If you’re diligent enough to wear sunscreen, you probably want to make sure your sunscreen contains the most effective ingredients, don’t you? I wrote about my experiences to find the best sunscreen and sunblock – one that works best to not only protect against burning, but wrinkles and cancer as well. From my testing, I concluded that Zinc Oxide-based sunscreens work best for me, but Mexoryl-based sunscreens are extremely promising.
To get a bit technical, you want your sunscreen to protect you against UVA and UVB rays. UVA is what is responsible for aging your skin, giving you wrinkles, and skin cancer. UVB is what causes your skin to darken and burn. While all the information I read is a bit conflicting, here is a general idea of how the wavelengths of UVA and UVB breakdown:
UVB (burning) has a wavelength range (in nanometers) of:
UVA (aging) has a wavelength range (in nanometers) of:
To get the best sun protection, you want your sunscreen to contain ingredients that cover as wide a range as possible in the 280-400 spectrum. Here’s how a few of the best and most common sunscreen ingredients breakdown:
Zinc Oxide 290-380
Titanium Dioxide 290-340
Octinoxate and Octisalate 280-320
Now many sunscreens combine ingredients to cover a wider range of the spectrum. However, you can see that Zinc Oxide and Mexoryl cover the widest spectrum all by themselves, and they are photo-stable ingredients. This is extremely important, because it means your sunscreen won’t lose effectiveness an hour after you apply it like Avobenzene, for example, which is not photo-stable. I briefly mentioned in the best sunscreen post that Neutrogena and some other companies use Helioplex, or other ingredients to make their Avobenzene more photostable. I haven’t experimented with these ingredients, but I doubt they are as photo-stable as Zinc Oxide or Mexoryl.
I am still a huge fan of Zinc Oxide, and have not tested Mexoryl sunscreens much yet. I tried La Roche Posay’s Anthelios, which is great in theory, but it caused me to break out like crazy and get a face-full of zits after every use! I was not able to determine if it caused my face to feel like it was on fire, which is how I feel when I use a sunscreen with Avobenzene.
Because Mexoryl covers a slightly better UVA range than Zinc Oxide, I will be on the lookout for more new sunscreens to test. However, I like sunscreens that have an SPF of at least 30, and I don’t want to try the Anthelios line again, so my choices are limited. Also, aside from the Mexoryl, I don’t want a product that contains any pore clogging ingredients. I need to find out once and for all if it’s the Mexoryl that is clogging my pores. If I find another high SPF sunscreen with Mexoryl, and it doesn’t clog my pores, the next step will be to test it outside in the hot sun for an hour or so. I should have started this testing this summer:( I’ll keep you posted with my results.