Did you know depending on the kind of sun protection you use, you could be actively drying your skin? Great for oily/combination skin types and not so great for dry skin sufferers. Not many people know this, but sunblock is an un-sung culprit of dry, flaky skin patches, here’s why…
Why Sunblock Could be the Cause of Your Dry Skin
Sunscreen and sunblock are the most cost effective anti-aging cream, but who knew that one of them could also be the cause of your dry skin. If you’ve just started using sunblock like it were a new religion, and BAM you now have skin dryness that you never had before – sunblock is your culprit.
…and if you already have dry skin? Well in this case it could be pushing your skin type from dry to desert.
So why the heck is this? Why can sunblock ‘dry out’ your skin?
There is one common, hero sunblock ingredient that gives broad spectrum UVA & UVB sun protection and is also a well known astringent.
Astringent: A skincare ingredient that causes ‘constriction’ (it makes stuff small) of bodily tissues and that stops ‘bodily secretions’ (that’s stuff like sebum and sweat).
If you have a mineral sunblock, then it is 99.999999% likely to contain a big dose of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is amazingly good at physically blocking UV rays from your skin, it is the best physical sunblock ingredient… that we currently know of (us scientists are always discovering new shizzle, so I’m legally obliged to leave that 0.0000001% disclaimer open *winks*).
Zinc oxide could also be the cause of your dry skin because it has a second skill… it’s also an astringent.
How to Tell If Your Sunblock Contains Zinc Oxide
This is a very easy find because zinc oxide doesn’t have any other fancy nicknames. This guy is straight forward. Zinc oxide is all you need to look for on the ingredients list.
Not only that, but usually a sunblock ingredient list will show you the key ‘active’ sun blocking ingredients at the top with the % of them right next door.
Also… ‘technically’ as zinc oxide physically blocks out UV rays, it gets named sunblock instead of sunscreen. Clever that ‘eh. We’ve got some fancy quotation marks around that ‘technically’ as not all sunblock’s are properly christened.
What Can You do If Sunblock Is Drying Your Skin?
…because giving up on sun protection is not a valid solution ‘eh! It’s not only a life saver but it’s also going to keep ageing sun damage at bay. If your skin is suffering from sunblock induced dryness, try one (or more) of the following 5 tips;
- Always use moisturiser before a mineral sunblock. That sounds super simple, but sometimes you can be tricked into thinking you don’t need to use a moisturiser because there’s moisturising ingredients in the sunblock. The key is this, yes there are moisturising ingredients and yes they are helpful, but they aren’t enough for your skin – sunblock is designed to sit only in the top layers of your skin. Try adding a light-weight but intensive dry skin moisturiser like the The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£6.80/100ml) or for a more natural approach Green People’s Light Day Moisturiser (£17.50/50ml) to your routine. You might need to wait a couple of minutes in-between moisturiser & sunscreen to make it easier from each product to properly absorb.
- Switch your physical sunblock for a chemical sunscreen. If you’re after a natural approach try Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30 (£22/200ml)… or if you’re not overly fussy try a well-renowned sunscreen brand like Ultrasun Super Sensitive High SPF 30 Family Formula (£25/150ml)
- Are you also using a drying foundation/face powder? Chances are there are other ‘sebum’ absorbing or moisture absorbing ingredients like silica in your makeup (if you use any, you’re very beautiful without it too!). Ditch any foundations that have a ‘matte effect’ and if your skin is dry, ditch any face powders that love to feast on your skins moisturising factors.
- Balm up at night, after your moisturiser. Seal it in and plump it up. A good face balm is perfect for turning your skin into a re-hydrating machine. When you use a moisturiser as well as adding hydrating to your skin, it also softens it. This can temporarily cause an amount of hydration to evaporate. Layering up with an occlusive skincare balm puts a stop to this. Try something like Embryolisse Essential Dry Skin Balm (£13.50/15ml).
- Get yourself on the dry skincare tips. When skin becomes dry there are key changes your skin is making that move it out of the healthy box. Clue yourself up on the ‘4 proven ways to get rid of dry skin’ and use these to shape your ‘avoiding dryness from mineral sunblock’ skincare routine!
Do you use mineral sunblock? Have you ever gotten dry patches that where completely out of character for your skin? Come chat to me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.