With so many sunscreen choices available, how do you pick a sunscreen that’s right for you? The Skin Cancer Foundation gives a simple answer: purchase the one you are most likely to use, as long as it provides safe and effective protection, and is broad spectrum with an SPF 15 or higher.
Whether you choose a physical or chemical sunscreen, both include active ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV radiation from reaching your skin. Here’s how the two types of sunscreen work:
Physical sunscreen, also called mineral sunscreen, contains ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that block and scatter the rays before they penetrate your skin. Chemical sunscreen ingredients absorb UV rays, using ingredients like avobenzone and octisalate, before they can damage your skin.
While physical sunscreens may be less likely to cause skin irritation than chemical sunscreens, both types have been tested as safe and effective. In fact, many sun protection products available today combine both types of ingredients.
Keep in mind that while crucial, sunscreen alone is not enough. Seek the shade whenever possible and wear sun-safe clothing, like a wide- brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, for a complete sun protection strategy.