How to Choose Your Sunscreen

It should come no surprise that sunscreen talk comes up during National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Besides staying indoors or wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to minimize sun damage on your skin, which in turn can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Here are three factors you should consider when choosing your sunscreen:

  • Select Your Sunscreen Type – Did you know that there are two types of sunscreen? That’s right: mineral (or physical) and chemical sunscreens. The main difference between the two is that mineral sunscreens stay on top of your skin as an active barrier between you and the sun, while chemical sunscreens are absorbed by your skin and in turn absorb UV rays. Generally, mineral sunscreens are a lot more recommended by dermatologists due to their general effectiveness, but reapplication is needed regularly. However, chemical sunscreens require less product use and looks “invisible” on your skin at the cost of less protection. 
  • Check the Ingredients – Certain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which are found in certain mineral sunscreens, are what sit on top of your skin to actively block the sun’s harmful UV rays. On the other hand, you should avoid chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. This ingredient is what allows chemical sunscreens to safely absorb UV rays and makes them harmless as they hit your skin. However, the FDA has NOT classified oxybenzone as a safe ingredient for humans.
  • Consider Your Use – Sunscreen use also depends on your activity. If you’re going to be be out in the sun all day like at the beach, opt for a mineral sunscreen. If you’re going to be doing a quick outdoor activity like going for a run or a swim at the pool and won’t need to reapply immediately, go with a chemical sunscreen.

After you’ve considered these three factors, you have to keep in mind that you should not skip out on sunscreen every day. You should also keep up with your yearly skin checks with your dermatologist to make sure you’re on top of your fight against skin cancer.