Sunscreen: What You Need To Know

Written By Kathleen Lowe

Knowing what’s in your sunscreen is just as important as wearing one. Without the right type of sunscreen you may be placing yourself at risk for unwanted and harmful sun damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the US than any other cancer combined. Sun damage is linked to skin cancer, premature skin aging, pigmentation, and fine lines. The AIM at Melanoma Foundation has fabulous guidelines on the most important properties sunscreen needs to properly block UV rays. I will break them down so you can make educated product choices.


Let’s start with SPF. Every sunscreen should have the letters “SPF” on the bottle followed by a number. The abbreviation “SPF” means sun protection factor which represents that product’s ability to protect your skin from UV radiation. The number explains how long with the sunscreen on versus without the sunscreen on your skin. How much SPF should I have to be safe? The seal of approval from the cancer foundation is SPF 15 but for active daily use, like walking your dog, driving your car to work. SPF 15 is not for someone who spends time outdoors such as, riding your bike, gardening, going for a run, a child’s outdoor game, pool, beach, etc. Any outdoor activity in your day, bump it up to SPF 30.

Active Ingredients in Sunblock

Have you ever heard of physical versus chemical sunblocks? Here is an explanation of what they are and how they work. A physical sunblock lays on the surface of the skin, deflects UVA/UVB rays off the skin, and allows for small absorption of UVB rays. Chemical sunblock gets absorbed into the skin, allows for UVA/UVB rays to also become absorbed into the skin, and then converts those rays into heat and gets released from the skin. Both work against UVA, ultraviolet aging and UVB, ultraviolet burning rays.

Physical sunblocks have mineral active ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Chemical sunblocks have alternative ingredients such as Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.

The skin cancer foundation notes that while physical sunscreens may cause less irritation both are safe, and all active ingredients are chemically formulated.

How to Apply Sunscreen

It is best to apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply about every two hours, more often if you’re sweating or in the water (defer to your products label). Remember commonly missed spots, back of neck, top of ears, backs of knees, and scalp. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying about a one ounce shot glass full to the body.

ZO Skin Health Sunscreen Products

Revitalize Medspa and Skin Care Center carries the ZO Skin Health line which offers a few options for sunscreen. Both are active ingredient physical sunblocks.

  • The Mineral Makeup SPF 40 Brush can be applied all day over your foundation, it comes in three shades, has a luxurious sheen, and is incredibly lightweight in texture.
  • Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 has a sheer, matte finish with universal tint to help correct imperfections of the skin.For more helpful tips on sunscreen protection visit:

Additional Resources:

Skin Cancer Foundation
AIM at Melanoma Foundation 
Melanoma Foundation

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