Most people use sunscreens on a daily basis but not many realise that not all sun-protection potions are created equal. Market reports suggest that a whopping 73 percent of all sunscreens today either contain worrisome ingredients or lack the ability to offer complete protection. Since UVA and UVB rays can cause irreparable damage to the skin, it is crucial to choose your sunscreen wisely. Here’s what you should look for and what you should avoid:
Chemical versus Mineral Sunscreen
The first and foremost aspect to consider in sunscreen is whether it has a chemical or a mineral composition. Sunscreens with chemical filters penetrate into the bloodstream. While these are effective against sunburn, they do not do much in preventing ageing triggered by exposure to UVA rays. Besides, the chemical filters seeping into the bloodstream, can disrupt hormones and even have carcinogenic effects.
A mineral sunscreen is, therefore, always a safer bet. The components of a mineral sunscreen stay on the skin surface, acting as a layer blocking out harmful sun rays.
When looking for a mineral sunscreen, do not take the packaging on face value alone. Sunscreens with names carrying words like herbal, organic, botanical and natural do not always equal a non-chemical formulation. It is important to read the label and inspect the ingredients.
Sunscreens with chemical filters have ingredients such as 4-Aminobenzoic acid (PABA), Avobenzone, Cinoxate, Diethanolamine methoxycinnamate, Dioxybenzone, Drometrizole trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL), Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX), Ensulizole, Enzacamene, Homosalate, Meradimate, Octinoxate (non-encapsulated), Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Padimate O, Sulisobenzone and Triethanolamine salicylate. Mineral filters, on the other hand, include zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and encapsulated octinoxate.
Choosing an Effective Mineral Sunscreen
When buying a mineral sunscreen, the important thing to check for is whether it has zinc oxide as one of the ingredients and how much is its concentration. A sunscreen that comprises only titanium dioxide offers only partial protection against UVA rays and extensive protection against UVB rays whereas one that contains zinc oxide offers extensive protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
In short, a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide is a truly broad-spectrum solution that not only protects against sunburn but also premature ageing caused by UVA rays. Besides zinc oxide, European filters Tinosorb M and Tinosorb S also offer broad-spectrum protection.
Another factor that governs the effectiveness of your sunscreen is the concentration of zinc oxide. A mineral sunscreen with SPF 24 or less has 15 percent zinc oxide or less, SPF 24 to 32 has between 15 and 20 percent zinc oxide and SPF 32 and above has more than 20 percent. Ideally, you should aim for a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to get sufficient protection against sun rays.
Now that you know what makes an ideal sunscreen, find your perfect pick here. Our recommendation would be the Organic Harvest Triple Action Formula Sunscreen SPF30.
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