SPF Checklist: Three Things to Look for when Choosing a Quality Sunscreen
Posted Friday June 1, 2012 2:09 PM GMT
We’ve all heard our mothers or grandmothers tell us the stories of how they used to sunbathe with baby oil and tin foil (sounds greasy).
While yes, this method provided them with a nice golden glow for the short term; its long-term effects were much less flattering and even worse – permanent.
Now that we know the effects unprotected sun exposure can have on skin, we need to take more precautions to protect our outer layer from the harsh rays. Why? Because we believe the cost of beauty doesn’t have to be premature wrinkles and sunspots. Trust us; protect your skin now, so that you’re not dishing out bookoo bucks later in life trying to turn back the clock.
Okay, so we’ve talked you into becoming a religious sunscreen user, but what next? With all the sun-combating lotions available, how do you know the ones that work from the ones that don’t?
We’re glad you asked. There are three major things you as the consumer need to pay attention to when purchasing a sunscreen that will lend you maximum protection all summer long – photostability, broad-spectrum protection and skin friendliness.
Getting that sun goddess glow you crave is possible to achieve even with an SPF of 25 or higher (which we totally recommend), so read on to prep yourself for your next sunscreen purchase!
Photostability: This is the most important thing! A photostable sunscreen will hold up when exposed to light. A photounstable lotion will break down quickly once exposed to the sun and will leave you vulnerable to the sun’s rays all day long. One of the ingredients to look for is, avobenzone. If your sunscreen does not contain avobenzone, then it’s stable. This additive is unstable in it’s natural state so it’s a detriment to sunscreens. If your product contains avobenzone and octinoxate, then it is certainly unstable. They are both iffy UV filters.
All hope is not lost though – if your sunscreen has a combination of avobenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene (a stabilizer) then your sunscreen will hold up against the heat.
Broad-Spectrum Protection: In laymen’s terms, this means that you want to find a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Both are equally as damaging to your health if you don’t protect against them, so invest in a product that will pull double duty. It’ll say on the label of a sunscreen whether it is ‘broad-spectrum’ or not, so keep your eyes peeled!
Skin Friendliness: We’ve all had a bad experience with some brand of sunscreen at one time or another. Stinging skin, breakouts/rashes or drying effects are obvious signs that the product you’re using is irritating your skin and that you need to pitch it! Things to pay attention to here are Chemical and Physical UV filters, each one possesses a different way of absorbing and dispersing heat and energy. Chemical UV filters are more prone to irritate sensitive skin and cause breakouts. A lot of products also have high alcohol content to avoid greasing up your skin. Pay attention of the amount in your sunscreen to avoid any excessive dryness. It’s always a good idea to give a product a trial run by testing it out on a small area of your body first, such as your forearm or calf. If you experience no reaction after application, then you’re set for an all-over-body slathering!