sunscreen for ease of use and convenience or a gel for hairy areas like the scalp and chest.
Although the choice remains largely a personal one, there are other benefits to choosing a specific application, too. Creams are the perfect choice for those of us who have dry skin, particularly for the face area.
It can help to hydrate the skin and prevent itchiness. Lotions are thinner and less greasy than creams but offer the same hydrating benefits. Sticks can help reach the area around the eyes, and sprays are fantastic for kids.
It is important to take note of the direction of the wind because you don’t want anyone accidentally inhaling the spray sunscreen.
When protecting your skin from dangerous UV rays, any sunscreen is preferable to no sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours because it fades off. It is especially true with mineral sunscreens when swimming and with chemical sunscreens when exposed to direct sunlight.
Is SPF In A Sunscreen Important?
The SPF rating indicates how long it would take the sun’s UV radiation to redden your skin if you used the product exactly as prescribed versus how long it would take if you didn’t use any sunscreen. So, if you’re wearing SPF 30, it should take you 30 times longer to burn than if you’re not.
About 3% of UVB rays can reach your skin via an SPF 30. Only around 2% of them pass through an SPF of 50. That may seem insignificant until you realize that the SPF 30 allows 50% more UV rays to reach your skin.
SPF 50 may not be enough for persons with a history or high risk of skin cancer, genetic conditions such as albinism or xeroderma pigmentosum, or certain immunological problems. The same applies to those who enjoy outdoor activities that require high-altitude climbing or skiing, or vacationing near the equator.
The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests using a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor exercise.
How Long Does Sunscreen Last On Your Skin?
The sun protection factor (SPF) of sunscreen is only effective for two hours after application. On overcast or wet summer days, experts recommend bringing a bottle of SPF 30 to SPF 50 sunscreen with you so you can apply it if the sun comes out.
Even while wearing sunscreen, you can still develop a tan because while SPF blocks harmful UVB rays, it doesn’t stop deep-seeping UVA rays from reaching your skin and coloring it.
Should I Use Sunscreen Indoors?
While indoors, there is usually no need to wear sunscreen because the risk of solar exposure is minimal. If you spend a lot of time near a window with direct sunshine, you should consider sun protection; however, clothing may suffice, and sunscreen is rarely required.
Although the sun’s rays can be harmful to our health, it’s important to remember that the opposite is also true (remember the old saying, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”?).
Sunlight is essential for your general health and well-being. Making use of the sun’s rays can help you avoid depression, strengthen your bones, and even control your blood pressure.
Should Kids Use Different Sunscreens Than Adults?
There are no sunscreens that have been specifically designed for kids. However, it’s true that the majority of “kid’s sunscreen” are mineral-based solutions because they are softer and less likely to irritate the skin.
Dermatologists often prescribe the baby versions because they work just as well and have the added benefit of being very gentle on the skin.
When deciding on what to buy for kids, you want to purchase something that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or a combination of the two in the formula. So, seek those two chemicals and ensure it provides at least 30 minutes of broad-spectrum (or UVA/UVB) protection.
Sunscreen For Dry Oily And Normal Skin Types
Applying the most suitable sunscreen formula to your skin type can make all the difference. Let’s put two-and-two together and look at the following skin types:
- Dry skin
- Oily skin
- Normal skin
- Sensitive skin
- Acne-prone skin
If you have dry skin, your first goal should be to increase moisture. In this instance, a moisturizing sunscreen cream, which you may put on top of your moisturizer, will always be beneficial. Any sunscreen with hydrating components like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or honey is suitable.
If you have oily skin, seek a sunscreen with a matte finish that is water-based or gel-based. Sunscreen with ingredients like green tea, tea tree oil, or niacinamide can also help you manage oil production.
If you have normal skin, there isn’t much to be concerned about when selecting the best sunscreen. You may buy based on your preferences, whether organic or inorganic, gel or cream.
On the other hand, Organic sunscreen is popular because of its exquisite texture and the fact that it seldom leaves a white residue. If you want to try something new, one of the various tinted SPFs on the market is an excellent place to start.
Sunscreen For Sensitive And Acne-Prone Skin Types
When searching for sunscreen, there are a few substances to avoid if you have sensitive skin. Alcohol, perfumes, oxybenzone, para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), salicylates, and cinnamates are some of the substances that might induce a response.
