We’re big fans of May – spring is well and truly here, we get not just one, but two bank holidays, and (if we’re lucky) the sun even comes out. But, as welcome as the sunshine is, we all know the dangers posed by its rays, which leaves us with a further problem: choosing sunscreen.
Whilst it’s known that both chemical and physical sunscreens have one major principle in common, as communicated by their full name – sun protection factor (SPF) – what you might not know, is that they can protect your skin in different ways, and that your skin type (e.g. normal or sensitive) may affect your decision as to which one you go for.
Here we cross compare the two, providing explanations and weighing up their pros and cons, to help you make an informed choice and leave you free to relax in your deckchair…
Widely available in chemists and supermarkets, these sunscreens contain such organic compounds as oxybenzone or avobenzone, which create a chemical reaction to absorb UV rays and change them into heat to release, ultimately limiting the amount of radiation penetrating the skin.
Highly wearable, their application is effortless, spreading onto the skin smoothly and affording the user greater coverage.
So, why wouldn’t anyone choose chemical sunscreens? Well, they are often less well tolerated by sensitive skin types, as their composition can change in heat and penetrate the skin below the surface of the epidermis. They also take between 20-30 minutes to take effect after application – a test of patience.
Created with minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, these sunscreens lay on the surface to literally block or deflect UVA and UVB radiation away from your skin. No longer the thick, white cream of yesteryear, their consistency has also improved to become light and silky.
Unlike chemical sunscreens, their composition is not temperature dependent, making them much more suitable for sensitive skin. They also work immediately on application, and even last longer when swimming or sweating. It is always advisable to wear a hat and where possible, relax in the shade.
No matter what sunscreen you choose though, some advice applies regardless: enjoy the sun, but try to avoid excessive exposure between 10am and 3pm, as the damage you do to your skin when lying in the sun can have serious implications, far worse than accepting a bit of pale skin.
If you have any questions about sun protection and how to care for your skin, please book a free consultation with our nurse specialist to discuss a tailored approach that will best work for you and your skin!