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How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for You

How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for You

Take the guesswork out of sun-care shopping—these are the best sunscreens for every skin type and need.

1. What are the different types of sunscreen?

    a. Physical sunscreen
    b. Chemical sunscreen

2. What is the best sunscreen?

3. What type of sunscreen should you use?

    a. The best sunscreen for oily skin
    b. The best sunscreen for sensitive skin
    c. The best sunscreen for outdoor activities

No matter what season it is, sunscreen is always a must. It acts as a protective barrier against damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV rays), which means that every time you step out into daylight without it, your skin suffers.

Finding the best sunscreen isn’t as easy as going to the drugstore and grabbing one with the right SPF—which, according to the Canadian Dermatology Association, should be at least 30. Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one that you will actually want to use, so you need to take both your skin type and your general needs into consideration.

Wondering what type of sunscreen is best for you? Whether you have sensitive skin, are looking for a sunscreen for sports and other outdoor activities or want protection for your oily or acne-prone skin, here you’ll find the best sunscreens from Vichy’s extensive sun protection line.

1. What are the different types of sunscreen?

Sunscreens are available in several kinds of delivery methods, like sprays, sticks, powders and lotions, but when it comes to the sun filters in these formulas (which protect the skin from UV exposure), there are only two types: physical (also known as mineral) and chemical. Each type uses a different mechanism for protecting the skin from UV damage.

a. Physical sunscreens

Physical sunscreens use mineral filters to block UV rays. “They typically contain either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or a combination of both molecules. Both these molecules protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays, says Dr Nour Dayeh, medical development expert for Vichy Laboratoires, Canada. If you’re wondering how sunblock is different from sunscreen, it comes down to the types of filters used. Lotions with physical filters are known as sunblock because, as the name describes, they literally block and reflect away UV rays by sitting on top of the skin and physically forming a shield, protecting it from harmful rays.

b. Chemical sunscreens

“Chemical sunscreens rely on inorganic compounds to provide UVA and UVB protection and sun protection,” says Dayeh . These chemical filters are absorbed into the skin; they absorb UV rays, convert them into heat and then release them. A few of the active ingredients that can be found in chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, oxybenzone and octinoxate. “In order for chemical sunscreens to maximize their UVA protection, filters such as Mexoryl are key,” says Dayeh. Mexoryl is a pillar ingredient found in Vichy’s sun product line.

2. How long does sunscreen last?

Dr. Nour Dayeh

For starters, the Canadian Dermatology Association recommends using a “broad spectrum” sunscreen because it protects against both UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are best known for damaging the outermost layers of skin; they can cause a tan, sunburn and, in severe cases, blistering. UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and are linked to genetic cell damage, associated with premature skin aging and skin cancer.

If you’re asking yourself what type of sunscreen is best and most effective at sun protection, you should know that it’s not about whether it’s physical or chemical; it’s about compliance. “The best sunscreen is the one you are going to wear,” says Dayeh. What she means is that you need to find a formula that you like and that you’re going to want to apply daily. She also recommends using an SPF of at least 30, which blocks about 97% of UVB rays.

3. What type of sunscreen should you use?

Sunscreen isn’t a one-size-fits-all product. Finding one that works for you can be tricky, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne breakouts. From mattifying and lightweight to creamy and hydrating, Vichy’s extensive sun protection line offers clinically proven UV protection.

a. The best sunscreen for oily skin

Do sunscreens make your face oily? For acne sufferers , an oil-free sunscreen is the obvious choice. Vichy Idéal Soleil Anti-Shine Dry Touch Lotion SPF 60 is not only oil-free but also paraben- and fragrance-free. Created for the face, it has a moisturizing base that dries instantly with a matte finish that won’t feel greasy; in fact, it provides sebum absorption. If you love the matte finish on your face, you can now get the same texture on your body with this sunscreen for oily skin, now available in SPF 30 and SPF 50.

b. The best sunscreen for sensitive skin

“If your skin is more sensitive, physical sunscreens tend to be the products of choice since they can be less irritating,” says Dayeh . Vichy Ultra-Fluid Mineral Tinted Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60 for face is formulated with 100% mineral sun filters, making it the ideal sunscreen for sensitive skin. The lightweight, almost water-like texture feels cooling and weightless on skin. And it’s tinted so it helps hide the white cast associated with mineral sunblocks. It doesn’t leave skin looking shiny or feeling oily, and the tint gives a hint of coverage.

c. The best sunscreen for sports and outdoor activities

On days you plan on exercising outdoors, say playing golf or swimming in the pool, opt for a sunscreen for sports. Vichy Idéal Soleil Sport Ultra-Light Refreshing Lotion SPF 60 stays on in the water (80 minutes of water and sweat resistance), can be applied to slick skin and absorbs quickly. It uses Mexoryl sun filter technology along with other chemical filters to provide broad-spectrum sun protection.


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