How to find the best sunscreen for your skin type
Sunscreen is a hard one. We all know and understand the importance of sun protection, however finding a formula that doesn’t break you out or ruin your makeup, amongst other things, can be almost impossible. We spoke to the Dermalogica Education Manager, Emma Hobson about how to identify your skin type, as well as how to find the right sunscreen for it.
How do I identify my skin type?
“Skin type is determined genetically,” explains Hobson. “[It] can be categorised by assessing the amount of oil secreted by the skin. Your skin type doesn’t fluctuate much month to month, it will slowly and progressively change as you age.” Skin is also more likely to become dryer for women post-menopause, says Hobson.
Combination: “The T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) are more oily than the rest of the face, and you experience an oily shine down the centre. In the T-zone you may find some blackheads and congestion and occasionally the odd breakout. The skin on the rest of the face is fairly well balanced,” she explains.
Oily: “The skin on the entire face is generally oily. [This is due] to overactive oil glands. You can be congested and experience breakouts anywhere on the face,” she says.
Dry: “The skin doesn’t produce enough oil, this is not to be confused with the skin condition of dehydration, when the skin is lacking in moisture (not oil). It is not common for young people generally to have dry skin, for the majority of people it comes with age. The skin often feels taught and tight, you won’t have any open pores or an oily shine.”
Normal: Not too much oil secretion and not too little, normal skin [is generally] perfectly balanced. No visible open pores, congestion, blackheads, redness or pigmentation, including freckles,” explains Hobson.
Why is it important to use sunscreen specific to your skin type?
“In the past, many sunscreens contained oil, as well as comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients such as artificial colours,” which meant they were more likely to be contributing to breakouts, explains Hobson. “Today, however, many sunscreens are completely oil free, feather light and even have ingredients that help prevent breakouts.”
“Sunscreens today are created not to simply protect the skin against UV rays, they are created to protect against oxidation from free radicals, as well as being treatment products to achieve good skin health, work with your skin type and your skin condition for ultimate performance and results. Many treatment moisturisers [now, also] double up as a sunscreen with SPF between 30 and 50.”
So, what type of sunscreen should I be using?
Oily: “Oil free, mattifying, feather light and [often] designed for oily skin.”
bh loves: Dermalogica Medibac Oil Free Matte SPF30, Skinceuticals Ultimate UV Defence SPF30 (find it at skinceuticals.com.au)
Acne-prone: “Oil free, mattifying and feather light, similarly to oily skin, but look for formulas that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, which help prevent congestion.”
bh loves: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF50+ (find it at laroche-posay.com.au), SunSense Anti-Ageing Face Matte SPF 50+
Dry and/or sensitive: “A facial sunscreen containing nourishing barrier lipids (such as Shea Butter and vitamin E) and hydrators (such as Hyaluronic Acid) to keep the skin smooth, soft and nourished. I suggest a sunscreen with either a blend of chemical and physical sunscreens or if the skin is more sensitive, then a physical sunscreen,” says Hobson.
bh loves: Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF30, Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF50+ (find it at mecca.com.au)
Combination: “Lightweight hydrating sunscreen,” should be your go-to explains Hobson. “It can be oil free or with just a touch of oil, the key is hydration combined with antioxidants.”
bh loves: Sunbum Signature SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion (find it at priceline.com.au), Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser SPF30 Mattifying
Top tip: bh also recommends using an SPF product for your lips, such as Blistex Ultra Lip Balm SPF50+. It also works for all skin types!
Main image credit @tashoakley
What is your go-to sunscreen for your skin type?