Sunday, October 25, 2015

My two cents on sunscreens

On my old blog I used to write about sunscreens a lot, since I think they are an important part of skincare in general. At least that is how I started caring for my skin since 2010 (when I finally had the money and interest for it).
I used to like those Biore alcohol-sunscreens, as they are easily absorbed into the skin and wear well under makeup. But when I went on a vacation at the beach, it happened: I was constantly reapplying my sunscreen yet I got freckles and discolorations like crazy. I thought: "What the hell? This is SPF 50!" My skin was getting worse and worse. Dehydration, large pores, brown spots. I still kept on using other alcohol sunscreens until I came across some reviews of Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence. It is still often recommended and used by many bloggers. But why?(Maybe they are not as sensitive as me...)

 In many short reviews people pointed out that they got sunburned when wearing it. Hey! What is the point of applying a sunscreen if you are going to get burned?
Nowadays more and more Japanese brands make sunscreens without alcohol. It must have a reason, right? It has negative long term effects. So you cannot see anything bad happen right away. But high amounts of alcohol (second or third ingredient) will not completely evaporate and cause damage.
I was searching around if anyone made a blog post about this yet and I came across this.

Did you hear me, Biore? I am breaking up with you!

I am not a scientist or chemist. On my blog you will not see any chemical molecule structures or ph-strips. I am simply sharing my experience.
Since I have been using sunscreens for many years I can definitely say that alcohol-based sunscreens made my skin more sensitive, dehydrated and irritated. Especially after being outdoors and coming back home, my face just felt itchy and like it was burning from the inside.
A while ago I switched to alcohol-free sunscreens and did not look back. Some Japanese brands that make alcohol-free sunscreens are Cezanne, Omi and Mellsavon.

Another thing that people rarely mention is the UV index. For example, around this time of the year the UV index in Europe is quite low. That means you do not need very high UVB protection. Where I live, unfortunately, we even have a medium UV index on cloudy days.
Sunscreen will never protect you 100 percent. It is much more save to 1) wear a large hat and sunglasses 2) stay out of the sun. If you apply SPF 100 and then go to lie down on a beach, it does not mean you will not get sun-burned.

Asian sunscreens in general are formulated for Asian people. Here in Asia hardly anyone will stand outside in the burning sunlight, trying to get a sun-kissed glow. On the beach I have never seen a Chinese woman in a small bikini lying down to get a tan. Never. Asian sunscreens were made for daily use, for protection against brown spots and aging. It is all about whitening and being/staying white. European sunscreens are formulated for the beach or outdoor sports. So they are much more save but not as user-friendly for everyday use like the Asian ones.
So if you are going to be out in the sun a lot, better use a thicker formula. Those thin runny textures dry quickly and feel nice but when it comes to protection, they are not as save. That is just my personal experience. If you still insist on using Asian brands look for the "sports"-type of sunscreens. They are water-resistant or even water-proof and will hold up in high humidity and when you are sweating.

Personally I wear a thin sunscreen every day PLUS I stay out of the sun as much as I can. Alcohol (the drying type) is an ingredient I am trying to avoid. Just like I will not wipe my face with rubbing alcohol or astringent, I will not use an alcohol-sunscreen (unless the amount is less than 1 percent). I think that is outdated and unnecessary, especially when there are such great products without it. In my opinion alcohol is pro-aging. By the way, I do not drink alcohol either, ;) .

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