There’s a 40% chance that your sunscreen isn’t protecting you the way you think it is. Use this sunscreen buying guide and make sure your family is covered.

recent study found that 40% of sunscreens don’t adhere to the American Academy of Dermatology’s guidelines for protection against cancer-causing UV rays. Which begs the question: How do you know that your sunscreen is protecting you and your family from sun damage like sunburns, premature aging, brown spots and skin cancer? To help answer this question, we put together this helpful sunscreen buying guide that will take some of the guesswork out of selecting sun protection products that really work.

Sunscreen Buying Guide: Let’s Go Shopping!

Chemical vs Physical Block Sunscreen Buying Guide

Most sunscreens on the market are chemical block sunscreens, not physical block sunscreens. However, physical block sunscreens protect the skin from UV damage a little longer and more effectively than chemical blocks. This is why we recommend physical block sunscreens, or a sunscreen that is a chemical and physical block combination sunscreen.

How do you know if your sunscreen is a physical block sunscreen? Physical block sunscreens contain Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide. When evaluating a sunscreen on the store shelves or online, look for one or both of these ingredients to ensure that you’re purchasing a physical block sunscreen that will protect your skin faster, longer and more effectively.

Key Ingredients We Look For in a Sunscreen

When we evaluate a sunscreen at Skin by Lovely, we look for the following ingredients:

Zinc Oxide, a natural mineral that reflects and scatters UVA, the aging rays, and UVB, the burning rays;

Titanium Dioxide, another natural mineral compound that reacts to UV rays by reflecting and scattering them;

Antioxidants such as Ascorbyl Palmitate and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate(the most stable form of Vitamin C), Quercetin, and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), which reduce free radicals while diminishing the visible signs of aging such as uneven skin pigmentation.

Sun Protection Tips on KPTV Fox 12 Portland

Other ingredients you may want to look for, depending on your circumstances, include:

  • CoQ10 and peptides for fine lines and wrinkles,
  • Lecithin to reduce pore size,
  • Octinoxate and Octisalate for additional UVB (the burning rays) protection,
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) to control inflammation, and
  • Hyaluronic Acid to provide moisture.

Sunscreen Brands We Love

At Skin by Lovely, we carry two main brands of sunscreen:

  • EltaMD, which is primarily a sunscreen brand that offers physical block sunscreen products containing Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide; and
  • Revision Intellishade, which offers physical and chemical block protection with additional anti-aging benefits.

EltaMD Physical Block Sunscreens

EltaMD produces many different types of physical block sunscreens that also provide the wearer with different skin care benefits for their skin type. A few that we carry here in our aesthetics practices located in Portland, OR and Santa Monica, CA include:

  • EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 offers the antioxidant benefits of Vitamin C to reduce free radicals and reduce the visible signs of aging.
  • EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41 combines three antioxidants — Linoleic Acid, Quercetin, and Tioctic Acid — to reduce free radical damage and diminish the visible signs of aging.
  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 comes in tinted and untinted varieties and provides the anti-inflammatory and redness reduction benefits of Niacinimide (Vitamin B3). This makes UV Clear a great solution for patients who have skin redness and inflammation related to acne or rosacea. UV Clear also provides Hyaluronic Acid for moisture and Vitamin E for antioxidant power.

Revision Intellishade

From Revision Skincare, a proven skin care brand only available in aesthetic medical practices, Revision Intellishade offers broad-spectrum sun protection in an anti-aging tinted moisturizer, available in both matte and dewy
(Original). Combining both physical and chemical block ingredients, the sunscreen ensures the wearer is covered with the best possible protection while providing skin care benefits such the reduced appearance of pore size, fine lines and wrinkles; skin brightening; and antioxidant benefits.

What’s in Your Beach Bag?

Sun protection is ongoing, even after you first apply your sunscreen. Here’s what should be in your beach bag that you may have forgotten about:

Sunscreen: You need to reapply sunscreen every 60-80 minutes in order to maintain sun protection. Don’t forget to reapply!

Wide-brimmed Hats: Your scalp is likely not covered in sunscreen, leaving it vulnerable to harmful UV rays. The wide-brim provides extra protection for your facial skin, which protects you from premature aging.

UV Protection Sunglasses: If you’re squinting to shield your eyes from the sun, you’re increasing the lines around your eyes such as crow’s feet. But wearing sunglasses is about more than just shielding your eyes from the bright light of the sun and preventing premature aging. Did you know that you can get melanoma in your eyes? Protect your eyes from cancer causing UV rays with UV protective eye wear.

UV Protective Clothing: Did you know that UV rays penetrate your clothing? In addition to applying sunscreen underneath your clothing to prevent UV damage, UV protective clothing can go a long way to protect the skin you can’t see.

Umbrella: While you shouldn’t rely on shade to completely protect you from UV damage, it definitely helps! If there’s no natural shade, bring an umbrella to sit beneath when you aren’t swimming or playing sports at the beach.

Additional Resources You Can Trust

Have questions that our sunscreen buying guide didn’t address? Here are a few trusted resources for sunscreen and sun protection information:

Already Have Sun Damage?

Most of our patients already have visible sun damage due to excessive UV exposure and a lack of sun protection during their youth. If you’ve noticed uneven skin tone or fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage, schedule an appointment at Skin by Lovely for a chemical peel treatment to help reverse the signs of UV-related aging.

Have questions about this sunscreen buying guide? Contact one of our convenient practice locations in Santa Monica, CA or Portland, OR for more information or to schedule a consultation.