Planning a day at the beach this weekend? Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen. But before you throw it into your beach bag, you may want to do a little research. Not all sunscreens protect you equally. Below are four of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to sunscreen and skin safety to help prevent your skin from sun damage this summer.
1. How important is SPF?
Do keep in mind that no matter how high your SPF is, it will not fully protect you from sun damage. But strive for a minimum of an SPF 30 when out in the sun. If you plan to spend the day by the pool, aim for a higher SPF and reapply it every two hours. But a normal day of walking in and outside will suffice with a lower SPF.
2. What is the difference between face sunscreen and body sunscreen?
You do not necessarily need to buy a different sunscreen bottle for your face and body. Both sunscreens contain the same ingredients and will cover you equally. However, your face tends to be more sensitive than the rest of your skin and is usually exposed to the sun more than the rest of your skin, so you may want to increase the SPF for your face application. Also, some people do not like thick or oily sunscreens on their faces as they can prompt breakouts and clog pores. If this is you, then do continue to purchase a separate sunscreen for your face and body. Look for a sheer, non-oily sunscreen specifically targeted for your face.
3. Is the ingredients list important?
If you have particularly sensitive skin, or a skin condition like eczema or rosacea, stick to the sunscreens with minimal ingredients. Snatch up a screen that contains either zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as well, since these ingredients have proven to prevent skin reactions. You will also benefit from choosing sunscreens that are both fragrance-free, non-alcoholic, and hypoallergenic as they will strive for ultimate protection without any harmful, irritating additives. For an in-depth explanation on sunscreen ingredients, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide.
4. Which sunscreen is right for my skin type?
With so many options to choose from, the sunscreen aisle can quickly become overwhelming. But now that you have your desired SPF, a better idea of your skin sensitivity, and an improved knowledge of which ingredients to look for, your search can narrow.
You can find brands that will work better for your skin type. For example, those with oily skin should choose a light, sheer sunscreen. Creams may contain too many moisturizers, so you might want to use a spray or face sunscreen for your whole body. Those with dry skin can take the opposite advice. Search out the sunscreens that include moisturizers and avoid the sprays as they can dry your skin out further.