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Different Types of Sunscreens & Their Impact On Your Skin

Different Types of Sunscreens & Their Impact On Your Skin

In simple terms, a sunscreen is a topical agent that usually contains UV-absorbing chemicals and is applied to the skin for protection against sunburn. It is the most important form of skin care and key to getting healthy and glowing skin. But, did you know that a majority of the sunscreens available in the market do not offer adequate protection from the sun? A lot of people are either not aware of this or simply don’t use the best sunscreen for their skin type. 

Why is finding the right sunscreen so crucial? A sunscreen acts as a shield that forms a barrier of protection on your face, reflecting the sun's damaging UV rays and preventing them from penetrating deeper into your skin. Exposure to UV rays has several adverse effects, including accelerated ageing, collagen damage, dark spots and pigmentation, and the risk of developing skin cancer.


Different types of sunscreen

The benefits of sunscreen on skin are huge. Active ingredients present in sunscreens function by forming UV filters that block dangerous UV rays from penetrating the skin. In general, the two categories of sunscreen are mineral sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. Each type has a unique method for filtering UV rays and defending the skin against harm. Below mentioned are the different types to help you understand which option is the best sunscreen for your lifestyle. 


Mineral Sunscreens

Mineral sunscreens are applied to the top layer of the skin and act as a physical barrier by reflecting and scattering UV rays away from the skin like tiny mirrors. These sunscreens shield against UVA and UVB rays because they block UV rays at the skin's surface. Additionally, one of the key benefits of this sunscreen is that there is no need to wait after application, because mineral sunscreens form a physical barrier, they can start working as soon as they are applied.

Mineral sunscreens must also be frequently re-applied since they are easily removed by rubbing, sweating, or rinsing off the skin's surface. They must also be used liberally to ensure sufficient protection. These sunscreens often have an almost white tint, which is noticeable on the skin. 

Remember to avoid spray and powder formulations of mineral sunscreens and reduce lung exposure to these, as the nano-particles in these products should not be inhaled. The active components of mineral sunscreens are titanium dioxide, zinc di-oxide, some sunscreens use a combination of the two.


Chemical Sunscreens

Chemical sunscreens penetrate deeper layers of your skin and stay there for quite some hours after absorption. This is because they take in UV rays, convert them to heat, and then let them out through the skin. Therefore, chemical sunscreens might not shield against all UVA rays, which nonetheless cause damage to the deeper layers of the skin.

Applying these sunscreens in advance is a must, as they take about 20 minutes to become effective. Additionally, the chemicals are depleted more quickly in direct light, necessitating more frequent reapplications. Chemical sunscreens release heat, which can be problematic for people with hyperpigmented skin, sensitive skin, and rosacea. The skin's heat may make already-present brown spots worse. Lastly, chemical sunscreens can also clog pores and cause issues for skin that is prone to acne. 


What type of Sunscreen is Best for You?

Each person has a unique type of skin. Therefore, you must be aware of the types of sunscreen that are best for your skin type, skin tone, and everyday preferences. Consider the following factors to know which sunscreen is the best sunscreen for you:


Skin Types

  • Sensitive skin: Sensitive skin types should choose mineral or physical sunscreen because they contain gentle ingredients.

  • Oily Skin: Make sure your sunscreen is designated as "comedogenic," which means it does not clog pores if you have oily skin.

  • Dry Skin: Look for sunscreens with hydrating and nourishing ingredients if you have dry skin.


Skin tone

Selecting a skincare item based on your skin type is always advised. For example, creamy and hydrating formulas should be your go-to for dry skin. Similarly, gel or water-based non-comedogenic formulas should be your choice if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 



Your sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor (SPF) should be considered. UVA and UVB rays are different types of ultraviolet radiation in sunlight (shorter rays that cause sunburns).

While trying to figure out how to choose the right sunscreen for your skin type, considering your day to day lifestyle is a must! If you spend a lot of time outdoors, choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher if you go outside. When living indoors, Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 and 40 for indoor use, but no more. Alternatively, you can always opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to 50 or higher and shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays.


Enduring formulations

If you're looking to partake in a lot of outdoor activities or a day at the beach, try choosing a water- and sweat-resistant formula. An active lifestyle demands additional precaution.

One of the best sunscreens you can consider is one which has moisturising properties, such as NIVEA Sun Moisturising Lotion made without harsh chemicals, toxins, or fragrances.


How to Use Sunscreens?

Apply sunscreen as the final step of your skincare regime every day for 20 to 30 minutes before going outside in the sun. Then, make sure to re-apply it every two to three hours, especially if you'll be in the sun for an extended period. Also, remember to use sunscreen every day of the year (yes, even in winter).

Even for those with darker skin tones, the necessity of sunscreen every day is indisputable and cannot be argued. Moreover, it is a worthwhile investment; you will start noticing the benefits of sunscreen after regularly using it for a few months.

With today’s unpredictable weather and heat conditions, having a layer of sunscreen on at all times is essential. If not, your skin may be severely damaged by UVA and UVB rays, which will have a cascading effect on the health of your skin, destroying collagen and impeding cell regeneration. 

With the sunscreen by your side, you won't be dissatisfied or unprotected, whether you select a chemical or physical one.
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