Yes, we know that you know how important it is to use sunscreen. We do not need to quote what doctors have to say about it, you are well aware of the risks of excessive sun exposure. You are a responsible person who already knows it all and is absolutely all for protecting yourself from harmful side-effects of sunbathing but struggles to find a sunscreen that works well – for a plethora of reasons. Maybe it’s clogging your pores, causing terrible breakouts, maybe it slides off your face making it impossible to wear make-up, maybe it irritates your eyes – whatever the cause of distress may be, we have just the guide for you. Buckle up, put on sunglasses, pour yourself a glass of icy mojito and get let’s find the answers together!
Table of Contents
Tip 1: Get to know your SPFs (and go for 30+)
We all know that the higher the SPF the better the protection, but have you ever wondered how it really works and what does “SPF” even mean? Well, “SPF” is short for “Sun Protection Factor” and its number means how long the product will protect you from the UVB rays in comparison to a total lack of sun protection. For example, SPF 30 gives you 30 times longer protection (when compared to a total lack of it). SPF 15 protects you from around 93% of UVB rays, SPF 30 from 97% and SPF 50 from 98%. These differences may seem small, but when you take a closer look you notice that while SPF 15 lets 7% of harmful rays through, SPF 30 lets only 3% of them slide – which is more than two times less! Specialists agree that SPF 30 and higher is the best choice.
It’s not only the number that matters, though. You should always go for products labelled as “broad spectrum”. Why is that? Well, there are two types of UV rays that may cause us harm – UVA and UVB. Both play a role in causing skin cancer, and UVA, additionally, penetrate our skin deeper and lead to premature ageing. It’s absolutely crucial to reach for a sunscreen that protects you from both!
Tip 2: Choose cream over spray
Sprays seem very convenient and many people prefer to reach for them over creamy formulas. However, people tend to be unaware of how much sunscreen you need to apply for it to be effective. Realistically, you should cover your face and neck with around ½ of a teaspoon while your entire body needs around 6-7 teaspoons in total. To reach this amount by using a spray or an aerosol, you need to spray each area of your body for around 6 seconds or until it looks white. Seems like quite the struggle? Well, it is – this is why it’s much easier (and less expensive) to stick with the creams.
Tip 3: Pick the waterproof, if you are active
We tend to forget that our activity affects the way in which we are protected by the SPF – ideally, we would like to apply it once and forget about the issue for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it does not work like that. Normally, we should reapply sunscreen every 3-4 hours, however, excessive sweating or contact with water literally washes the protection off. If you are planning any intensive activities and/or swimming, it’s best to reach for a water-resistant formula. Still, keep in mind that no SPF product is truly waterproof – it’s going to wash off anyway, it will simply take longer to do so!
Tip 4: Go for lighter formulas if your skin is problematic
Some of us do not like using sunscreen because they claim it clogs their pores and causes breakouts. It’s true that certain formulations can be quite heavy and comedogenic; especially mineral sunscreens can irritate the skin and cause a sudden acne flare. The best way to avoid this unfortunate situation is to go for products labelled as “oil-free”, “non-comedogenic” and “acne-prone-friendly”. Many sunscreen connaisseurs recommend products from South Korea, where the culture of wearing sunscreen daily is prevalent and hence you can find products suited to any skin type, including sensitive, acne-prone and oily. A good idea is also to ask your dermatologist for recommendations and visit a well-stocked pharmacy.
Mind that even the lightest formula may irritate your skin if you fail to wash it off properly at the end of the day! When you are wearing sunscreen, deep cleansing is a must – a simple wash will not do. Stock up on an oil-based facial cleanser as the first phase of the cleansing process and exfoliate regularly!
Tip 5: Check reviews before purchasing
The Internet is a beautiful thing. With just a few clicks we can tap into an enormous database full of information that will make our lives easier. If you find a sunscreen that seems to be a match for you, simply Google it before purchasing and check what other users had to say about it. It will take you just a few seconds but may save your wallet (and poor face) from a very bad decision!