How to Choose Best Sunscreen?

Ways to Pick Right Sunscreen!
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Selecting the right level of SPF is just the beginning of choosing a sunscreen. There are many different factors that go into picking the right protection from the summer sun. If you need help finding the right sunscreen, check out the following tips for sun protection.

SPF and The Sun

SPF is an acronym that means sun protection factor. Basically, it is a guide for how much UVB exposure an individual can burn. Essentially, if it takes you ten minutes to burn without sunscreen and 300 minutes to burn with it, the SPF is 30. To get this number, you divide 300 minutes by 10 minutes. When the SPF number is higher, it indicates that the protection is better. UVB protection is at 94 percent when you use SPF 15. For SPF 30, you have 97 percent protection from UVB rays. For the sunscreen to work, you need to use about six teaspoons of sunscreen if you are the size of an average adult. Since some people do not apply enough sunscreen, it can end up being less effective than it is in clinical trials.

Should I Protect My Skin From UVA or UVB Rays?

There are two basic rays that you need to protect your skin from. Traditionally, most sunscreens protected from just UVB rays. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness about the damage of UVA rays. When looking for a sun screen, using a “Broad Spectrum” lotion works best. These types of sunscreens protect from both types of rays. They include physical blockers or chemicals like zinc oxide, bisoctrizole or avobenzone.

In addition to buying broad spectrum sunscreens, you should also look for a sunscreen with a high level of photo stability. Photo stability basically means that the sunscreen will not become ineffective when it is exposed to sunscreen. Certain agents like bemotrizinol and octocrylene are photostable agents that help improve* the efficacy of sunscreen.

Fair and Sensitive Skin

After finding a broad spectrum, SPF 30 sunscreen, you still need to consider your skin type. Anyone who burns easily should have a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 sunscreen. If you can easily, you can use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 8 or higher. Individuals with dark skin who do not have sun problems may not need sunscreen at all.

If you are allergic to cosmetics or have sensitive skin, you need to find a hypoallergenic sunscreen. Before you apply the sunscreen to your entire body, placing a little on a small patch of your skin is advisable. Patch testing will help you figure out if you have an allergy or sensitivity to a certain sunscreen.

Selecting Sunscreen for Dry and Oily Skin

When it comes to oily skin, you will need to find an alcohol-based sunscreen. A lighter base will help prevent acne and is also more effective around hairier skin areas. If you have dry skin, using a sunscreen ointment that contains a moisturizing base is ideal. Most individuals will also benefit from using specialized facial sunscreens for their noses, lips and eyes.

Reapplying Sunscreen and Choosing Water-Resistant Varieties

There are two main problems with sunscreen: people do not use enough or they forget to reapply it. If you are outside running or swimming, you will have to reapply sunscreen frequently. Sweat and water essentially remove* the sunscreen that you previously applied. You also need to look for a water-resistant sunscreen option. These sunscreens are better able to remain on the skin while you work out and provide the longer protection you need.

Will Sunscreen Stop Vitamin D Production?

Vitamin D is a unique chemical because it is actually created within the body. All you need to produce Vitamin D is some sun and time outdoors. If you are using a high SPF sunscreen, there is a chance that you will not be getting enough Vitamin D. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes outdoors to create the amount of Vitamin D you need. For fair skin, it just takes five minutes of being without sunscreen in the summer sun to make enough Vitamin D. Darker skin tones will need to have more outdoor activity to get enough Vitamin D. Additionally, physical activity produces Vitamin D faster than resting. Since sun exposure can lead to skin cancer or wrinkling, individuals should always discuss any concerns with their dermatologist or doctor.

There are a number of sunscreens available on the marketplace today. From cheap kids’ sunscreen to moisturizing ointments, there are options available for every skin type. Before you buy a sunscreen, you should make sure to consider your skin type, activity level and sensitivity. For sensitive skin, performing a patch test is always important before applying sunscreen on your whole body. With the proper sunscreen, you can enjoy spending time the summer sun without worrying about sun burns or skin damage.

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Author

Expert Author : Elizabeth Lytle (Consumer Health Digest)

Elizabeth Lytle is a content writer and editor based in the United States. She works with The Site Gardener as copywriter, editor, project manager and marketing director. Connect with Beth on Facebook for constant updates on her projects.