Sunscreens: chemical vs. physical barriers

  • Who knew I would need to post about sunscreens this early in the year!  But YES it is time for sunscreen.  If you are not already in the habit of using sunscreen all year long now is the time to SPRING into your new regimen.

    The most important question you need to ask when choosing a sunscreen is not the number associated with the product (15, 30, 45 etc.) but rather whether the sunscreen is a chemical or physical barrier.  Chemical sunscreens (like Benzophenone and Octinoxate) neutralize UV rays.  Physical sunscreens (like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) are minerals that provide a barrier against UV rays.  Your skin type is an important factor in deciding what kind of sunscreen product to use.  If there is any sensitivity or inflammation in the skin the physical barrier is a must!  The reason being, it blocks the rays and keeps HEAT out of the skin.  Chemical sunscreens, while neutralizing rays, traps heat in the skin.  Fine for normal to oily skin with no sensitivity issues but a disaster for inflammed, sensitive skin.

    Next, ask yourself what NUMBER SPF you should use.  Did you know that higher numbers don’t protect you more?  They just protect you longer.  The number just means how much longer you can stay in the sun without burning compared to if you were not wearing sunscreen.  I found this handy equation on www.howstuffworks.com:

    Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time

    Lastly, don’t forget to make sure the product says Broad Spectrum!  We don’t want protection for the UVB (B for Burning) rays and no protection from the UVA (A for Aging) rays!

    Jessica’s Skin & Body Apothecary stocks both kinds of sunscreen to suite your needs.  Choose from the following sunscreens that are so lovely they make you want to wear them.  Broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and moisturizer all in ONE!

    Glymed Photo Age Gel 15 ($35.50 for 4 oz.) 

    Glymed Photo Age Gel 30 ($48 for 4 oz.) 

    Glymed Photo Age Cream 15 ($34 for 2 oz.) 

    Glymed Photo Age Cream 30 ($58.50 for 1.6 oz.) 

    cream-30“What is the difference between Gels and Creams?”

    Glymed Gel sunscreens are oil-free and use chemical barriers against the sun, leaving a light-weight finish that many people prefer, especially oily skin types.  Plus, they smell like cherries!

    Glymed Cream sunscreens are primarily titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, leaving a thick physical barrier against the sun.  There is a whiteish cast to the skin for a couple minutes, but then it absorbs.  The Cream 30 is also loaded in antioxidants!

    I gave you a lot to think about but I hope it helps you choose!