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From acne to allergies, here's how to pick the right sunscreen for you

Sunscreen uses chemicals to diffuse UV rays under the skin, while sunblock repels them at the surface level.

CARMEL, Ind. — It's the time of year when the weather is warming up and a lot of us are outdoors.

For Galit Sloman and her family, that means time at the pool. 

"It's really good for all of us," Sloman said.

Time at the pool means Sloman is putting sunscreen on her toddler. That's how she found out her daughter is allergic to chemical sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. 

"She broke out in a horrible rash. She was crying, and she had raised bumps all over her skin," Sloman said. "That was awful."

So they switched their daughter to a mineral sunblock that uses zinc and titanium to stop UV rays instead. They found the brands Badger and Babo Botanicals worked best for her. 

"Sometimes they're a little bit more expensive," Sloman said. "But for me, it's worth the price because my daughter's health is more important than anything."

Dr. Emily Keller, a dermatologist at IndyDerm, said there is a difference between sunscreen and sunblock. Sunscreen uses chemicals to diffuse UV rays under the skin, while sunblock repels them at the surface level.

"We don't see patients who are allergic to zinc or titanium, which are the mineral or physical blockers" Keller said. 

She suggests using 30 SPF in the winter, and 50 SPF in the summer. 

"SPF stands for is the sun protection factor, and if you have an SPF of 30, it essentially means you can be out 30 times longer before you got sunburned," Dr. Keller said. 

Getting a tan? That's the first step toward a burn. 

"What's happening is we have a cell [and] it has DNA in the center. And if we're getting radiation, which is UV, what the skin does is it brings pigment over the DNA to protect it," Keller said.

If it is acne you are worried about, Keller said to look for sunscreen products that say non-comedogenic, or won't clog pores.

There is also sunblock in the form of loose powder, like makeup.

If it's blending issues preventing daily use, that's come a long way too.

"One of the brands that I love is Super Goop and they have sheer sunblock that can blend with any skin tone. So you're getting that mineral protection without looking chalky white," Keller said. 

That way, everyone is protected properly. 

Sunscreen expires after three years, so if it feels watery, toss it.

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