Friday, December 8, 2023

Skincare experts reveal which sunscreen they’re using right now and why — a potentially problematic ingredient


Safety factor 15 or 50? Spray or Cream? physical or chemical protection?

There are many different types of sunscreen, and choosing on the cosmetics shelf can be difficult. We asked skin care experts which products they love in everyday life and why.

Pros’ Favorite Cream

Marjo Poutnen, senior lecturer in beauty care, says she likes a combination of physical and chemical UV filters.

– I am currently using Oriflame’s sunscreen, which also contains skin care ingredients.

Photo: Producer

General practitioner Emilia Lagus prefers pharmacy cosmetics.

– I love La Roche-Posay sunscreen. I also like Japanese Aneesa. Both look good in makeup. I use sunscreen every day of the year.

Photo: ProducerPhoto: Producer

Laura Huilja, an expert in dermatology and allergy, says the brand doesn’t matter to her:

– I use any cream that feels good on the skin, with a high protection factor. In the summer heat, I also wear clothes that protect the skin and a hat.

Are physical filters better than chemical ones?

Sunscreen may have chemical or physical protection, or both. Chemical sunscreens convert UV radiation into harmless heat, while physical sunscreens reflect the radiation away from the skin like a protective layer.

Poutanen, Lagus and Huilaja both prefer chemical sunscreens in their daily lives because of their easy spreading. Physical sunscreens contain minerals which can sometimes leave a white film on the skin.

For example, physical sunscreen is recommended for children. However, there is no particular danger in chemical creams:

– Within the European Union, cosmetics are regulated very precisely, so there is no reason to avoid any protection, reminds Marjo Potanen.


Any sunscreen is better than nothing.

Experts recommend listening to your own skin and choosing a cream that will really be used every day.

– If the option is not to use sunscreen, any sunscreen is better than nothing, says Emilia Lagus.

If sunscreen is not used because of discomfort or poor absorption, it is necessary to replace the product.

Does safety factor matter?

Many people apply too little sunscreen. In this case, the protection promised on the side of the jar is not achieved, and the actual effectiveness of the cream may be even half as weak as stated.

According to Marjo Poutanen, individual BB creams and skin care products, including little sun protection, are not enough on their own. Foundation is usually applied to less of the face than sunscreen, so it also has less protection.

All three experts used SPF 50 sunscreen themselves. However, they do not consider a high direct coefficient as necessary in Finland.

– If you like protection factor of 30 then this is better for you. The difference between a high and a low safety factor is ultimately just the protective time. A lower protection factor needs to be added to the skin more often, says Poutanen.

According to Laura Huilja, a safety factor of 30 is sufficient for Finnish summers, but she always prefers a higher safety factor. However, the most important thing is the comfort of using the cream.

– You should look for a cream that feels pleasant on your own skin so that you can use a sufficient amount at one go. One swipe is not enough.

Whether the sunscreen is chemical or physical and has a sun protection factor of 30 or 50, all experts agree that the best sunscreen is to use a sunscreen.

— A bad sunscreen is one that gets forgotten in a training bag or handbag, summarizes Potanen.


Fragrances in sunscreen are not beneficial, but they can be harmful.

Perfume is a potential skin irritant

If sunscreen irritates the skin, it’s probably because of the fragrance and alcohol it contains.

– Particularly sensitive skin may react strongly to product fragrances, says Marjo Potanen.

Laura Huilja agrees.

Perfume is one of the most common causes of contact allergies.

However, according to Huilja, it’s really difficult to completely avoid allergenic substances. A perfume can contain hundreds of different perfume compounds, so it can be impossible to isolate a single irritating substance.

Emilia Lagus doesn’t recommend scented products.

Fragrances don’t work in sunscreen, but they can be harmful. Many people become desensitized to them over time.

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