All Women's Talk

7 Things to Look for when Buying Sunscreen ...

By Eliza

When buying sunscreen it pays to consider several factors. That way you know you’re getting a product that will do its best for you. Wearing sunscreen is vitally important because it can protect you from skin cancer. At the same time, it can also reduce signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Not all sunscreen is created equal, though, so knowing the lingo can help you find the product that will work best for you. When buying sunscreen, consider the following things and you’ll be set for some fun in the sun - safely!


SPF refers to sun protection factor and is pretty important when buying sunscreen. It refers to what degree the product blocks harmful UVA and UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the longer you are protected and the more you are protected. That’s why a higher SPF is ideal if you plan spending hours in the sun. I wear SPF 30 on my face every day (it comes in my face cream), but if I’m planning a day outdoors, I slather SPF 50 on all my exposed skin every couple of hours. Many experts say that anything over SPF 50 is overkill, so you don’t have to opt for anything you can’t easily find on store shelves.

2 Active Ingredients

Sure, a sunscreen that moisturizes and smoothes fine lines would be ideal, but when it comes to active ingredients in sunscreen, you’re definitely looking for those that block the sun’s rays. That means you need to be on the lookout for avobenzone and zinc oxide. Those are the magical ingredients that make sunscreen effective. Don’t worry - most have them!

3 Water Resistance

If your outdoor plans include swimming or romping in the beach waves, a water resistant sunscreen in a must. The label will say whether the product is water resistant – if you don’t see those words, keep looking. Something else will for sure qualify. Water resistant sunscreen is perfect for water play because it doesn’t just run off your body, leaving you unprotected. You’ll have to reapply if you rub your skin with a towel, but it will block the sun’s rays while you’re in the water. You’ll still need to reapply every couple of hours.

4 Broad Spectrum

A broad spectrum sunscreen means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays at the same time. This means you’re warding off the dangers of skin cancer, but also blocking the rays that age you and give you wrinkles and age spots. The product label will say broad spectrum so give it the once over to be sure.

5 Ease of Application

I know that slathering on the sunscreen isn’t the most enjoyable chore - especially for me when I also have to cover three squirming kids. However, you can counteract this by looking for a sunscreen that is convenient and easy to apply. That might mean spray-on sunscreen for you or it could be a lotion-like product that you simply rub in. Stick sunscreen is particularly handy for kids. Whatever your wants and needs are, it’s best to choose a sunscreen that allows you to quickly and easily apply it because it’s much more likely that you’ll get it done.

6 Skin Conditions

If you have certain skin conditions, such as rosacea or eczema, you might need a specialized type of sunscreen. Certain ingredients can exacerbate skin problems and make symptoms worse, so using the right sunscreen is an easy way to keep this from happening. Talk to your dermatologist about an appropriate product for your special skin needs.

7 Antioxidants

As more research is conducted on sunscreen and how it works, better formulas are created all the time. Antioxidants are linked to a powerful resistance to free radical damage, making them the ideal addition to sunscreen. Finding products that contain vitamins A and C, green tea extract or grapeseed oil, may boost the benefits of your sunscreen. These products might be more expensive, but can give you additional peace of mind if you’re at risk of skin cancer.

What’s your favorite type of sunscreen? Do you remember to wear it every time you go outside? Sunscreen dominates my thoughts much of the time so I hope I’m doing a good job of protecting my skin and health.

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