It is no secret that we all want to age gracefully – and if you’re like me, you’ve spent countless hours in the skincare aisle looking for the best possible products to make that dream a reality. Unfortunately, the skincare aisle tends to be slightly confusing, especially when it comes to sunblock. UVA and UVB? Physical? Chemical? All of these labels can tend to get quite daunting and they leave you wondering what these words actually mean and what products will benefit you in the long run.
As a kid, you probably remember being on your week long beach vacation and hearing your mom nag you to put sunblock on, every hour, on the hour. Looking back now, I am so thankful for all the white covered noses and slippery lotion that took over on those beach days. With the depletion of the ozone layer, there has been a substantial increase in our risk of sun damage from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen and sunblocks are able to block these rays, which greatly reduces the chances of getting sunburns or worse, skin cancer.
“So which sunblock should I use?”
You have probably seen the words “Physical” and “Chemical” on your sunscreen bottles before. But have you ever actually known the difference? Most people don’t.
A chemical sunscreen can be compared to a sponge. Chemical sunscreen is absorbed into your body, which then absorbs UV rays. This allows your body to convert those rays into heat to be released from your body. Whereas, a physical sunblock sits on top of your skin which then reflects the sun’s rays.
“But what exactly are these ‘Rays’”
The sun produces several different types of rays but the one you are probably most familiar with and the ones that are the most damaging to our skin are called ultraviolet, or UV, rays. The two basic types of UV rays that are able to reach our skin are UVB and UVA, and unfortunately, these rays are not your friend. They both are responsible for breaking down collagen. (Which is what helps keep your skin looking firm, plump and wrinkle free!) However, fortunately for you, adding a sun-block to your daily morning routine will help stop these rays from negatively affecting your skin.
Have you ever had a sunburn? If so, this is thanks to the overexposure of UVB rays. In addition to sunburns, UVB rays are also largely responsible for the formation of skin cancer, including malignant melanoma, which can be fatal. While UVA rays can also play a part in the development of skin cancers, they are also responsible for premature skin aging and wrinkle formation. UVA rays can be found year long,maintain their strength, even in the colder months, and can penetrate glass. This is why it is essential to get in the habit of applying sunblock because you never know when you will be headed outside, sitting near a window, or even staring at your computer screen.
While natural blue light can give you amazing benefits, man-made blue light is incredibly toxic to your skin. Man-made blue light can be found in fluorescent lighting, LEDs, TV screens and smartphones, tablets and computers. Extended exposure to this light has led to eyestrain, blurred vision, sleep disruption, migraines and unfortunately, skin damage. Luckily, this blue light is no match for a tinted sunblock.
While there may be some products that are better than others, the most important part about purchasing a sunblock is to actually use it. We work incredibly hard to keep our skin looking amazing, and sunblock is a step that will create a drastic difference. If you are having trouble finding a sunblock that is right for you, I recommend trying the Elta MD UV Elements Tinted sunscreen or the Neova Silc Sheer Tinted sunscreen. Both of these are able to protect you from artificial blue light, the sun’s harmful rays and will help you achieve the goal of aging gracefully.