1 Ultimate Sunscreen Guide: Protect Your Skin This Summer – MD Skin Lab Canada

Ultimate Sunscreen Guide: Protect Your Skin This Summer

Ultimate Sunscreen Guide: Protect Your Skin This Summer

Do you wear sunscreen to keep your skin protected during the summer season? If you said no, this is your sign to start! 

As summer is here, sunscreen is essential. Increased outdoor activities and prolonged sun exposure make protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is crucial. But with so many options available, from over-the-counter sunscreens to medical-grade ones, how do you choose the best one for your needs?

In this guide, we'll explore the different types of sunscreen and the critical differences between medical-grade and over-the-counter sunscreens. We will also highlight why investing in high-quality brands like Elta MD, SkinCeuticals, and ZO Skin Health from the Skin Store is worth it. All of this is done with the expertise of our physicians and aestheticians at MD Skin Lab. Let's get into it!

Understanding Sunscreen: The Basics

Sunscreen is a topical product that helps protect the skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. We must be concerned about two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are responsible for premature aging and wrinkling, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer. A good sunscreen will protect against both types of rays, and this is often indicated on the label as "broad-spectrum."

Types of Sunscreens

There are two main types of sunscreens: physical (mineral) and chemical.

Physical (Mineral) Sunscreens: These contain active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which sit on the skin and reflect UV rays. They are generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin and start working immediately upon application. However, they can sometimes leave a white cast on the skin, which can concern some users.

Chemical Sunscreens: These contain organic (carbon-based) compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. They work by absorbing UV rays, converting them into heat, and releasing them from the body. To be effective, chemical sunscreens must be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure and are less likely to leave a white cast.

Medical-Grade Sunscreen vs. Over-the-Counter Sunscreen

When choosing between medical-grade and over-the-counter sunscreens, it's essential to understand the differences and benefits of each type. Our skin experts at MD Skin Lab explain below.

Medical-Grade Sunscreen:

  • Formulation: Medical-grade sunscreens are formulated with high-quality, clinically tested ingredients. They often include additional skin-benefiting ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, and moisturizers.
  • Effectiveness: Dermatologists often recommend these sunscreens, which are designed to provide superior protection. They undergo rigorous testing to ensure their efficacy and safety.
  • Skin Health: Medical-grade sunscreens are developed to protect the skin from UV damage and improve the overall health of the skin with the addition of other skincare ingredients. Brands like Elta MD, SkinCeuticals and ZO Skin Health focus on providing comprehensive skincare benefits, making them a valuable addition to your daily skincare routine. 

These sunscreens are available at the MD Skin Lab Skin Store online or in-person at our downtown Toronto location.

Over-the-Counter Sunscreen:

  • Not Makeup Friendly: The formulation is typically not as advanced as medical-grade sunscreen which can make it difficult to blend or layer under makeup. 
  • Variety: Numerous options cater to different skin types and needs. However, the quality and effectiveness can vary significantly between brands.

Why Should I Invest in High-Quality Sunscreen? 

Investing in high-quality sunscreens like Elta MD, SkinCeuticals, and ZO Skin Health can significantly affect your skin's health and appearance. Here's why:

Elta MD: Known for its broad-spectrum sunscreens recommended by dermatologists worldwide, Elta MD offers a range of products suited for different skin types and concerns. Their sunscreens are non-comedogenic, meaning they won't clog pores and include skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid for added hydration. And, of course, this sunscreen does not leave a white cast and integrates into the sunscreen well. For example, Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is a popular choice for sensitive and acne-prone skin, providing effective sun protection without irritation. A huge benefit of EltaMD sunscreen is that it comes in both tinted and non-tinted formulations. You can shop Elta MD Sunscreen at the MD Skin Lab Skin Store or visit us in person at our Toronto location. 

Skinceuticals: Skinceuticals is renowned for its advanced, science-backed skincare solutions. Their sunscreens combine broad-spectrum UV filters with powerful antioxidants, offering effective sun protection while addressing various skin concerns. Known for their lightweight textures, Skinceuticals sunscreens are ideal for daily use under makeup or alone. A standout product is the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. This mineral-based sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The universal tint helps even out skin tone and gives a radiant finish, making it perfect for those seeking coverage and protection. You can shop our SkinCeuticals sunscreen at the MD Skin Lab Skin Store or drop by our downtown Toronto clinic.

ZO Skin Health: ZO Skin Health, developed by renowned dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi, offers advanced sun protection products beyond basic sun safety. Their sunscreens are formulated with innovative ingredients that protect, hydrate, and repair the skin. An excellent benefit is that the powder sunscreen can be used to touch up sunscreen throughout the day over makeup. The ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 is a multifunctional product that provides sun protection while also serving as a makeup primer, making it a favourite among those looking for efficiency in their skincare routine. Find various ZO Skin Health products at the MD Skin Lab Skin Store, or find us in person in Toronto

How Do I Choose the Right Sunscreen for Me? 

Know Your Skin Type: Select a sunscreen that caters to your skin type. For oily or acne-prone skin, look for non-comedogenic, oil-free formulations. For dry skin, opt for sunscreens with hydrating ingredients.

Check the SPF. SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how well the sunscreen protects your skin from UVB rays. Our experts recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for daily use and reapplying every two hours when outdoors.

Look for Broad-Spectrum Protection: Ensure your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Consider Your Activities: Choose water-resistant sunscreen if you're swimming or sweating. Water-resistant sunscreens will protect you for a certain period while you're in the water or sweating, but it's still important to reapply regularly.

Read the Ingredients: Look for sunscreens with added skincare benefits, such as antioxidants, which can help protect your skin from environmental damage and improve overall skin health.

Medical-Grade: Invest in a medical-grade sunscreen formulated with high-quality, clinically proven ingredients to offer superior protection and additional skincare benefits. Unlike over-the-counter options, these sunscreens undergo rigorous testing and are often recommended by dermatologists for their effectiveness. Medical-grade sunscreens blend nicely on the skin and colour match your skin tone.

If you’re having difficulty choosing the right option from the MD Skin Lab Skin Store, contact our experts – we’re happy to help!

Let's Get You Summer-Ready! 

As you prepare for summer, choosing the right sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. While over-the-counter sunscreens offer accessibility and variety, investing in medical-grade sunscreens like Elta MD, SkinCeuticals, and ZO Skin Health can provide superior protection and additional skincare benefits. Remember, the best sunscreen you'll use consistently, so find a product that fits your skin type and lifestyle. With the right sunscreen, you can enjoy the summer sun safely and maintain healthy, radiant skin all season. Find your perfect sunscreen at the MD Skin Lab Skin Store, or visit us in person in Toronto