One of the reasons traditional sunscreens, meaning the original carbon based sunscreens, sometimes fail, is because people don't put enough on. But on DermTV I say you don’t need to use as much chem-free sunscreen as traditional sunscreen. So what’s the story?
Chem-free sunscreens aren’t new. Fifty years ago, lifeguards used zinc oxide… one of the two chemicals in chem-free sunscreens… on their noses to prevent bad sunburns. However, that form of zinc oxide was a white paste that is aesthetically unacceptable to use on your entire face. In order for chem-free sunscreens to become cosmetically and aesthetically acceptable, the size of the zinc oxide particles had to be reduced to a sufficiently small size so they would no longer reflect light because when they do, the sunscreen appears pasty and white. So todays chem-free sunscreen’s particles have been made so tiny that they are invisible on your skin.
The process of reducing the size of the particles is called micronization. Reducing particle size results in the layer of sunscreen on your skin being much thinner, but just as effective. So the same amount of sunscreen covers a much larger area and any given area requires less sunscreen to get the protection you need. While people can use the same amount of chem-free sunscreen as traditional carbon-based sunscreen, usually when they do, the layer of sunscreen is so thick that the sunscreen becomes visible again as a white coating on the skin. Let me show you...
On the basis of personal experience and the use of chem-free sunscreens by many thousands of patients, using less chem-free than traditional carbon-based sunscreen still results in effective sun protection as well as a cosmetically acceptable experience. There is nothing bad about applying as much chem-free as traditional sunscreen if you don't mind the appearance of the white layer on your skin [POINT], but I don’t see the point.
I'm not aware of chem-free sunscreen, when used in the quantities I've suggested, failing to provide appropriate protection as long as they, like all sunscreens, are applied before sun exposure and reapplied immediately after swimming, sweating, and additionally every two-to-three hours.
Chem free. Traditional. Just use sunscreen.