The Key Ingredients in Sunscreen

To ensure your sunscreen or sunblock protects your skin fromboth UVA and UVB rays, read the ingredients of the bottle. The best sunscreens contain physical and chemical sunblocks and antioxidants. Here is a guide to understanding the different ingredients of sunscreens.

What are Physical Sunblocks?

Physical sunblocks usually contain micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (Z-cote) and block out the dangerous rays upon application by literally covering the skin. They are particularly good for sensitive skin.

What are Chemical Sunblocks?

Chemical sunblocks interact with the skin and must be applied 30 minutes before exposure to the sun’s rays. Common ones are avobenzone (Parsol 1789) for UVA rays, and octyl salicylate and cinnamates for UVB rays.

Water-resistant and Water-proof Sunblocks

These contain ingredients that make them stickier than regular sunblocks so they stay on in the water, but neither type is completely foolproof. Always reapply after swimming.

Antioxidants in Sunblock

Topically applied antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, green tea and grapeseed extract neutralize the free radicals that damage healthy skin cells which lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.