It’s best to go for a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide because it’s less likely to produce an allergic response. Furthermore, substances including panthenol, allantoin, and madecassoside have relaxing qualities that may decrease discomfort.
It’s always better to avoid applying any sunscreen with chemicals that could worsen existing irritation, just as it is for sensitive skin. As a result, if you have acne-prone skin, mineral sunscreen is your best choice.
However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule since some people may have no problem using organic sunscreen. Because many people with acne struggle with high sebum production, products designed for oily or sensitive skin are ideal. In a lightweight, water-based formulation, choose something less prone to irritate.
Does Sunscreen Have Health Benefits?
The application of sunscreen is one of the most effective – and simple – methods to protect the appearance and health of your skin at any age. Sunscreen, when used daily, can help prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging like sagging, age spots, and wrinkles.
Ensure that you know your 5-sunscreen-W’s:
- Who – Everyone living under the sun
- What – At least SPF 30 sunscreen
- When – Apply 30 minutes before going out and every 120 minutes afterward
- Where – On all exposed skin
- How – One ounce to cover the entire body per application
- Why – Reduce the risk of cancer and skin damage
Are All Types Of Sunscreens Safe To Use?
Consider any possible allergies you may have to particular ingredients, as well as the product’s safety and potential toxicity, before choosing a sunscreen. While “natural” sunscreens appear to be a fantastic alternative, doctors caution that they, too, have been modified to some level, and so the real advantages are somewhat unclear.
Natural sunscreens’ zinc oxide and titanium dioxide have been transformed into nanoparticles to eliminate their white, cakey appearance. We still don’t know how these nanoparticles interact with our skin and system.
Because these particles are so small, they may have detrimental consequences due to their ease of absorption via the skin. The only people who need to be concerned about sunscreen ingredients are those who suffer from photoallergic dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to UVA radiation and specific compounds in sunscreens.
Swelling, a burning feeling, and a red itchy rash are all possible side effects. It is not, however, life-threatening.
What Is Water Resistant Sunscreen?
Many sunscreens used to have the term “waterproof” on the label, implying that you could go swimming without reapplying sunscreen. It is, of course, not true, and so manufacturers are no longer authorized to use the terms “waterproof” or “sweatproof” due to changes in the law that took effect in the summer of 2012.
Sunscreens, on the other hand, maybe “water-resistant.” A grade of 40 or 80 is requisite for all sunscreens marketed as water-resistant. This grade indicates how long the sunscreen will keep you protected while swimming or sweating.
That implies you should reapply sunscreen after 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. Sunscreens with an 80-water rating may be labeled as “Very water-resistant.”
10 Sunscreen Brands You Can Buy At Your Local Store
If you consider yourself a careful spender, who wants to make doubly sure what you’re spending your money on, one of the best ways to do that is by looking at reviews! Let’s take a look at ten sunscreens that you can purchase at your local store and how they can benefit you:
1. AntiOxidant+ Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
As the name suggests, this magnificent formula makes its way from Hawaii. It’s very gentle on the skin and does not cause dryness or irritation. In addition, it boasts a wonderful fragrance.
It absorbs pretty quickly into the skin, and so it does not leave any white residue behind. It boasts a water resistance of 80 minutes.
It is considered one of the best body sunscreens. Last but not least, its lovely beach-like fragrance is a real winner!
Previously, sunscreen had been banned in Hawaii due to its harmful effects on the reefs in the surrounding waters. However, this new formula does not contain Oxybenzone or Octinoxate and meets the standards for reef safety.
2. LiftActiv Peptide-C Sunscreen SPF 30
Many summer-goers praise this sunscreen for its hydration and lack of breakouts or discomfort.
It is also the simplest to use, does not obstruct make-up, and does not leave behind a white cast.
It undoubtedly has one of the best sunscreens formulae for the face.
Its smell divided testers: some adored it, while others disliked it.
Many people like this sunscreen because of how thin it is and how easily it absorbs into their skin. However, keep in mind that this particular sunscreen is not water-resistant, meaning you need to give it around 15-20 minutes to be absorbed into your skin for it to be effective.
3. Matte Effect Sunscreen Lotion
The Matte Effect Sunscreen is an excellent choice for a lighter, more economical solution. It’s mild on the skin and only hydrates just enough (though you might need an extra layer of moisturizer if your skin is on the dry side).
This sunscreen was especially well-liked by those with darker skin tones, who said there was little to no white cast. Matte Effect Sunscreen is considered one of the best value face sunscreens.
