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Choosing a sunscreen

Woman applying sunscreen to shoulder

Basically, there are two forms of sunscreen - chemical and physical. ‘Chemical sunblocks act like sponges, absorbing UV light,' explains Boots' scientific suncare adviser, Clare O'Connor. ‘They've had some bad press in the past, because some people with very sensitive skin tended to have a reaction to them. But, in recent years, formulations have advanced to the point where much milder chemicals are used, so these days I'd say less than one per cent of people are likely to react to this type of sunscreen.'

Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, sit on the skin's surface and act a bit like a mirror, reflecting the sun's rays back. ‘But, traditionally, the problem with these was that they tended to be quite thick and powdery, so often left your skin with a bluish hue - not ideal if you're going for the beach babe look,' says Clare. ‘Still, as with chemical sunscreens, there are better formulations around now, which avoid this problem.' Many of the latest sunscreens combine milder chemical screens with a little physical block. This means you avoid the gloopy texture of the physical blocks of old, as well as the potential reactions to harsher chemical screens.

For more tips on staying safe in the sun, visit



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