Sun Care

Sun Care

– Long-term exposure to the sun induces changes in the cells of our skin, leading to premature aging and sometimes even skin cancer. This phenomenon, called “extrinsic aging”, manifests on our skin as discolored brown spots, wrinkles and redness, all of which can worsen with advancing age.

– Incorporating a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) sunblock into our daily skin care regimen can help prevent sun-induced aging, wrinkles and structural damage to the cells of our skin.

Not all sunblocks are equal. It is important to know what to look for when choosing your next sunblock:

  1. Look for a “broad-spectrum” sunblock: these will block both UV-A and UV-B and are considered the best
  1. Physical blockers (also called mineral) vs. chemical sunscreens: Know the difference

 Physical blockers:

Physical blockers or “mineral sunscreens” are those that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These particles sit on the surface of the skin and literally reflect the UV rays so they don’t get absorbed into our skin. They are safe to use at any age

Chemical sunscreens

  • Chemical sunscreens are compounds that get absorbed into the top layer our skin first where they are designed to react with light particles and get dissipated as heat
  • The most common chemicals used in US products are: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, octinoxate, ensulizole.


  1. Creams are better than sprays:
  • While it may be easier to spray on a sunblock, studies have shown that application using sprays is very uneven and can lead to sunburns on “missed spots”.
  • Furthermore, the manufacture of spray-on sunblocks often requires integration of other chemicals that can be irritating (and unfriendly for the environment)
  1. Makeup with sunblock: foundations and powders that claim to contain sunblock typically don’t have the right ingredients or concentrations to make them fully protective against the UV radiation from then sun. Dr. Boker recommends applying a proper sunblock first before applying any other cosmetic products.
  1. Specialty sunblocks: Certain sunblocks that are designed specifically for people who suffer from acne or rosacea for example. If this is you, pick a product that is “non-comedogenic” which will guarantee that it won’t make you break out.
  • Sunblocks made specifically for kids should be mineral based and be water resistant.
  • “Hypoallergenic” sunblocks should be favored by people who have eczema and sensitive skin. The most critical ingredients to avoid are scents and fragrances


  1. Lastly, if you plan to swim in the ocean, pick a mineral sunblock that is “coral-safe” or “reef safe”. Avoid using any products that contain the following chemicals (known to be toxic to coral reefs):
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • PABA
  • Parabens
  • Triclosan
  • Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • Octocrylene
  • Homosalate

Dr. Boker recommends choosing a sunscreen that has at least one physical blocker and a minimum SPF of 30 for daily use. 

Get something that feels light and is scent free and something that you like using – remember the key is to make a habit of applying sunblock every morning (regardless of the time of year, the weather or temperature outside). Yes, do you need sunblock in the winter!

Dr. Boker’s top picks:

  • EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sunscreen Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Mineral
  • CeraVe Sunscreen Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50
  • No-Ad Spf 50 Naturals Mineral Sunscreen
  • Vanicream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Dermo-Kids Gentle Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60
  • Blue Lizzard Australian Sunscreen for Kids SPF 30+