How to Choose Best Sunscreen: 10 Questions and Answers

Woman tanning at the beach with sunscreen cream [Thumbnail image]

Everything you need to know about sunscreens and their use, how to protect your skin competently from the sun.

What is an SPF

This is the abbreviation for the name Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number shows how the cream or lotion protects against ultraviolet light. Depending on the index, it can be a low (6-12), medium (15, 20, 25) or high (30, 40, 50 and 50+) degree of protection.

Protect against UVA- or UVB-rays. What does it mean?

UVB are powerful rays with shorter wavelengths than UVA. They affect the epidermis, and you sunbathe, but in excess they lead to burns. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin. They are responsible for the darkening of the skin, the appearance of solar allergies and can even cause skin cancer. If you want «full package» of protection, look on the sunscreen inscription UVA in a circle.

Summer concept with sunscreens on white background

The difference between SPF 50 and SPF 30

SPF 50 and SPF 30 are high protection indices. The SPF 50 is almost 100% solar block, and the SPF 30 index allows the skin to produce melanin pigment, which is responsible for the appearance of sunburn. With SPF 50, there is no chance of tan, but with SPF 30, the skin may well acquire a light bronze shade.

How to apply

Sunscreen should be applied to dry, clean skin and evenly distributed throughout the entire surface. Do it 15-20 minutes before sunbathing: filters need time to activate. It can be combined with makeup, for example, applied as a base under makeup. It is not necessary to combine sunscreens with each other, the SPF factor will not increase from the fact that you mix 30 and 50. How to clean your skin properly, read here.

What are physical and chemical filters

Physical filters also called inorganic. These are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

They work according to the law of refraction (ultraviolet rays refracted from mineral filters). Chemical filters are organic synthesis filters. They convert light energy rays into other forms of energy. Thus, inorganic mineral filters reflect sunlight, and organic filters convert them into safe ones. Organic filters can penetrate the surface layers of the epidermis, and inorganic filters are on the surface, so they are easily erased or washed off, which may reduce their effectiveness.

Happy senior woman biker sitting and applying sunscreen on her arm outdoors in forest

Are filters harmful?

Filters are not harmful by themselves, but some components in the product can cause allergies, especially if the skin is sensitive. There are hypoallergenic sunscreens in them minimized potentially reactive components.

How to choose

It is necessary to focus on your type: color of eyes, hair, and skin. For light skin, which quickly turns red in the sun, it is better to choose a cream or lotion with a high degree of protection (SPF at least 30 or 40). People with «solar allergies» (after the sun appear red spots, similar to a rash) should use the maximum block (SPF 50 and 50+).

If you have dry skin, you should select sunscreen with hyaluronic acid or aloe in the composition. If you have oily skin, then a light gel texture will suit. For age skin, antioxidants in the composition will work well.

If the skin is dark, should you protect it from the sun?

If the skin is dark, then it contains a high concentration of melanin pigment. It’s its defense mechanism that catches ultraviolet rays and doesn’t let them through the deep layers. If you have dark skin, on the way to the office and back you are unlikely to burn under the sun, so you cannot use sunscreen. If you are on a beach or picnic, sunscreen is already necessary (at least SPF 20).

Fit woman applying sunscreen

Does it reduce the production of vitamin D in the body?

No. Even a minimal exposure to the sun will produce vitamin D. If you put your hands in the sunlight for just 10 minutes, you will get the necessary daily vitamin D ration.

What is the name of SPF in Asian sunscreens?

If you choose Asian product. The PA+ is a scale of sun protection levels that was developed in Japan. It shows how well it protects against UVA radiation. PA+ is a low level of protection against A-rays, PA++ is medium and PA++ is very high.

All information about skin cancer and importance of using sunscreens you can read on Skin Cancer Foundation’s website.


Brand “eltaMD” offers a Facial Sunscreen. This zinc oxide facial spray with broad – spectrum coverage protects against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. It has SPF 46 for sensitive or acne-prone skin.

eltamd uv clear facial sunscreen broad spectrum spf 46 for sensitive or acne prone skin oil free dermatologist recommended mineral based zinc oxide formula

Brand “Neutrogena” offers a Sunscreen Lotion. It is fast-absorbing with Dry-Touch technology for a non-greasy, matte finish and is formulated with Helioplex for superior sun protection for your skin. The lotion has SPF 70 that helps defend against the signs of sun and decrease the risk of skin cancer when used as directed.

neutrogena ultra sheer dry touch water resistant and non greasy sunscreen lotion with broad spectrum spf 70 3 fl oz

Brand “Sun Bum” offers a Sunscreen Lotion. It delivers UVA/UVB protection and is packed with vitamin E. Oil-free, water-resistant and reef friendly SPF 30 Lotion is great for all skin types.

sun bum original scent spf 30 sunscreen lotion vegan and reef friendly octinoxate oxybenzone free broad spectrum moisturizing uvauvb sunscreen with vitamin e 8 oz
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