Top Picks for Sunscreens

best sunscreen skin care product recommendationSummer brings heat waves, watermelon, and fun in the sun. It also brings a lot of questions about sunscreens. I’ve talked about how to pick a sunscreen. Today, I’m sharing some of my top picks with you.

When I look for a sunscreen, I look first for a mineral filter. I prefer physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for several reasons. Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from UV damage, and they are also anti-inflammatory. Zinc oxide is the primary ingredient in diaper cream; it’s known to reduce redness and soothe irritation. Mineral sunscreens are also less likely to cause reactions, so I always recommend them for my sensitive or allergic clients. Mineral sunscreens have a tendency to be thicker, so I know that an oily skin type is going to want a lighter texture. Sometimes you’ll need to go a chemical filter in this case. Remember, the best sunscreen is the one you’ll use!

True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30My first pick is the True Natural All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30. I’ve linked to the one for baby, but there are several available. I stumbled onto this one at the drugstore one day, and I’ve recommended it ever since. It has a pure mineral sunscreen, and the rest of the ingredients are a blend of truly natural ingredients. It’s moisturizing enough to be an all-in-one product.

Who will love it: Dry skin types, natural skin types, sensitive skin types

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40

 

The Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 is a classic bestseller, and for good reason. It is super lightweight, but still a 100% mineral sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and can be used over any daytime product, from serums to moisturizers. Clarins claims to be a botanically based line, and that bothers me because they really aren’t. But if you’re looking for a lightweight sunscreen, this does the trick.

Who will love it: Oily skin types, people who want lightweight textures

 

bareMinerals SPF 30I mentioned this one in my summer essentials post, but I’m bringing it up again because I just like it that much. My favorite sunscreen touch-up product is the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. Sunscreens are only effective when used properly, and proper use means regular reapplication. This is a great way to touch up your sunscreen and mattify oiliness without budging your makeup. The brush is softer than most of the other powder sunscreens on the market, so it’s much nicer for sensitive skin.

Who will love it: Makeup wearers who want to reapply, oily skin types

Boscia BB Cream

I really love my BB cream. I’ve been using the Boscia B.B. Cream that features an SPF 27 in a mineral filter. It’s got a tint to it, so you get coverage and complexion evening all in the same step. It also has treatment benefits; it has licorice root extract and arbutin to help with pigmentation. It also has ingredients that act as a skin primer, so it smooths texture and fine lines. I wear mine almost every day. It’s lightly hydrating, but dry skin types will still want to use  a moisturizer.

Who will love it: Girls on the go who still want to look polished

Do you have a favorite sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

 

 

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How To Pick the Best Sunscreen

how to pick the best sunscreenIt’s that time of year. The sun is shining. The weather is warm. Who doesn’t want to be outside? But being outside more means that you need to up your sunscreen protection. And who hasn’t stood in the sunscreen aisle at the store and been completely overwhelmed with the options? How do you find the best one?

The first decision I make is based on the sunscreen ingredients. There are two kinds of sunscreen ingredients: inorganic sunscreens, or mineral filters, and organic sunscreens, or chemical filters. Don’t let the inorganic or organic labels confuse you. Mineral filters are generally considered the “natural” sunscreen, because the minerals occur in nature. Both types of sunscreen ingredients protect from UVA and UVB damage, but they do it in completely different ways. Mineral sunscreens (inorganic) work by deflecting UV rays away from the skin, essentially acting as a mini-mirror. Chemical filters (organic) work by absorbing the UV rays and neutralizing them before they can hit the living layers of the skin and cause damage.

Although both types of sunscreens are approved by the FDA, there are pros and cons to each.

Chemical filters

Chemical filters work by neutralizing UV damage in the very uppermost layers of the skin (the stratum corneum). Chemical sunscreens have had the most controversy in the last few years. Originally they were the most effective forms of protection. Now, we know that they are more likely to cause adverse reactions and allergies in reactive skin types. Although we don’t always know why sunscreens cause allergic reactions, there is some speculation that, because chemical sunscreens release small amounts of heat as they neutralize UV rays, more reactive skin types might be overstimulated by this and more likely to react.

These seem like overwhelming negatives, so why would you choose a chemical sunscreen? The simplest answer is that even with all the negatives, they are still effective at protecting the skin. They are easier to formulate with and can be used for lightweight products. They are easy to apply and do not feel as greasy. They also do not create the blue tint on deeper skin tones that mineral sunscreens can cause. If your preferences lie in formulation, you may prefer a chemical sunscreen.

Mineral sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens use the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They are typically less likely to cause reactions because they lay on the surface of the skin instead of penetrating to the deeper layers, making them inert. Additionally, zinc oxide is a known anti-inflammatory and can soothe irritated skin.

Mineral sunscreens are reflective, and I believe they provide better protection against pigmentation. UV rays are deflected before they have a chance to cause damage.

Unfortunately, with mineral sunscreens, formulations generally turn out thicker and creamier. If you are a dry skin type, this may be fine for you. But oily and acne prone types may find it difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is lightweight. Darker skin tones may also have complaints; mineral sunscreens are famous for leaving a blue, ashy cast. Because the minerals are white, they can be difficult to blend.

Here’s a breakdown of what skin type may prefer which kind of sunscreen ingredient:
[column-group]
[column]Chemical Sunscreens
Oily skin types
Acne prone skin types
Deeper skin tones
People who prefer lighter textures
[/column]
[column]Mineral Sunscreen
Dry skin types
Reactive or allergic skin types
Pigmented skin tones
People who prefer natural ingredients
People who like creamier textures
Children
[/column]
[/column-group]

After you’ve decided which ingredients are right for you, you’ll need to pick your number. SPFs go up to 100 these days, but an SPF of 30 is 97% effective when used correctly. Keep in mind that higher SPFs require a higher chemical load, as it becomes more difficult to formulate high SPFs with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Allergic or sensitive types may find it difficult to use sunscreens with high SPFs for this reason.

Which one is right for you?

Now the million dollar question: which sunscreen is right for you?

My preference is to use a strictly mineral sunscreen, but it may be difficult to find a mineral sunscreen that is only mineral. Many formulations that use a mostly mineral sunscreen may still include some chemical filters simply because it keeps the product lighter. Often I will layer my sunscreens and use a mineral powder on top to get as much protection as possible while still keeping textures light.

Ultimately, the most important step in sunscreen is the application part, so make sure to buy one that you will use. The sunscreen that protects you best is the one that is on your skin, not in the drawer. [Tweet this!]

 

 

Speak your mind! How do you pick a sunscreen? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!