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What are sunscreens and why should I use one?

Exposure to the sun’s rays is the #1 cause of skin aging via oxidative stress and inflammation. Sunscreens are FDA-approved over-the-counter products used for the prevention of skin cancer and early signs of aging when used in conjunction with limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing.

Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays that reach the earth—UVA rays and UVB rays—both ultimately lead to premature aging and wrinkles and to the development of skin cancer.

UVA rays (or aging rays) can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, and can pass through window glass.

UVB rays (or burning rays) are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.

But did you know that photoaging mainly results from daily exposure to low doses of UV radiation, which does not cause visible changes at the time of exposure but leads to greater biological changes over time. In fact, 80% of facial aging is believed to be due to daily, chronic sun exposure, what is known as incidental sun exposure from everyday activities—walking the dog, retrieving mail, driving in the car, etc.


Sunscreen formulations generally combine several ingredients that help prevent the sun’s UV rays from reaching the skin. There are two types of sunscreen actives available:

Mineral sunscreens protect your skin from the sun by reflecting as well as absorbing the sun’s rays. They contain minerally sourced particles such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and form a shield over the skin that helps prevent UV light from penetrating the skin. Mineral sunscreens are ideal for sensitive skin.

Chemical sunscreens work by chemically absorbing the sun’s rays, preventing them from penetrating the skin. They contain synthetic compounds like Avobenzone or Homosalate that help prevent damage by transforming UV rays into non-damaging forms of energy, like non-UV light or heat. They are also known as organic sunscreens and are often combined to provide more complete protection.

broad spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF is a measurement of how much protection a sunscreen has against sunburn. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, for example, means that it will take 15 times longer for your skin to burn that it would without sunscreen.


The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use every day! Mineral and chemical sunscreens each work differently and can have different aesthetic properties on skin. Many sunscreens use both, so it’s really more a matter of personal preference. No matter which type of sunscreen you choose, make sure it’s labeled “Broad Spectrum” for protection from both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 30 or greater. And, for everyday convenience, choose a daytime moisturizer with antiaging and sunscreen in one—this type of formulation is perfect for daily, incidental sun exposure.


Choose a sunscreen for everyday use as part of your skincare regimen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. If you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time, apply an additional sunscreen with water and sweat resistant properties.

NEOSTRATA® Sheer Physical Protection Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50

combines potent antioxidants with a Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) complex to help protect and support skin’s moisture barrier against environmental aggressors. Formulated exclusively with mineral sunscreens: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide with a sheer, invisible tint and light aesthetic feel on skin.

NEOSTRATA® DEFEND Skin Brightener Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35

combines NeoGlucosamine®, a gentle exfoliant with B-Resorcinol, a known brightening agent, to reduce the look of dark spots and provide a more even skin tone. With daily use, its Broad Spectrum SPF 35 protects against UV-induced skin aging.

NEOSTRATA® SKIN ACTIVE Matrix Support with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30

is a daily-use antiaging sunscreen developed as part of the high-strength SKIN ACTIVE collection to improve skin texture and uneven tone while helping skin to look firmer and younger. Formulated with retinol, this potent formulation targets the skin’s hydrating matrix to firm the skin’s appearance and repair the look of fine lines and wrinkles.