Confused with all of the messaging and marketing claims surrounding sunscreens? Let's look at the most important qualities to consider when choosing a sunscreen.

Broad-spectrum coverage

This means that a sunscreen protects against BOTH UVA & UVB rays from the sun. UVA rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate more deeply into our skin, causing damage to the collagen and elastic fibers that support our skin. UVB rays penetrate more superficially within out skin and are more directly related to sunburns, tanning, and skin cancer.

 

Active sunscreen ingredients

Understand what the active sunscreen ingredient is, and what this means for you. There is a wide range of sunscreen actives, and it's important to understand the coverage, whether the active sunscreen ingredient is chemical or mineral, and how the active works with your skin. Read more on the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens below.

Mineral vs Chemical Sunscreens:

Sunscreen actives can be classified into 2 broad categories: mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Mineral include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. FDA-approved chemical sunscreens include oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octocrylene, octyl salicylate, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, and padimate O among several others.

Mineral, or physical, sunscreens lie on top of your skin, like a protective shield, and literally bounce UV light energy off of your skin and into the surrounding environment, preventing UV rays from penetrating into your skin. Chemical sunscreens convert UV light energy to heat, thereby absorbing and changing the UV light energy so that it does not penetrate into your skin.

Absorption of Sunscreen Actives:

Currently, the FDA is investigating chemical sunscreens further to determine if there is a significant amount of absorption of chemical sunscreen actives into our bodies and bloodstreams. We know that there is more absorption of these chemical sunscreen ingredients than we previously recognized, however, there is no proof that this additional level of absorption is of any health consequence.

 

SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of how long it takes the skin to burn with sunscreen compared to how long it takes the skin to burn without sunscreen. For example, when you apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 in the real world, it would take your skin 30 times longer to burn compared to not wearing any sunscreen.

 

Water-resistance

Always a good quality in sunscreens, especially in the summer months when sweat, swimming, and activity can cause your sunscreen to wear off. Water resistant properties help sunscreens stay where they belong: on you skin.

 

Other ingredients

Bonus if your sunscreens have ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin to help keep your skin hydrated. Some formulations also include antioxidants such as vitamin E to add an extra layer of protection and help neutralize damage from UV rays.

 

A little more about Bright Girl Sunscreens

Bright Girl Sunscreens contain mineral (non-chemical) active sunscreen ingredients and offer a number of additional benefits. Read more below:

Bright Block SPF 44 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen

  • Formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E
  • Lightweight formulation hydrates and protects
  • Sheer coverage flatters most skin tones
  • Purely mineral (non-chemical) sunscreen actives: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
  • Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection plus blue light protection
  • Use alone or under makeup
  • Water resistant (40 minutes)

Bright Block SPF 47 Sheer Mineral Sunscreen:

 

  • Formulated with glycerin to hydrate and protect
  • Goes on white to ensure complete coverage, then disappears completely while protection stays in place
  • Purely mineral (non-chemical) sunscreen actives: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
  • Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection
  • Water resistant (80 minutes)

Sunscreen in Teenage Skincare Routines

One final thought: Why is sunscreen such an important part of teenage skincare routines? Sun damage is cumulative throughout our lifetime, and much of that damage occurs in our childhood and teenage years. When you use sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, as a child and teenager, the preventative benefits are tremendous. Teenage skincare routines should include a sunscreen, every single day.

--Dr. Angela

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