When it comes to packing for trips, most people have the basics covered. But there’s one item – no matter the length of flight, climate at the destination, and time of year – that has a tendency to slip through the cracks: sunscreen.

But why is this a travel essential? While many forgo sunblock on grey days or in the fall and winter, that’s a huge mistake because the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) are present every day of the year, in every weather condition – yes, even on overcast days. (According to Dr. Patricia Wexler of Wexler Dermatology, a whopping 80% of the sun's UV rays can pass through the clouds.)

What’s the difference between the two? “UVB rays can cause sunburn, and their intensity varies from summer to winter,” explains Wexler. “But, UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin, and can cause skin aging and skin cancer.”

And if you think being in a plane means you’re safe from the sun’s damaging rays, think again. Higher elevations, especially when you’re in a window seat above the clouds – they absorb at least a bit of UV radiation when you’re on the ground – translates into direct, unfiltered exposure.

“Almost all forms of skin cancer are associated with some sort of ultraviolet damage,” says Wexler. “But if fear is not motivating you, think of brown spots, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity increasing daily over your lifetime.” 



Now that we’ve established that SPF every day of the year is a must, let’s break down the two categories: physical and chemical. In recent years, there’s been a big push towards physical – the word "chemical" certainly doesn’t help in our wellness-hyped society – but there’s a need for both.

“Physical sunblock sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun's rays,” explains Wexler. “The minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the main active ingredients, and serve as physical blocks. It also tends to be less irritating, but also feels heavier on the skin. Wexler also notes that because it’s difficult to blend into the skin, even coverage – which is key for effective sun protection – is more difficult to achieve.

On the other hand, “chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and then absorbs UV rays, converts the rays into heat, and releases them from the body,” says Wexler. “The active ingredients and chemical sunscreens include avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone.” (Disclaimer: the last two are controversial, since they can damage coral in oceans.) If you spend a lot of time outdoors and require something water and sweat resistant, chemical sunscreens could be a better fit for you. Also, they’re easy to apply and and absorb quickly.

As for what to look for in a sunblock, Wexler recommends a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 for casual, daily wear. But if you plan on being in the sun for two hours, especially during peak hours (between 11a.m. and 3:30p.m), look for at least an SPF of 44. (And don’t forget to reapply every two hours.) In addition, make sure the formula is paraben and fragrance free, and noncomedogenic so it won’t clog pores.

Below, five sunscreens that are travel-friendly, highly effective, and will give you peace of mind all year long.

This is Wexler’s new favorite sunscreen. It’s free of oil and fragrance, is completely comprised of physical sunblocks, and infused with hyaluronic acid to bind moisture to the skin. “It has an elegant formulation, gives the skin a glow, and is the perfect SPF for dry, stressed-out skin,” says Wexler.

The smart packaging of this superfine mineral-based powder and brush – which happens to be oil-free, in case you’re blemish prone – makes touchups on the road a breeze. Simply tap, flick, and generously swirl on. Beyond the face, don’t forget to oft-overlooked parts like ears, neck, and back of hands.

Buy Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles

This newly-launched product will make you rethink physical sunscreens for good. The texture is super fluid, so blending in evenly comes easily. Its subtly peachy tone gently perks up even the dullest complexions, and Winter Cherry shields against pollution and blue light.

This mineral-based stick, which fits into the tiniest bags, makes slicking on protection anywhere and everywhere a snap. Its solid consistency means more room in your ziplock for other beauty essentials when packing for a trip, and the gentle formulation is even safe for children.

Developed by Dr. Garth Fisher, one of Hollywood’s most famous cosmetic surgeons, this is for people who’ve never been able to get on board with daily sunscreen because of how it feels. It’s incredibly lightweight, absorbs instantly, and leaves zero residue behind. You’ll soon forget you’re wearing anything at all.

Titanium Dioxide, Titanium Dioxide Food Grade, Nanometer Titanium Dioxide - Zyou,http://www.zyouindustry.com/