Wednesday, July 25, 2012

sunscreen or sunblock

As mentioned in preview post, I have been looking for a sunblock/ sunscreen for my daughter.
Using a sun protection is a MUST for me whenever I go out even if it’s just 10 minutes. Why do I insist on us putting on the sun protection?

-the rays from the sun contain UVA and UVB which are known to be harmful to the skin. They can cause skin cancer, aging, pigmentation, burn, etc.
-so, what is UVA again? It’s the long wave type of ray that constantly present, regardless season or weather. It does not appear when the sun is out. It also presents during rain and stormy weather. UVA can penetrate your clothes, glass and thus, your delicate skin.   
-this UVA can damage your skin and cause aging, wrinkles, spots and worse, skin cancer.
-UVB is the short type of wave that penetrates less into the skin. However, it doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. This is the ray that causes sunburn and redness…and also skin cancer.
-it does present always. The strength differs during summer or where the sun exposure is more. Malaysia is definitely full of UVB!! So, u have to have to protect yourself everyday.
-basically, both UVA and UVB are carcinogenics . better stay away from them by putting on sun protection.
You can get more explanation  here:

Now that I’ve ‘cut and paste’ the above (but in my own language and understanding), I am now contemplating between sunblock or sunscreen. They are not the same.

In general, sunscreen provides chemical protection against UVA and UVB. It contains chemicals that protect your skin by absorbing and reflecting UV rays and allows a certain range of UV light to be absorbed into the skin.

Sunblock contains physical or inorganic ingredients that reflect and scatter the UVB light and acts as a wall between your skin and the sun. Look for Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide as the main ingredient. Some literatures say that it does not blocks the UVA. Some say it can. Because it is not absorbed, it is more suitable for those with acne condition.

These active ingredients approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens.
FDA-Approved Sunscreens

Active Ingredient/UV Filter Name
Range Covered
UVA1: 340-400 nm
UVA2: 320-340 nm
UVB: 290-320 nm
Chemical Absorbers:

Aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX)
Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimiazole Sulfonic Acid)
Meradimate (Menthyl Anthranilate)
Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
Octisalate ( Octyl Salicylate)
Padimate O
Trolamine Salicylate
Physical Filters:

Titanium Dioxide
Zinc Oxide

Another potent ingredient is Mexoryl. However it is not approved by FDA. Not known why.  But countries other than US have been using it safely. Mexoryl is one of the chemical filters that efficiently absorbs the UVA. It is said to be the best in absorbing UVA.

So far, I have found few products that can go into my List. The criteria that I’m looking for:
-physical filters because I have sensitive skin. From what I see in Ayra, I think she might have sensitive skin as well.  like mother like daughter! Physical filters won’t clog your pore, so better choice for acne prone skin.
-broad spectrum so it can cover both harmful UVA and UVB.
-if it were to contain chemical filter, want it to be at the lowest percentage.
-non-oily please. Always.
-preferably lotion as it is more suitable for oily skin. It is lighter and less oily than cream. But if no lotion is available, then cream should be ok. (mummy has oily skin lor..)
-preferably no paraben plz. My products are all paraben free okeh..dont want to mess with that..

So.. after a few search and long2 time spent online,  there are few products that caught my attention.

-Shiseido Ultimate Suncare SPF55
Act. Ing: ZnO(16.3%), TiO(2.2%), Octinoxate(7.4%)


-Avene Cleanance High Protection Emulsion SPF 30 for Acne-prone Skin 50ml
Act. Ing: ZnO, TiO

fyi, i have been using this particular Avene sunblock for the past 2 years. it suits me well. no break out. one flaw that i wish doesn't happen is... it is a little bit oily for my skin. which at times can be soo oily. like i can fry fries with! 

from what i read, both are compatible for babies age above 6 months. 

my heart is inclining towards shiseido. before making decision, i gotta check the price first. 
avene costs around less than rm100. but it can last sooo long. 
shiseido im not sure yet. i bet it'd be around rm150.

we'll see... 

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