Why are most sun protection products so greasy and sticky?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
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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