Sunscreens What Should You Look For In Your Sunscreen?

By Marilynn Syrett Published 11/16/2009 | Beauty
Sunscreens are an integral part of your skin care regimen. No matter what season it is or what skin type you have... a sunscreen is imperative. Sunscreens protect your skin against the harmful UV radiations of the sun and prevent sunburns, sun spots and premature aging of the skin.

However, it becomes quite difficult to select a good sunscreen from the overwhelming choices that are available in the market. The trick to choosing the best sunscreen for you is knowing what to look for in it. Here are some things you should consider while looking for a good sunscreen:


Photo stability is the most important characteristic of a sunscreen. It defines its ability to not break down on exposure to sunlight. A sunscreen with weak photostability destabilizes on contact with light and provides no protection from the UV rays of the sun. Physical UV filters are photo stable. However, some chemical UV filters like avobenzene are highly unstable. Thus make sure, you read through the ingredient list of the sunscreen very carefully before purchasing it.

Broad Spectrum Protection

Broad spectrum sunscreens protect against the UVA as well as the UVB rays of the sun. and it is important to make sure your skin is protected from both these rays. UVA rays penetrate deep within the skin layers and are responsible for photo aging that causes the development of wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays on the other hand are the chief cause of skin reddening and sun burns. That is why, apart from the SPF (Skin Protection Factor), you also need to look for PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) measures. While SPF protects against sunburns, PPD will prevent any photo aging.

Non-Irritating and Non-Drying

After photo stability and broad spectrum protection, the next thing to look for in a sunscreen is that it should not irritate your skin. Chemical sunscreens can sometimes cause a stinging sensation on the skin; lead to breakouts and even make the skin extremely dry. This is because chemical UV filters are generally more irritating than physical UV filters. That is why it is advisable to use physical sunscreens. Consider using iS Clinical SPF 20 Powder Sunscreen Sun Medium Tint. It is a powder sunscreen that contains physical UV blockers with 25% titanium dioxide and 20% zinc oxide. It provides sun protection against a vast spectrum of sunlight.

Moreover, sunscreens generally contain high levels of alcohol in order to prevent their greasy texture. And this contributes to drying the skin. So, if your skin feels too dry with a sunscreen, try switching to one that has less alcohol. You can also apply a rich moisturizer before you put the sunscreen in order to combat skin dryness.

Cosmetic Quotient

Thanks to the advancements in technology, sunscreen formulations today are not foul smelling and greasy as it used to be in the past. They not only smell good but also feel better.

However, because of some characteristic features of UV filters, sunscreen formulations cannot do away with certain shortcomings, most common of which are leaving a white cast after application, feeling too heavy and greasy and leaving the skin dry. Some women also complain of sunscreens balling up when applying make-up. So, here are some simple solutions to fix it:

The white cast than sunscreens tend to leave behind will go away once it gets completely absorbed by the skin. And instead of rubbing it in, try a petting motion. And once it is absorbed well, you can be sure that you are well protected against the UV rays of the sun.
Get a light weight and oil-free sunscreen. Since it is a lighter formulation, it would not leave a greasy feeling on your skin. Try La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid. It is an oil free formula that protects the skin against the UV rays without making it too greasy.

If you think skin dryness is a problem, then consider getting a rich creamy sunscreen. In fact, you can also use a double duty product such as a moisturizer with SPF. Try La Roche Posay Anthelios SX, a non-greasy moisturizer and sunscreen all in one.

Keep these tips in your mind while buying a sunscreen and be sure that you will only get the best!

Dr. Marilynn Syrett is a graduate from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine Of The Pacific. She has authored several articles about skincare cosmetics like Antiaging Skin Care cosmetics, Sun burning & Sunscreens and so on.