Tips To Help You Select The Right Sunscreen For You

Selecting a sunscreen isn't as simple as just grabbing a bottle from your local pharmacy and applying it. You need to be sure you have the right sunscreen for your specific needs, which means reading the bottles carefully to ensure you have the right sun protection. The labels on sunscreens have changed and will now tell you if they are just protecting you from a simple sunburn, or protecting your skin from cancer. See below for a few helpful tips when going in search of your next sunscreen protection.

1. Two Words - Broad Spectrum

You want to be sure your bottle says these two words. Broad spectrum means that your sunscreen is protecting you from UV-A and UV-B rays. These are the sun's harmful rays and you need to be sure you are protected from both, not just one or the other.

2. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) Rating

The SPF rating is very important when making your selection. You should have at least an SPF of 30 or higher according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This is just a minimum rating. SPF ranges from 2 to 100, however a higher rating doesn't necessarily mean a greater amount of sun protection. SPF 40 protects nearly as good as SPF 50 would. Also, remember that you still need to reapply your sunscreen at least every half hour, no matter what SPF you are using.

3. Water Resistant

If you are planning on swimming while out in the sun, you'll need to be sure your sunscreen will hold up to water or sweat. The words water resistant should be on your label if this is the case. If this is not listed on your bottle's label, chances are your sunscreen is not going to protect you while in the water. This type of sunscreen will also need to be reapplied. Check the label to see how often it should be re-applied.

Other Tips

  • Check your bottle's expiration date. Yes, sunscreen can expire and using an expired sunscreen can result in poor sun protection.
  • Apply your sunscreen before going outside. Your sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going out into the sun, as it takes some time for the sunscreen to be absorbed into your skin.
  • Get help from a friend to get sunscreen in those hard to reach areas like your back. You need to be sure your sunscreen is applied to all of your bare skin areas.

Applying sunscreen should be done on a daily basis if you are planning on being in the sun. Sunscreen can protect you not just from sunburns, but from skin cancer and premature aging signs such as wrinkles and sun spots as well. Use the sunscreen tips above to help you choose the right protection, or contact your dermatologist for help. To learn more, visit a website like