Lets breakdown sunscreen and why it's so important for anti-aging and what happens to your pores when you forget to apply it.
Mineral vs Chemical
Chemical sunscreen (a deeper ingredient dive is below), absorb UV rays from the sun. These types of sunscreens attempt to dissipate the UV rays through a chemical reaction. Mineral sunscreen creates a physical barrier that blocks and reflects UV rays.
Chemical active ingredients are: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone, Octocrylene and Homosalate.
Mineral active ingredients are: Zinc Oxide (the thick white stuff) and Titanium Dioxide.
UVA vs UVB
Lets take a deeper dive into the two types of rays. UVA rays are responsible for ageing and wrinkling the skin. They are absorbed by the dermis layer of the skin and cause all those nasty aging side effects that we spend so much money trying to reverse.
UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin and are absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin.
Fighting the Wrinkle Rays
Obviously we all want to protect ourselves from the burning UVB rays...no one wants to look like a lobster. Lets focus on the UVA rays. Here is an interesting fact, not all chemical sunscreen ingredients block wrinkle causing UVA rays. So, lets take a deeper look into the chemical sunscreen ingredients so we can make sure our sunscreen bottle is actually helping us anti-age.
Oxybenzone: Does an okay job fighting the UVA rays.
Octinoxate: Does not protect against all UVA types of rays.
Octisalate: This guy does an okay job with the UVA rays and is typically used to stabilize avobenzone.
Avobenzone: Does its job to fight off UVA.
Octocrylene: Does a less than half ass job with the UVA rays.
Homesalate: Does not do a sufficient job protecting against UVA rays.
You'll notice that when you purchase a chemical sunscreen bottle there are usually a few chemical sunscreen filters. This is a perfect example of "it takes a village" because alone they aren't as effective but together they really get the job done.
Tips for Sunscreen
1. If using a chemical sunscreen, make sure you reapply throughout the day. Because chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, they will degrade over the course of the day.
2. Most people don't apply their sunscreen appropriately, which leaves parts of the skin inadequately covered. For example, you apply an SPF 30 to your face in the morning, but you don't do a thorough job with application. So now you have more like an SPF 15 on your face. And by lunch time, after it's degraded for a few hours, you're left with an SPF 5 on your face and that isn't protecting you against any wrinkle causing rays. Be diligent about application!
3. The sunscreen in your makeup isn't adequate! For proper sun protection you should be applying a sunscreen to your skin prior to applying makeup.
4. Did you know that UVA and UVB rays can cause the pores on your face to get larger? These damaging rays will cause your pore structure to become sloppy and weak. It also causes your skin to lose it's firmness and elasticity. So if you want tight pores start applying your sunscreen every single morning!
5. If you have sensitive skin, use sunscreens formulated and marketed towards infants.
Top Sunscreen Picks
1. UltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen : Mineral based sunscreen for sensitive skin.
2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch : This has an SPF 100. Just a side note, anything over SPF 75 is pretty much the same. But if you aren't applying your sunscreen properly (see #2 above) then an SPF 100 will certainly help to make sure your bases are covered.
3. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Sunscreen: A really nice SPF 60 for face and body.