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April 28, 2017

Titanium dioxide: A trusty ingredient for optimal sun protection

Are you looking for a sunscreen that’s suitable for the whole family and provides protection from UVA and UVB rays? Do you want something formulated for sensitive skin and free of chemical filters? Products containing titanium dioxide are a safe and effective choice!

What is titanium dioxide?

Sunscreens are made with two types of active ingredients: physical filters and chemical filters (e.g., avobenzone or oxybenzone). Titanium dioxide is a physical filter. It is a white, scent-free, non-allergenic mineral-based powder.

When you apply a titanium dioxide sunscreen, it forms a protective layer on the surface of the skin. It then deflects and scatters UV rays, keeping them from penetrating skin.

The benefits of titanium dioxide include protection from harmful UVBs, which are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer, and from UVAs, which cause premature aging of skin and contribute to the development of some forms of cancer. 

Complementary ingredients  

Titanium dioxide powder must be mixed with other ingredients to form a lotion or cream that can be applied to skin. These additional ingredients are selected for their ability to contribute to the product’s texture and to boost and enhance the effects of the active ingredient.

Cosmetic manufacturers will sometimes add antioxidants to their cosmetics, including sunscreens. Vitamin E, for example, is an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals. When triggered by sun exposure, free radicals contribute to premature skin aging. Vitamin E in sunscreens also serves to strengthen skin’s natural ability to block UV rays.

Some manufacturers use thermal water to make a product with a fluid, easy-to-apply texture. Studies have shown that thermal water, rich in oligo-elements and minerals, could have anti-inflammatory, anti-irritation and antioxidant properties when used on skin.

No more white mask thanks to technology

Back in the day, physical filters had a bad reputation, since they often had a heavy texture that left a white film on the surface of the skin. 
Those days are gone! Sunscreen makers have now successfully created lightweight, easy-to-use products with no resulting white streaks.

For optimal protection 

When using a titanium dioxide sunscreen, it is important to apply evenly to the entire sun-exposed surface without neglecting the “nooks and crannies,” such as the ears, back of the neck and tops of the feet.

Unlike chemical filters, which have a 30-minute wait time before exposure to sun, these products are effective immediately upon application.
As with all sunscreens, you need to reapply every two hours during lengthy outdoor outings. While titanium dioxide is water resistant, you should still reapply after swimming or perspiring heavily to ensure proper protection.

Whether you’re using a physical or chemical sunscreen, many recommendations are the same for maximum protection against the harmful effects of the sun:  

  • Choose a product with an SPF of 30 or more that includes UVA protection. Look for the term “broad spectrum” on the label. 
  • Follow the recommendations of the Canadian Dermatology Association and apply sunscreen as soon as the UV index reaches 3, whether it’s sunny or cloudy. 
  • Be careful of surfaces that reflect light: water, sand, pavement. You could get a sunburn even in the shade.  
  • Apply sunscreen to all sun-exposed body parts and reapply as often as needed.
  • Avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when sunrays are at their strongest.    
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to shield your eyes from the sun. 
  • Wear a sunscreen lip balm. 

Pharmacy services

Many drugs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Not sure if your medication does this? Just ask your family pharmacist !  

Confused by the wide array of sunscreens lining store shelves? Your beauty consultant can help you find the sun protection product suitable for your skin type. 

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