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?