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Understanding Sunscreen Ingredients: Protecting Your Skin

Sunscreen is hailed as a skincare essential, but do you know what to look for in your sunscreen? Let’s delve into the differences between chemical and physical sunscreens, decode SPF 45 and “broad spectrum”, we will also discuss the key ingredients to keep an eye out for.

Why wear sunscreen?

  1. Protection from Harmful UV Rays: The sun emits two types of harmful ultraviolet rays: UVA & UVB. UVA rays age the skin and can penetrate glass. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. Sunscreen acts as a shield against these harmful rays, reducing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

  2. Prevention of Premature Aging: Sun exposure without protection can lead to pre-mature aging. Wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots are more likely to develop when your skin is exposed to UV radiation regularly.

  3. Skin, cancer prevention: skin cancer is one of the most common cancer is globally. Regular sunscreen use can significantly lower your risk of developing skin, cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Chemical versus physical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen:

How it works: Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorbs UV radiation, and convert into heat, which is been released into the skin.


They are typically light weight and offer broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Ingredients: look for ingredients like avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene.

Physical sunscreen:

How it works: physical, sunscreens, often referred to as a mineral sunscreen, contain active minerals, like a zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They work by forming a physical barrier that reflects and scatters UV rays.


They are less likely to cause skin irritation and are ideal for sensitive skin.

Ingredients: opt for sunscreens with the zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients.

Understanding SPF 45 and broad-spectrum

SPF (sun protection factor): SPF measures a sunscreens ability to protect your skin from UVB rays. SPF 45 means that, when applied correctly, the sunscreen will block approximately 97% of UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers offer slightly more protection, but it’s crucial to reapply sunscreen regularly.

Broad-spectrum: sunscreen labeled broad spectrum provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. This is essential for comprehensive sun protection, as both types of rays can harm your skin.

Key sunscreen ingredients to look for:

  1. Zinc oxide: This mineral ingredient is a powerful UV blocker, and it’s suitable for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

  2. Titanium Dioxide: Another mineral option, titanium dioxide, offers excellent UV protection and is gentle on the skin.

  3. Avobenzone: Commonly found in chemical sunscreens, avobenzone is effective against UVA rays.

  4. Octinoxate: This chemical UVB blocker is often used in combination with other active ingredients for balanced protection.

  5. Octisalate: It is another UVB-absorbing chemical that compliments the effectiveness of other ingredients.

Incorporating sunscreen into your daily skincare routine is a wise choice for safeguarding your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Whether you opt for a chemical or physical sunscreen, ensure it is at least SPF 30, and labeled "broad spectrum". Look for key ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to maximize protection and to maintain your skin’s health. Our favorites are the Revision Skincare Intellishade line, and Alastin Skincare HydraTint! Remember, sunscreen isn’t just a beauty product; it’s a vital tool in your overall health and well-being this is why understanding sunscreen ingredients is important.

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