5 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sunscreen

How To Choose a Sunscreen - 5 Key Points

Going to the beach or shopping, or heading out for a fun day with friends?

Don't forget to wear your sunscreen because it is one of the most important parts of a skin care routine.

Sunscreen is preventing not only sunburns but also premature skin aging and cancer. 

And it is important to know how to choose a sunscreen.

Below are the 5 major factors you should have in mind when picking out your face sun protection. 


#1 Price

Expensive sunscreens are not necessarily the best

The first key point in 'How to choose a sunscreen' is the price. Just because a sunscreen is expensive AF, it isn't necessarily more effective than a cheaper product.

Costly brands can make you feel comfortable with a false sense of security or just because they might smell better.

Often a delicious aroma means that the manufacturer has added toxic chemicals to their products so they can make a scent that is “better” than natural. 

#2 Date of Expiration

Expiration Date of Sunscreen

How to choose a sunscreen without checking the expiration date?

This should become a habit for all of us when choosing skin care product (and only).

Using a product with past expiration date can cause severe harm as the ingredients tend to degrade with time. 

Although sunscreen is required to last at least 3 years, to ensure yours is totally effective (and not harmful), it's a good idea to replace it every year.

#3 SPF


Always check the SPF range mentioned on the sunscreen package.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.

Usually anything above factor 15 is considered decent protection.

What SPF stands for is basically a relative measurement for how long a sunscreen will protect you from ultraviolet UVB rays.

UVB are the 'hot' rays responsible for sunburn of the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis). 

Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red.

Using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents sunburning 15 times longer — so about five hours.

If you use a SPF factor, you will (theoretically) be protected for 10 hours. 

#4 Broad Spectrum

How to Choose a Sunscreen - Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Protects From UVB and UVA Rays

Here is another important key point in how to choose a sunscreen - does it have a broad spectrum.

Though you have a sunscreen with good SPF that keeps the UVB at bay, your skin is not being protected from the damaging UVA rays.

UVA (ultraviolet-A) are longer wavelength of sunlight that make up to 95% of all UV light reaching the earth's surface.

They are long enough to reach skin's dermis (dermal layer), damaging elastic tissue and collagen. 

Dermis is the layer where the cells responsible for skin darkening are found.

So to make sure your are protected from both UVB and UVA rays, make sure you choose a broad-spectrum product.

#5 Physical vs. Chemical 

How to Choose a Sunscreen Physical vs Chemical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreen contains active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Those are minerals found in the earth. They work as a sunscreen by sitting on the top of the skin and block the damaging sun rays.

They offer protection against both UVB and UVA rays. 

It is unlikely that physical sunscreen can cause irritation.

They are suitable for heat-activated skin (like rosacea), because they deflect the sun heat off of the skin.

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by changing the UV rays into heat and then releasing it from the skin. 

Both have their pros and cons, let' have a look here:

Physical sunscreen pros:
✔️ Naturally broad spectrum
✔️ Protects against both UVB and UVA
✔️ Doesn't cause stinging irritation on the skin
✔️ Less likely to be pore-clogging
✔️ Longer shelf life

Chemical sunscreen pros:
✔️ Spreads easily
✔️ It is often water-resistant
✔️ Sinks good in the skin
✔️ Easy to use under makeup

Physical sunscreen cons:
❌ Can sweat off and rinse easily
❌ More frequent replication is needed
❌ Could be to chalky for use under makeup
❌ It is quite thick which makes it harder to spread evenly

Chemical sunscreen cons:
❌ Can cause brown spots and discoloration due to the higher skin temperature
❌ Increased chances for stinging and irritation (for both eyes and skin)
❌ Some ingredients are banned for posing a risk of degrading coral reef when worn in the ocean
❌ Could be pore-clogging

Source: Renée Rouleau 

Final Thoughts

Sunlight is probably the number one reason your skin will age prematurely.

So don't wait to be proved right, grab a tube of good sunscreen and make sure you wear it EVERY day, regardless of the season.

I hope after reading this post, you feel more knowledgeable on how to choose a sunscreen that will protect you all year round.

If you have any further questions or you want to share your experience with SPF - use the comments section below. 

Note: If you have a special skin condition, it is best that you seek your dermatologist's opinion before choosing a sunscreen. 

Thank you very much for reading this post and I'll talk to you in the next one!

Stay tuned and take care 💋

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