A Dermatologist Answers All of Your Summer Skincare Questions

A comprehensive guide to taking care of your skin this season

8/4/2021 1:00:00 AM

A comprehensive guide to taking care of your skin this season

Do I really need lip balm with SPF? Can I use retinol even if I'll be in the sun? How do I deal with itchy bug bites? Dr. Courtney Rubin tackles it all.

Dr. Courtney Rubin shares her advice on SPF, sweat-induced acne, retinol, bug bites, and more.byAndrea WhittlePhoto by SSPL/Getty ImagesYou already know you need to wear SPF every single day. But you might be wondering, What’s the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen? Do I really need a lip balm with SPF in it? If I’m getting sweaty outdoors, how do I protect myself without triggering a breakout? To tackle your most pressing summer skincare questions—from how to deal with itchy bug bites to whether you can apply retinol the night before a day at the beach—we reached out to Dr. Courtney Rubin, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of the new skincare line

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Fig. 1for help. Here, Rubin, who teaches at Harvard Medical School and works at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Dermatology, shares her expert knowledge on taking good care of yourself during the sunniest part of the year.We only include products that have been independently selected by W's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

In terms of effectiveness, is there a difference between mineral sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?Mineral (also called physical) sunscreens feature sunscreen filters of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, while chemical sunscreens feature sunscreen filters made of organic molecules like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene and others. In terms of effectiveness, both chemical and mineral sunscreens can work equally effectively to block ultraviolet rays. The way to measure effectiveness is the SPF Factor. An SPF 30 mineral sunscreen will give you the same protection as an SPF 30 chemical sunscreen. headtopics.com

Traditionally, the thinking has been that mineral sunscreens reflect UV light, while chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them to (a very small amount of) heat. However, one of my favorite chemists and science educators,

, has spent a lot of time diving into data that actually shows both chemical and mineral sunscreens work by the same mechanism—absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them to a small amount of heat.Why would you choose one over the other?Chemical sunscreens are more “cosmetically elegant,” meaning that they are easier to rub into the skin without leaving behind white discoloration. Chemical sunscreens are often preferred by those who dislike the goop-y feeling of traditional sunscreen and are looking for something that blends into the skin easily and feels weightless. However, chemical sunscreens are more likely to cause irritation compared to mineral sunscreens. For those with sensitive skin, I recommend mineral sunscreens. Remember, there is no one “best” sunscreen—the best sunscreen is the one you will use!

Are there any particularyou recommend? What are some ingredients to look out for?A few of my personal favorite sunscreen brands are Aveeno,, Supergoop, EltaMD, Colorescience, and SkinCeuticals. Use a form of sunscreen that you love. For me,that’s a tinted sunscreen, because the iron oxide pigments in tinted sunscreen formulas block visible light, which we now know is involved in the development of

hyperpigmentation like melasma. When I put on tinted sunscreen, I know I’m not only getting protection from UV light, but also an additional layer of protection from visible light! Read more: W magazine »

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