Home Health A Guide to Choose and Apply the Right Sunscreen

A Guide to Choose and Apply the Right Sunscreen


In order to maintain healthy skin during the day, sunscreen is an absolute must. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential, whether you’re heading out for a few hours or planning a beach trip.

Sunscreens, often in the form of lotions, contain chemicals or other compounds that do one or more of these things to the sun’s rays. It is necessary to apply your sunscreen generously on your body at least fifteen minutes before you step outside.

How to select the right sunscreen?

You should think about any ingredient allergies you might have, as well as the sunscreen’s safety and toxicity levels when making your final decision. The sunscreen you use should not contain any chemicals that could throw off your hormonal balance.

1. Understand the term SPF

Not all the sunscreens are equally effective for your skin. In practice, SPF 30 sunblock provides protection on par with SPF 15 sunscreen. A research by scientists shows that the SPF number explains for how long it would be effective for sun protection. Its usefulness also depends on how much time you stay outside or reapply the sun screen.

For instance, with an SPF 30, just about 3% of UVB radiation would reach your skin.

Coverage from an SPF less than 30 is useless. We suggest applying sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher if you plan to spend a lot of time outside, such as when you’re at the beach or playing sports. It is also recommended by experts that you put on sunscreen for at least 30 minutes before going outside.

2. Choose wisely

Mineral versus chemical. Mineral sunscreens, also termed “physical” sunblock’s, are produced from non-chemical components like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. The actual use is to make a protection layer and save your skin from sun damage.

Chemical sunscreens, such as those containing avobenzone, octinoxate, or oxybenzone, soak into the skin (and some studies imply into the bloodstream) and then reflect UV rays back onto the skin. Mineral sunscreens are more durable and effective over time.

3. Consider your skin type as well

Make sure your sunscreen is labeled as “non-comedogenic,” which indicates it has not been proven to block pores if you have acne or oily skin. Finding a sunscreen or moisturizer that doubles as sun protection is a must if you suffer from dry skin. You can think of hyaluronic acid or ceramides as examples.

Choose a mineral-based (physical) sunscreen if you have extremely sensitive skin. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two chemicals included in physical sunscreen, offer skin protection without causing any irritation to the eyes. They are applied topically and act as a shield over the skin.

4. Water-resistant

Sun protection from water-resistant sunscreen lasts during swimming and sweating. Some sunscreens are designed to be water-resistant, giving them an extended shelf life. These sunscreens still require reapplication at the intervals specified on the packaging.

5. Identify the active ingredients

Verify the sunscreen’s effectiveness by inspecting its ingredients. You should seek out formulations that include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone.

Avoid using vitamin A-containing sunscreens (commonly referred to as retinyl palmitate). Some research suggests that vitamin A may contribute to an increase in the incidence of skin cancer.

A few practical suggestions on applying sunscreen

In every season, you should always use sunscreen.

When going swimming, it is recommended that you use around two tablespoons of sunscreen on your exposed skin. Apply a uniform coating of sunscreen spray all over your body if you choose to use it.

You should put sunscreen on any exposed skin, such as your face, hands, feet, ears, neck, and scalp (if your skin is exposed).

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or 30 to all exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going outside. Every two hours, reapply.

Apply new sunscreen after swimming, toweling off, or perspiring heavily. When reapplying, be sure to read and follow all label instructions.


You should use sunscreen that you enjoy and are likely to apply regularly. You can choose between a mineral or physical recipe, but make sure it has at least an SPF30 and is broad-spectrum. Consult a dermatologist about which sunblock is best for your skin type.


1. Which type of sunscreen is most effective?

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests using an SPF 30 or greater broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. There is a 97% reduction in UV radiation exposure. To further strengthen your defenses, you can also go for a higher SPF.

2. Can you use two sunscreens together?

Using two sunscreens should be fine if the two products you want to combine contain solely physical components. However, if they both include any quantity of a chemical ingredient—which is the case with many sunscreens—they should not be used together.

3. Can sun protection be harmful to the skin?

The usage of sunscreens has been shown to protect skin against harm. New research shows, however, that using sunscreen too seldom might potentially increase skin damage.

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