What to Look for in a Sunscreen

Many people are slightly confused about how to choose the right sunscreen. Buying sunscreen doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you know what to look for in a sunscreen.

Active ingredients– The active ingredients in sunscreen are designed to reflect the sun’s rays as compared to ingredients that soothe your skin. You should look for sunscreen that has avobenzone or zinc oxide. Avobenzone is an active ingredient that goes deep into the surface of the skin and helps absorb UVA rays. Some products that have avobenzone will also have ingredients like octisalate and octocrylene, ingredients that help to make avobenzone last longer. Zinc oxide are physical compounds that reflect the sun’s rays away from your skin.

Water resistant– The Food and Drug Administration states that sunscreen products that are labeled as “water resistant” will keep its SPF protection for a minimum of 40 minutes in the water or through sweating while sunscreen products that are labeled as “very water resistant” will keep the protection for a minimum of 80 minutes. There is no sunscreen that is 100% waterproof.

SPF– SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and the type you need will depend on how long you plan to be outdoors. If you plan to be outdoors just a few minutes here and there, you can choose an SPF of 15, which will filter out around 93% of the UV rays. For those who plan to spend an extended amount of time outdoors, choose an SPF of 30 or higher, which will filter out about 97%-98% of the UV rays.

Broad spectrum– The sun contains UVB and UVA rays. UVB rays are the ones that will tan as well as burn your skin and are the ones that cause skin cancer. UVA rays wont burn your skin but they do causes sun spots as well as sagging and wrinkles. You want to be protected from both UVB and UVA rays so choose a sunscreen with ‘broad spectrum” on the label.

Discussion:  What is most important to you when choosing a sunscreen?

Madison Main
When Madison isn't tending to her job at a bank, she is hauling her 5 children to soccer practice and other activities. Main is also a speech and drama coach at the local high school.

20 Responses to “What to Look for in a Sunscreen

  • massmommie@gmail.com'
    Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    6 years ago

    I use water babies. I have since my kids were babies.

  • Neutrogena and Banana Boat are two brands that I trust. I love that these formulas are mild.

  • This is great information. I personally look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and water resistant. A sunscreen that when I put it on I won’t even know I’m wearing it, so the texture as well. I like it to be light and not sticky.

  • I look for the best coverage possible! With a hubby who is his dermatologist’s youngest patient for skin cancer, we are HUGE sunscreen users at our house!

  • Water resistant sunscreen is a must for us. I wish there was a waterproof sunscreen, but that’s just dark clothing lol.

  • Having proper sun coverage is so important. Thanks for sharing the important topics

  • I used to use water babies all the time, I need to grab some more for when we go swimming next week! Great stuff!

  • I look for the highest # in sunblock and the I look at prices. Currently we are using Banana Boat and it does the job.

  • This is some great information. I know about SPF but I don’t always know what else to look for in sunscreens.

  • Now that looks and sounds amazing. I would love to try!

  • I just learned how to make my own sunscreen and some of these tips were helpful.

  • I like both of these products and use them when we are in the sun. I have been pleased with them both.

  • I love how Neutrogena lotion feels on my skin. I think it may be my favorite type of lotion, and I use many.

  • Neutrogena products have been my choice for a long time. It is great to see that their products contain ingredients that offer us the best protection against the sun.

  • annb10@rogers.com'
    Ann Bacciaglia
    6 years ago

    Banana Boat is a great sunscreen. I have been using it as long as i can remember. It does not leave my skin feeling greasy just smooth and soft.

  • This is a good post. I’m always a little confused about what to buy and why, so I just go with what I know works. I could def. amp it up a bit.

  • There are so many sunscreens out there. One should always check labels on them.

  • This is the first time I hear about Neutrogena brand. I am having very sensitive skin, so that I concentrate more on selecting a perfect sunscreen lotion. I have been using Banana Boat sunscreen, which has great ingredients and is water resistant as well.

  • These are great tips for choosing a sunscreen. It’s so very important to protect our skin. just one sunburn greatly increases your risk of skin cancer.

  • HHIS I should have thouhgt of that!

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