Important subject, this, given that we are now in the holiday season. There are several types which vary in price from a few pounds to £30 plus. So, what is the difference?
The ingredients in any sunscreen should not be irritating or cause skin allergies. They should be able to withstand varying degrees of UV radiation without losing their effectiveness or forming potentially harmful breakdown products. Therefore, when buying any sunscreen, skip the price part and the flashy write-ups and take a look at the ingredients "tree".
Chemical sunscreens often use one or more chemicals, including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene and homosalate - some of which ingredients have attracted criticism. Chemical sunscreens may be thinner and easier to apply but be careful about what any chemical sunscreen contains.
Mineral and or part mineral sunscreens usually fare a lot better and make use of Physical sunscreens which contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These work by sitting on top of the skin (that is, topical) to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays.
One of the most important elements in any mineral sunscreen, is the Percentage of Zinc Oxide. Zinc oxide is the only sunscreen ingredient currently in sunscreens that blocks comprehensively through the range of both UVA and UVB. Most of the cheaper sunscreens that have zinc oxide, the percentage is usually less than 5%. You should be looking for, depending on your lifestyle and time outdoors, between 5 and 20%. Sometimes Nanoparticles (Nanoparticles refer to particles less than 100 or 200 nanometers in size (1 nanometer is 1/100,000 the width of a human hair) are used, there is criticism of the use of nano particles but the jury is still out as to their safety. Currently, however, there is evidence to suggest that mineral Nanoparticles do not get absorbed into the skin and at this time, safe to use.
Here are some of the sunscreens which we offer:
SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense, SPF50 - (£36.00 for 50ml) A transparent, mattifying, paraben-free SPF50 fluid using all mineral broad-spectrum filters. This is a lightweight, ultra-sheer sunscreen for all skin types including sensitive skin. Contains Artemia Salina, a plankton extract that increases the skins defenses to heat and UV stress. This silky sheer fluid spreads evenly and dries quickly.
Heliocare Advanced Cream SPF50 Cream - (£18.00 for 50ml) is good for for normal and dry skins. There are a combination of filters to provide a high level of UVA and UVB protection along with Fernblock and Green Tea extract to provide extra, biological photo-protection.
VI DERM SPF 50+ Sun Protection (£28.50 for 60ml) with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection SPF 50, is formulated to soothe and support your skins essential processes. Aloe reduces inflammation while green tea helps reverse pre-existing sun damage. This product has 10% Zinc Oxide, 7.5% Octinoxate.
There are also many moisturisers which contain an SPF factor, from SP15 upwards. Thus, these are mainly designed for daily use where occasional forays outside may be required, rather than for "sit on the beach" use. For those with complexion issues, then Lycogel offer tinted cover with an SPF Factor of 30. Or try the make-up compact with SPF50 from Inno-Derma, which is very good for post-procedure skin.
You can move to Powder Sunscreen. The Medium shade is pretty clear and good for all sites. The Tan shade is the tinted version and is nice for the face. Especially great for outdoor sports because it can be reapplied without getting your hands greasy. The product is fast to apply due to the built-in brush applicator. Even better over a lotion sunscreen base.
Remember that too much sun, especially very strong sun, is not a good idea for anyone. Beware the tropics - the sun we have in Europe (specifically, Northern Europe) is a totally different beast to that of say, the Middle East. Not for nothing, did Noel Coward sing: "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun..."!