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Your essential SPF guide

Did you know not all sunscreens are created equally? Yes there are different brands and factors, but there are two main differences between all sunscreens. They are either physical or chemical blocks. This means the way it works, either it works by a chemical block or a physical block. 

Chemical sunscreens

Chemical suncreens contain carbon based ingredients to help them work, such as; oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. Chemical spf converts the rays of the sun to heat within the skin and expels it. They can be also called chemical absorbers. They have a thick consistency, and are often used in combination with skin boosting ingredients such as peptides. Physical sunscreens

Physical sunscreens use active ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Physical blocks work by deflecting or bouncing the sun's rays causing them to bounce off the skin and scatter. They sit on the upper layers of the skin.  The good, the bad and....

There are good and bad points to consider when using both blocks. There are also specific things to take into consideration when choosing an spf. Chemical sunscreens can cause pigmentation to worsen, this can be a problem for those prone to pigmentation as it can trigger the production of excess melanin. They are also not a great choice for those prone to acne, as they can worsen acne symptoms. They also take up to 15 minutes to absorb into the skin, so you should avoid if you are having treatment for melasma, hyper pigmentation and acne. You should also take care while using prescription products, as you will need to allow time for the product to create a protective barrier, allowing time to burn between applications, though not much product is needed to create a good block. Chemical blocks also feel lighter on the skin and spread easily.

Physical sunscreens can be a problem for sensitive skins, and they have a white or chalky appearance due to the zinc oxide. These spfs tend to sweat off easily, and can be difficult to use if you are wearing make up.  Like chemical sunscreens you can also risk burning with incorrect application. Physical spf needs to be applied generously to prevent uv light from penetrating the upper layers of the skin. Physical sunscreen does offer a really good level of protection agsinst UVA and UVB rays, and it lasts for longer between applications.

So how do you decide?

Basically you need to think about what you are doing during your day, are you swimming, sunbathing etc? are you prone to acne or pigmentation?  All of these issues will help you to decide which spf to use. The most important thing though is to wear some spf, either one will prevent ageing,  lines and wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. 

Please don't rely on spf in makeup and moisturiser, they are not an effective source of spf. They are there as a failsafe in case you forget your spf in my opinion. You also need to apply spf regularly. 

The best of both

This is why I stock heliocare, using a combination of the two types of ingredients and other added ingredients. Heliocare's exclusive combination of phytobiological, physical and chemical filters, and the latest photoprotection technologies. Heliocare topical range is one of the most complete lines in the market with best coverage against UVA & UVB rays. This range of topical products is especially effective for those who are prone to hyperpigmentation as it has the ability to protect skin cells (DNA) and repair the damage caused by UV rays

There are so many brands out there and once you've found one you like, apply it regularly and especially after swimming, it will prevent you from causing lasting damage to your skin. If you buy one skincare product, make it a sunscreen. Invest in yourself. A recent poll I completed, shows 78% of my readers apply spf, this is amazing! Keep it up! For those of you who don't, its something you must change. It's a small change in routine that can save your life, skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Ireland.... protect yourself.

Talk to me about protecting your skin!

True Skin stocks Heliocare and it is €25 


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