Wearing sunscreen is meant to protect you from the harmful effects of the sun however some sunscreens can create a different issue that is causing damage on your skin. The ingredient that makes a sunscreen can come as a mineral or a chemical, each one protects your skin in a different way.
Products with chemical filters usually have these listed in the ingredient list (these are the most common sunscreens found in drug stores):
- homosalate octinoxate
Products with mineral filters usually have these listed in the ingredient list:
- zinc oxide
- titanium dioxide
Oxybenzone is an ingredient you want to avoid. It penetrates your skin easily which can cause allergic reactions, is a known hormone disruptor and also produces free radicals (which damage cells) when exposed to sunlight.
Retinyl Palmitate is a controversial ingredient. There are articles that mention it having to do with cancer and tumors. Here are a couple links that explain both sides:
This is a great link for the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list that should be applied to all cosmetics.
On top of the ingredient list, here are a few other things to look out for:
- You want to make sure it says “broad spectrum protection” (means the sunscreen has been proved to protect against both UVA and UVB rays).
- Avoid sunscreen sprays. Not enough sunscreen makes it onto the skin, and that the spray may be inhaled into the lungs.
- Buy fragrance-free products. Scents bring more unnecessary chemicals and potential allergens to the mix.
- Buy SPF 15-30. Research indicates that an SPF higher than 30 is mostly marketing.
Picking a sunscreen that doesn’t put unnecessary chemicals into your skin, protects from sun damage and doesn’t feel like your wearing a mask isn’t easy. I’ve done some research and curated a list of products I have used or would use. It’s a small list, but I’m being picky ;) (in order of price)
3. Consonant The Perfect Sunscreen (currently what I use, doesn’t say Broad Spectrum on the bottle in the photo but I confirmed with Consonant that it protects against UVA and UVB rays)