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Should you be using different sunscreens for your face and body?

When it comes to adequately protecting your skin against the damaging effects of the sun, sunscreen is widely known as your saving grace for both your face and body. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the skin on your face is not the same as the skin on your body.

The question of whether you should be using different sunscreens for your face and body is further explained by ISDIN South Africa: a leading brand in dermatology offering advanced sun protection, backed up by clinical evidence and research spanning over 40 years. 

Why you should be using different sunscreens

“The skin on the face is thinner than that on the body, so it needs more protection. Therefore, sunscreens for the face need to consider several more elements in terms of formulation than those for the body. Additionally, the care required for each area of the body differs,” explains Karlo Mitchell from ISDIN South Africa.

The main reason to use separate sunscreens for your face and body is that facial skin is generally more sensitive. Facial sunscreens are usually oil-free, making them gentler and less likely to cause breakouts. They should not be too greasy, leave a significant white cast, or cause eye irritation.

Formulations and ingredients

Facial sunscreens are typically formulated to absorb and blend easily without being too oily or leaving residue. Common ingredients like silica or tapioca starch help absorb oil. Facial sunscreens may also contain skin-beneficial and anti-ageing ingredients.

While body sunscreens provide protection, investing in a separate face sunscreen is recommended, especially for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Many body sunscreens contain ingredients like coconut esters or shea butter, which may not be suitable for the face. For those with acne-prone skin, it’s best to avoid sunscreens containing jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut esters, silicones or waxes, as these can clog pores and exacerbate breakouts.

How to pick your body and face sunscreens

For the upcoming summer season, many people prefer chemical sunscreens for their ease of blending. However, mineral sunscreens are recommended for sensitive skin or those prone to rashes. The active ingredients in mineral sunscreens are gentler, helping to avoid irritation around the eyes.

“Chemical sunscreens use active ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb UV rays and convert them to heat. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to form a physical barrier against UV rays,” explains Mitchell.

It’s also advisable to use a sunscreen formulated with eye skin in mind. For example, the ISDIN Fusion Water SPF features patented wet skin technology and does not irritate the eyes. It comes in three tinted shades, offering natural, all-day coverage. Tinted sunscreens contain iron oxide, which provides protection against blue light in addition to UV light.

This summer, be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Reapply at least every two hours while in the sun. When choosing a sunscreen, whether for your face or body, always check for protection against UVA and UVB rays.

“And lastly, ensure every bare patch of skin is properly protected when in the sun. Be sure to massage the sunscreen all the way to the hairline and around the mouth, neck and ears for full coverage,” concludes Mitchell.

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