4 Things To Look Out For When Buying Sunscreen

Sunscreen, the most important skincare you need to protect you against sunburns, lower your risk of skin cancer and prevents early signs of skin aging [1]. But finding the right sunscreen is pretty challenging. There’s the physical and chemical sunscreen variety and now there are even makeup bases that contains SPF in them. To make it easier for you here are 4 factors to look out for to help you determine whether the sunscreen is the right fit for you:

1. SPF = Sun Protection Factor

spf sunscreen
Source: says.com

The SPF in sunscreen determines how effective the sunscreen is protecting you from sunburn caused by UVB rays [2].  The key to getting the most protection is to be generous with your sunscreen so use about a shot glass full to cover the areas of your body which is exposed to the Sun, reapply every 2 hours and  after swimming and sweating [3].

Slapping on a sunscreen that is higher than SPF 50 doesn’t mean it offers a better protection from the Sun. Most people would apply it less frequently because of the high SPF which increases your risk for sunburns, offer less protection to ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and it could also contain more chemicals which could trigger an allergic reaction to those with sensitive skin [4]. So aim to get a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum and is between SPF 15 and SPF 50.

2. Broad-Spectrum/ Multi-Spectrum

If the sunscreen bottle has these words on them, it means that sunscreen can protect you from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays [5]. Get sunscreens that has this label on them. Though most sunscreens offer broad-spectrum protection, still there are sunscreens that can only protect you from 1 type of ultraviolet (UV) ray so better to scan the labels thoroughly before purchasing. What do UVA and UVB rays do to your skin?

UVA – May not trigger sunburn but it causes wrinkles and sunspots as the rays penetrate deep into your skin which in turn increases your risk of skin cancer [6].

UVB – The ray that gives you your tan and sunburn but the biggest cause of skin cancer [7].

3. Water-Resistant and Sweat-Resistant

sunscreen sports
Source: www.womensmovement.com

Despite those labels, no sunscreen is water-proof and sweat-proof. The sunscreen could only protect you for about 40-80 minutes when you’re swimming or sweating so either way, you have to reapply it after toweling off. If it’s labelled as Very Water-Resistant then it could last for about 80 minutes [8].

4. Application Style

These days you can get spray-on sunscreens which makes it easier for you to apply to those hard-to-reach areas like your back and it somehow covers more area faster than rubbing it on. The best ones are the cream types since you know how much you’re applying but for the spray types, it’s harder to know whether you have applied enough so spray it generously and make sure to spray some on your head and ears too since they’re exposed to the Sun too [9].

Also, it’s not good to inhale the sunscreen spray especially when you spray it on your face. If you only have the spray-on sunscreen, spray it on your hands then apply it on your face to avoid inhaling too much of the chemicals.


Which factor is important to you when you’re buying sunscreen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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