Why are most sun protection products so greasy and sticky?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The sunscreens that tend to be sticky are those that are labeled "water resistant" or "very water resistant," according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. They tend to work well at protecting your skin from sun even if you are swimming or perspiring a lot, but they may not be the best options for every day use. Other types of sunscreen may be less sticky and more appropriate for use under makeup or even just when you're going about a typical day. Ask your dermatologist to recommend the best sunscreens for you, whether you're spending a day in the office or on the beach.

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
The gummy, inelegant sunblocks and sunscreens you're thinking about are probably the formulas best suited for a day at the beach. First of all, a higher concentration of active sun-blocking and -screening substances tends to make the solution tackier. Plus, these sunscreens are meant to stay on your skin and not come off, so they have to be adhesive. They include lots of "silicone polymers" and "acrylate polymers," which make them more water-resistant but also stickier on your skin. Acrylate polymer substances are rubbery fixatives, also found in hair sprays that allow a sunscreen to hold up to water, sweat, and rubbing, but they work by forming a film on your skin. So by all means, for everyday wear, avoid products with terminology like this on the label: "waterproof," "water-resistant," "sweatproof," "sport".

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.