It also has a light, pleasant fragrance. However, keep in mind that the texture may be a little sticky and runny. Similar to other sunscreens, it also has a water resistance of 80 minutes instead of the regular 40 minutes.
4. Original Sunscreen Spray SPF 50
This sunscreen is more than a stylish and unique design. Unlike other sunscreen sprays, this one does not leave any white, chalky residue on the skin and is, therefore, one of the best spray sunscreens.
It applies effortlessly and covers the whole desired area evenly and in a matter of seconds. In addition, it provides the skin with a healthy burst of Vitamin E.
Furthermore, it provides water-resistance of 80 minutes. They also offer specific formulas for the face area, which work nicely under make-up and do not cause any redness or irritation.
5. Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotion SPF 50
Mineral sunscreens are generally more expensive due to their natural ingredients, but not this one!
Mineral sunscreen doesn’t have to be expensive: For less than half the price of other top-performing mineral options, this one gets top honors.
It goes on smoothly, doesn’t leave residue, and doesn’t feel too sticky.
This one doesn’t feel oily, but it does leave a white cast that only gets brighter when the skin is moist (i.e., after a dip in the pool or a sweaty outdoor run).
6. Anthelios Mineral Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50
If you haven’t already guessed, this mineral sunscreen is exceptionally gentle and easy on the skin. It’s wonderfully light, contains zinc and titanium dioxide, and was formulated with delicate skin in mind.
The product dries to a matte finish and is completely undetectable on the skin.
It also includes antioxidants and gives UVA and UVB protection, improving skin and protecting it.
Dermatologists specifically recommend this sunscreen.
This sunscreen has a water resistance of only 40 minutes, so it is important to reapply it every 40 minutes at the very least to make sure you are well-protected.
7. No Excuses Invisible Facial Sunscreen Gel SPF 40
Julep sunscreen is light and straightforward to apply, leaving no white cast or oily residue behind, making it ideal for daily use for the face.
This one is particularly popular together with the use of make-up.
It does not run into the eyes, so there is no need to worry about stinging or any other breakouts.
It’s a genuine universal product that works well on all skin types, from dry to oily, and in all skin tones, from light to dark. This formula, however, is not water-resistant. It is regarded by many sun-lovers as one of the best lightweight face sunscreens.
8. Light As Air Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion
This one has a lot of great benefits. Firstly, it is very inexpensive – in fact, it is approximately three times less expensive than the average price of all sunscreen products!
Its distinctive scent is also one of its more prominent features, with it boasting an interesting piña colada smell.
Some people have even said it puts them in a good mood whenever they use this sunscreen! It should be no surprise then that it is considered the best-scented sunscreen by many users.
You also don’t have to be concerned about a white cast on your skin or clothes. It is also non-irritating to the eyes and has a water resistance of 80 minutes.
9. Sunforgettable Total Protection Body Shield SPF 50
This zinc oxide sunscreen, according to users, applies smoothly and leaves a powdered, silky feel.
It has also been said that it “melts into” the skin. This one, however, is highly costly, costing more than three times as much as most other sunscreens.
However, if you’re looking for a high-end mineral alternative, go no further.
It was also discovered to be relatively mild on the skin, causing no discomfort or stinging when used around the eyes. It boasts a water resistance of 80 minutes.
10. Mineral Sunscreen Gel-Lotion
This sunscreen is lovely since it leaves a matte look and helps to keep oily skin under control throughout the day.
It’s also worth mentioning that it doesn’t shine after usage, and it has the added benefit of staying on even throughout rigorous physical exercises.
This will be a particularly great choice for those of us who enjoy an early-morning run or who have a morning workout routine before the start of a busy day.
However, because it is chalky and does not provide as much moisture as expected, you may need to top it with your preferred moisturizer. This particular sunscreen is known for being one of the best for oily skin.
When you apply sunscreen daily, it’s like making a long-term investment in your skin, especially if the sunscreen is specifically designed for your skin type. Although, unlike serum or exfoliating treatments, you may not see the advantages immediately. The effects are likely to be evident in 10 years.
Be sure to stay healthy and protected!
Mayo Clinic: Mayo Clinic Q and A: Sunscreen Best Practices
American Academy of Dermatology: HOW TO DECODE SUNSCREEN LABELS
HealthCentral: What is Water-Resistant Sunscreen
Skin Cancer Foundation: Ask the Expert: Does a High SPF Protect My Skin Better?