(NEW YORK) — In recent years, tinted sunscreens have been rising in popularity, in large part because of their ability to better match a person’s skin tone without leaving a visible white film on the skin.
Responding to customer demand, large skin care brands have recently debuted new tinted sunscreen products that don’t leave a streaky white appearance on the skin.
With these sunscreens being tailored to blend in with the skin, experts are hopeful that this would encourage more people to use them, including those with darker skin tones.
“I think tinted sunscreen is absolutely changing the game in terms of inclusivity,” said Dr. Sonia Batra, a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Monica and a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California. “It’s also easier to recommend and convince patients to use it as a daily form of protection when it doesn’t look so obvious on their skin and they’re able to blend it and they feel like there are formulations that have been created with them in mind.”
What are tinted sunscreens?
Unlike many traditional sunscreens, tinted sunscreens have the added benefit of protecting against visible light, which can accelerate skin darkening and pigmentation.
“By tailoring the sunscreen formulations to an individual’s skin tone, people are more likely to protect themselves from the sun, therefore reducing their risk of skin cancer,” Dr. Henry Lim, a board-certified dermatologist and the former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said in a statement.
In a presentation on tinted sunscreens at the recent AAD Annual Meeting in Boston, Lim explained these new developments in sunscreen are now addressing the issue of sunscreen not matching some people’s skin tone.
Like traditional sunscreens products, they also help block ultraviolet radiation, which causes skin cancer and sunburn.
“It’s very important to protect against visible light because we know that in darker-skinned individuals once the skin becomes dark, for example from blemishes from acne, it will take a long time for it to go away,” Lim said. “So that is the reason that protection against visible light is important. That is the reason that tinted sunscreen is quite relevant now.”
Experts said the option of tinted sunscreens is making sunscreens more inclusive and usable for consumers.
“Accessibility has not been really appreciated for many years,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, a board-certified dermatologist, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine. “But now I think that there is a real drive to make sunscreen use inclusive by providing sunscreens that are appropriate for everybody.”
What to look for in your sunscreens?
With the many new sunscreens on the market, there are some recommendations on what to look for when buying your next sunscreen.
Here are three tips:
1. If you want a tinted sunscreen, look for the word “tinted” on the label.
“Many of them, if they’re tinted will have on the front, a shade like light, medium, medium dark, or they may have a number which has like a little color associated with it,” Batra said.
2. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. It is still important and recommended by dermatologists to use any sunscreens that are broad-spectrum, water-resistant and have an SPF of 30 or higher, in addition to wearing sun-protective clothing like breathable long sleeves and wide brim hats.
The SPF number or whether it’s broad-spectrum or water-resistant can also be found on the label. Importantly, everyone should wear sunscreen every day of the year, regardless of the weather and regardless of their skin tone.
3. Try a tinted sunscreen to see how it matches your skin tone. Experts said the appropriate tinted sunscreen shade varies from person to person, depending on each individual’s skin tone and undertone, which is the hue underneath the surface of the skin and affects the overall skin appearance.
The best way to find which one works best for you is trying it first, according to Friedman.
“I think a good rule of thumb whenever trying anything new is exactly that — do a trial, do an experiment,” he said. “Really, the best sunscreen is the one that you’re comfortable using again and again overtime.”
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