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What Type of Sunscreen Should I Be Using?

Posted by Adeline Yeak on
What Type of Sunscreen Should I Be Using?

Image By Zove Beauty

By Shilpa Bhim

Here at Zove Beauty, wearing sunscreen daily is a core part of our skincare routine. We all know that it protects our skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays after all.

But how important is wearing Sunscreen? What sun protection factor (SPF) level should we be wearing? What’s the best type of sunscreen to wear? Does wearing makeup with SPF in it count as wearing sunscreen?

You’ve got questions, Zovers. So we caught up with Dr Debra Jaliman, one of New York City’s top Board Certified dermatologists, to find out all the answers!

Whether you’re a novice to wearing sunscreen daily, or just want to know if you’re applying the right SPF level, we’ve got you covered.


In short, yes.

Dr Jaliman explains that the sun’s UV rays damage fibres in the skin causing it to age. They also cause sun damage and may cause skin cancer. Wearing SPF daily protects your skin from these damaging effects.

There are two types of UV rays that you need to protect your skin from - UVA and UVB.

UVA rays are known as long wave rays. About 95 per cent of rays that reach the earth’s surface are UVA rays, and they can penetrate clouds and glass.

UVB rays are known as short wave rays and they don’t penetrate your skin as deeply as UVA rays do. They are usually more intense from Spring to early Autumn (during sunny hours) and cause your skin to burn.

“Sunscreen should be worn daily to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots and other pigment irregularities but most importantly to help protect your skin and prevent skin cancer,” says Dr Jaliman.


“Choose and SPF 30 or higher,” says Dr Jaliman.

No sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays. However, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 15 blocks only 93% of UVB rays.

Regardless of the SPF level you use, you need to reapply regularly to keep your skin protected.

We recommend choosing a primary sunscreen (i.e. look out for the AUST L code on the bottle) of SPF30 or SPF50+ for daily wear.


This one really depends on what you’re doing, according to Dr Jaliman.

For example, if you’re not spending time in direct sunlight (aka, outside) you could use makeup or skincare with sunscreen in it and protect your skin. However, Dr Jaliman doesn’t recommend relying on makeup or skincare with SPF in it for a day out in the sun.

“Usually makeup does not have SPF levels high enough to protect your skin if you’re out in direct sunlight.”

We recommend wearing sunscreen daily regardless of what you’re doing - why not build up a daily habit to ensure your skin is safe, happy, and healthy? 


This is a question that many of us grapple with, and Dr Jaliman has broken it right down for you!

Physical Sunscreen

Dr Jaliman notes that a physical sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

It contains mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and it sits on top of the skin to deflect and distribute damaging UV rays away from the skin.   

Chemical Sunscreen

“Chemical sunscreens are made of synthetic ingredients while mineral sunscreens are natural.  A chemical sunscreen absorbs and changes UV rays into heat, then releases that heat from the skin,” says Dr Jaliman.  

She shares that most chemical sunscreens protect from one or the other but not both of the UV rays.  “However, if you prefer a chemical sunscreen, look for Octinoxate or Mexoryl SX because it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.”

If in doubt, check that the packaging says the SPF is “broad spectrum” as this means it will protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.


Obviously this comes down to personal choice and both physical and chemical sunscreens are safe to use.

Dr Jaliman has a pro tip for people with sensitive or acne prone skin: stick with Mineral sunscreens!

She highlights that mineral sunscreens are much less irritating as they are formulated with natural ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

“These ingredients are safer for people with oily or acne-prone skin. The ingredients in chemical sunscreens can aggravate acne or make people with sensitive skin red and itchy.”

If you have dry skin, Dr Jaliman recommends using a moisturising sunscreen with aloe vera or hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated. 

Last but not least, she notes that “mineral sunscreens can also come in powder form, making it a good option for someone with oily skin.”


Dr Jaliman appreciates that wearing sunscreen that gives your skin a white or ashy look can be frustrating. Fortunately, she has a tip for you!

“Look for the newer technology mineral sunscreens which are formulated in a way where they won’t leave behind that white pasty look,” she says.

So, no matter what is on your agenda for the day, be sure to slip, slop and slap on that sunscreen regularly Zovers. Your skin will be healthy and happy, and so will you (especially now that you know you can wave goodbye to that white/ashy sunscreen look)!

Do you wear sunscreen daily? Share your thoughts and experiences with us via the little icon on your right, via Instagram or email us!

Shilpa is a freelance health, beauty and travel writer from Melbourne, Australia. You can keep up with her adventures over at @skb.ontherun and check out her latest articles here.

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