Sunscreen is a finicky thing, with misinformation, personal preferences, and a diverse supply of brands only complicating the choice. Here’s some easy-to-understand information and some common sunscreen questions that hopefully shine a light on what’s the best sunscreen for you.
How important is SPF?
‘What is SPF’ is a question not everyone can answer. SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and measures how much solar energy is required to cause a sunburn. SPF 30 is recommended at minimum and guards against 97 percent of UVB rays. Comparatively, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. Sadly, there is no sunscreen available 100 percent effective at preventing burning and skin damage.
Differences between UVA and UVB
‘Broad spectrum protection’ is a term which means a sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB. Differences between them include UVB rays being shorter and the ones which cause sunburns, as opposed to UVA rays which penetrate glass and affect your skin unnoticeably beneath the surface.
Do I need a mineral or chemical sunscreen?
Chemical sunscreens, a.k.a. inorganic sunscreens, pull from either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide create a protective barrier on the surface of the skin. They are known to leave behind a white cast. Alternatively, mineral susncreens absorb into the skin instead of simply forming a barrier over top. These cause a chemical reaction, converting the UV light into heat so that it doesn’t harm the skin.
When should I wear sunscreen?
Sunscreen is meant to be worn every day year-round, irrelevant of where the sun is. An average person will need 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover all exposed areas. Sunscreen also should be applied every 2 hours. If you are out in the sun, ensure you apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior. Needless to say, how to choose sunscreen is just as important as how it’s applied.
Do I need sunscreen indoors?
Even if you’re not out at the pool all day, UV rays still come in through the window. Daily use of sunscreen “significantly lowers your risk for skin cancer and aging skin”, says a numerous studies. If you’re inside, you may not to re-apply as often which would be one of the only differences between sunscreen for outdoors or indoors.
Differences between face sunscreen and body sunscreen
Nothing is different between sunscreen for the face or the body, except the size of the bottle. To this point, you don’t need one sunscreen for your face and another for the body. The face is generally more sensitive however than the rest of the body. For this reason, some prefer a non-greasy, light sunscreen formulated specifically for the face. These can also be less likely to clog pores or irritate the skin. That said, this rule applies to far less people than one may think.