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The sun's rays are the number one cause of skin aging. That's why you need to protect your skin from the sun. Skin exposed to the sun is at greater risk for skin cancer including the most serious kind, melanoma. It's important to protect all exposed skin, including your face. Wearing a facial sunscreen is vital since it's exposed to the sun every day while your body may be covered.
Sunscreens fall into two classes: chemical-based and mineral-based. Chemical sunscreens absorb light from the sun, while mineral sunscreens reflect light off of your skin like a reflector. Mineral-based sunscreens are usually made of zinc oxide or titanium oxide. People who are concerned about the chemicals in sunscreens often choose a mineral-based variety. Sunscreens for the face are available in both chemical and mineral-based formulations.
Why do you need a sunscreen made specifically for your face? The skin on your face is different from the skin on your body. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, the ingredients in sun care products for your body may clog your pores and contribute to breakouts. A number of sunscreen products for faces are non-comedogenic, meaning they won't clog your pores. These sunscreens are usually lighter in texture and are often free of ingredients that cause skin irritation.
If you have dry or more mature skin, look for a sunscreen with ingredients like ceramides, shea butter or fatty acids that help to hold in moisture. Some sunscreens for the face also have added antioxidants, including vitamin E, to protect your skin from environmental damage.
For a natural approach to protecting your skin from sunlight, certified-organic sunscreens are available. These are formulated with herbs and plant-based ingredients. They're generally biodegradable and free of synthetic colorings and fragrances.
Children need sun protection too. In fact, most sun damage to the face occurs before the age of 18. Much of this damage could be prevented if children, adolescents and teens wore sun protection every day. If you're a parent, you're likely concerned about what you put on your child's skin. A number of sunscreens for the face are made just for children. These products offer a natural approach to protecting your child's skin. Look for gentle formulas that are free of chemicals. You may want to consider a water resistant formula, especially if your child swims or spends lots of time in the sun.
When you put a sun product on your face, don't forget to cover your neck. It needs protection too. Your lips are another part of your face that needs sun protection. Available are lip balms that moisturize and soften your lips while protecting them from the sun. Look for one that has an SPF of 30 or greater. They're ideal if you play outdoor sports, especially winter sports where your lips can dry out.