Choose the best sunscreen for your skin

What should you look for when buying sunscreen? And what is the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical sunscreen?

Effective anti-aging starts with protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. You have two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are present throughout the year and are 30 to 50 times more common than UVB rays. They easily penetrate glass and clouds and reach your deep skin layers, where they damage collagen and elastin. This causes your skin to age prematurely. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and can damage the outer layers of your skin. Therefore, choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. We have a handy way to remember the effects of different types of UV radiation:

  • UVA: the A of Aging (aging)
  • UVB: the B of Burning

Sunscreens (creams with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF)) can contain either chemical or physical sun filters or a combination of both.

How does a chemical sunscreen work?

A sunscreen product with a chemical sunscreen is absorbed by your skin. It penetrates the skin and blocks radiation there. This type of filter is suitable for people who sweat a lot and/or are in the water, because a chemical filter does not wash off the skin easily.

How does a physical (mineral) sunscreen work?

A sunscreen product with a physical or mineral filter remains more like a layer on the skin and reflects UV radiation. Because a physical filter does not soak into the skin, it is less likely to cause skin irritation and is therefore suitable for people with sensitive skin. We at The Laser Clinic often recommend a sunscreen product with physical sunscreen, such as Heliocare’s Mineral Tolerance SPF50. There are also sunscreen products that combine both chemical and physical filters.

What is a PA grade?

A PA grade reflects how well the sunscreen in the sunscreen product protects against UVA radiation. This grade is listed on the better sunscreen products:

  • PA+ -> single UVA protection
  • PA++ -> moderate UVA protection
  • PA+++ -> high UVA protection
  • PA++++ -> very high UVA protection

Check that your sunscreen offers both UVA and UVB protection and choose a product with at least PA+++. This way you are well protected from the harmful effects of sunlight and can effectively combat premature skin aging!

Smits, D. (2022, December 15). Skin care routine from our skin therapist – Iconic Elements by Dr. Wu. Iconic Elements by Dr. Wu.

Written by skin therapist Ellen

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