Here Are Some Tips For Picking The Right Sunscreen


No matter the forecast, sunscreen is the one step you should never skip before heading outdoors for the day. Applying sunscreen (and reapplying sunscreen!) protects your skin from the sun’s powerful UV rays, minimizing your risk of painful sunburns, skin cancer, and premature signs of aging, such as dark spots and wrinkles.

Which sunscreen should you choose, though?

For starters, the American Dermatology Association (ADA) recommends one that’s labeled “broad-spectrum,” because this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Overexposure to both can lead to skin cancer.

Next, consider the Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

SPF is a measure of how much UVB light sunscreen can filter out. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30, which is “the magic number”. SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent of UVB rays. The ADA recommends an SPF of 30 or higher.

It’s important to apply enough sunscreen to any exposed area of skin every day. On days you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, say playing golf or at the beach or pool, we suggest putting a base coat of SPF 30 all over the body a half-hour before leaving the house and then reapplying every two hours. If you’re swimming, it’s a good rule of thumb to grab the sunscreen every time you get out of the water.

Remember, no sunscreen can completely protect you from the sun so it’s important to always reapply throughout the day, wear protective clothing (hats, sun-protective swimwear, clothing, etc.) and always seek shade.

Pay attention to your skin type as well

If you have acne or oily skin, make sure that your sunscreen is labeled as ‘non-comedogenic’; which means that it has been shown not to block pores. If you have dry skin, look for moisturizers with sunscreen or sunscreens that contain hydrating ingredients. (Think: hyaluronic acid or ceramides.)

For sensitive skin, opt for a physical, or mineral, sunscreen, Physical sunscreen features zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect skin; these two ingredients won’t burn or sting eyes. They sit on top of your skin, forming a barrier to protect you but take note it leaves a white cast on your face especially those with darker skin complexion.

Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, is formulated with ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone that absorb UV rays to keep them from penetrating your skin. These ingredients can sometimes cause irritation if you’re prone to sensitivity, but they tend to be easier to apply. Chemical sunscreens sometimes rub into the skin more easily, leaving less white residue.

What’s the best kind of sunscreen: Spray, lotion, stick or gel?

As for the vehicle your sunscreen comes in (lotion, spray or otherwise), that’s all about your personal preference. Sunscreens come in creams, lotions, gels, sprays, sticks and many other unique formulas and the best sunscreen is ultimately the one that you actually use

Of course, sunscreen is only effective if you use it right. You should apply an ounce of sunscreen to the entirety of your exposed skin. (This is about the volume of a shot glass or the size of a golf ball) Reserve about a nickel-sized dollop for your entire face, and remember to reapply every two hours or immediately after heavy sweating or swimming.

If you only have a spray sunscreen and need to reapply on your face, you should spray it directly on your hands and apply it to the face with your fingers for a more even application.

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