Types of sunscreen for the best protection

Types of Sunscreen

As we move from summer into Autumn, we reflect on which sunscreens are most effective in different climate conditions. When the weather shifts from pleasant warmth to an intense heatwave, our skin, which is constantly exposed to the sun’s rays, becomes even more vulnerable.

Extended exposure to extreme heat increases the risk of sunburn, early signs of ageing, and even skin cancer. Therefore, choosing the right sunscreen isn’t just about preventing a burn; it’s about comprehensive skin health.

So, which type of sunscreen will give the best protection against the sun? Here, we’ll take a closer look at the main sunscreen types, with advice on how to stay protected.

Types of sunscreen for extreme heat protection

When it comes to choosing the right sunscreen, it’s crucial to understand that they are not all made equal. You have two primary choices – mineral or chemical solutions. While both types offer protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, their mechanisms are significantly different.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) generally advises the use of water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or above. However, during intense heat waves, with temperatures soaring above 32 degrees Celsius and accompanied by high humidity, mineral sunscreens are the best option.

What are mineral sunscreens?

Mineral sunscreens contain ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. They act as a shield, reflecting UV rays before they can penetrate and harm the skin. Earlier versions of mineral sunscreens were notorious for their thick texture and noticeable white residue. However, thanks to advances in skincare, modern formulations with mineral nanoparticles blend seamlessly into the skin.

In contrast, chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays, transforming them into heat, which is then released. The chemicals in these sunscreens enter the bloodstream over time, and there’s an ongoing debate on the implications of long-term usage.

Tips for using sunscreen in extreme heat

Extreme heat demands an extreme response when it comes to sun protection. Firstly, it’s essential to apply sunscreen more frequently. The heat will cause it to absorb faster, and it also comes off when you sweat. Watch out for signs your skin could use a sunscreen top-up. Remember, it’s always better to be over generous with your application than applying too little.

Secondly, where you store your sunscreen matters. Prolonged exposure to heat can degrade the protective compounds in sunscreens. So, always keep your sunscreen bottles in a cool, shaded place, preferably inside your bag or in the shade.

Of course, you should also follow general sun protection measures. Avoid the sun during peak sunlight hours, cover the skin with thin loose-fitting clothing, wear protective sunglasses and hats, and stay hydrated.

Armed with the right sunscreen and following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the sun safely, even during the most blistering heat waves.

If you aren’t sure which type of sunscreen you should be using, or you have any skin concerns, book an appointment with Dr Juliet Williams today by calling 01483 555907.