Woman shopping for the right sunscreen

Right Sunscreen for Your Skin: A Mini Guide for Sunscreen Selection

Choosing the right sunscreen is often a tough call when there are so many options available. The process becomes as difficult as climbing a mountain when we barely have any idea of what to look for while making a sunscreen purchase.

If you can relate to the above, then continue reading. You’re about to find out some helpful tricks that’s going to help you find out your ideal sun block.

But first, let’s talk about…

Why choosing the right sunscreen is so important?

A woman covering face with hand to protect her skin from sun rays
Eminence Organic Skin Care

Choosing the right sunscreen is crucial to prevent the harmful UV rays from damaging our skin. Because every single day, we have to come in contact with the sun at least for once. Besides this, sunscreen also helps us in:

  • Preventing skin cancers
  • Reducing risks of hyperpigmentation
  • Protecting us from sun sensitivity
  • Preventing premature aging

Right Sunscreen Glossaries: SPF, UVA & UVB?

Before looking for the right sunscreen, you need to have a general idea about SPF, UVA and UVB.


SPF indicates “Sun Protection Factor”. In very simple terms, it’s an indicator of the amount of time the sunscreen will protect your skin from the UVB rays.

Let’s say you are using a sunscreen of SPF 30. This means, the sunscreen will give you 30 times extended protection. So, you can now stay 30 times longer in the sun compared to the time when you were without the sunscreen.

A pic depicting some lines regarding SPF and it's effectiveness
Healthy Holme

As per Food & Drug Administration, sunscreens having SPF of 15 or higher works great in preventing sun burns, slows down premature aging and prevents the risk of skin cancer.


This stands for ultraviolet A. It has a longer wavelength and is responsible for skin aging and wrinkles. Besides, it may also disrupt your immune systems.

A woman pouring sunscreen in hand for application
Time Magazine


This stands for ultraviolet B. Though it has a shorter wavelength but it is highly responsible for sunburns and skin tans.

Right Sunscreen: What to look for in the label?

Be mindful of the followings while looking for the right sunscreen:

SPF of At least 30

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, it’s better to select a sunscreen with 30 or higher SPF. But you must also know this very important fact that SPF works differently for different people. Those who have light skin are easily prone to sunburns. So, it would be much beneficial for them to choose a sunscreen with a bit higher rating than others.

A sunscreen bottle with some questions about which SPF is better
Florida Medical Clinic

Besides, you need to remember that there’s no such sunscreen that can give you a 100% protection from the sun rays. So, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Also ensure protective wears, such as hats, sunglasses etc.

Water Resistance

This is another important thing to look for because not every sunscreen has this on it’s label. A label with “Water Resistant” indicates if it’s going to stay on a sweaty or wet skin for some time or not. Generally, the water resistance lasts up to 40 or 80 minutes.

A man pouring water resistant sunscreen in hand for application
The Healthy

If you love swimming then it’s a must for you because when you are in the water, you have more chance of rubbing off your sunscreen with water or your own sweat.

Water resistance doesn’t mean waterproof. So, once your swimming is done, don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen!

Broad Spectrum

“Broad Spectrum” indicates the sunscreen will protect you not only from UVB but also from UVA. Thus, your protection will become way more strengthened if you have this in your sunscreen.

A group of broad spectrum sunscreen in various packaging

Most sunscreens give protection only from UVB rays because they have SPF. But you still remain vulnerable to the UVA rays that you can prevent by having Broad spectrum in your sunscreen. If you are someone who doesn’t have to spend that much time under the sun, then you can skip this.

Expiry Date

It needs no mentioning that you must check the expiry date always while purchasing beauty and healthcare products. An expired sunscreen will result in chemical degradations. Thus, it will become less effective in giving you sun protection.

3 sunscreen bottles indicating expiry date checking

But here’s a fact that you might not know. Sunscreens do not immediately become ineffective after the expiry date. Some experts have claimed that certain sunscreen brands can be used for up to 3 years after the expiration date. However, if you feel any type of irritations or discomfort, toss it in the garbage and get yourself a new one. Because not that every sunscreen brand will work that amazing after they are expired.

Safe & Harmful Ingredients

Try looking for a mineral-based sunscreen that contains ingredients like Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide etc. These minerals create a barrier to the sun rays from penetrating your skin. So, you are well-protected for long.

A woman looking at the label carefully while purchasing sunscreen

On the other hand, avoid chemical sunscreens which contain ingredients like Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Avobenzone etc. These chemicals absorb the sun rays first and then expel from your skin in the form of heat.

Avoid alcohol in the formulas if you have allergies. On the other hand, stay away from greasy creams if you have acne. Try consulting with your dermatologist in case of any type of confusions. Because a wrong sunscreen can make your skin even more sensitive than before.

Look for Moisture if You Have Dry Skin

Moisturizing sunscreens will work better for you in case you have dry skin. Look for ingredients like lanolin, oil, glycerin etc. because they have long lasting hydrating capabilities.

Concluding Words

A happy woman enjoying the warmth of sun amidst sunflowers

We hope this short guide will be a bit of help to you while choosing the right sunscreen for your skin. So, start enjoying your sunbathing from now onwards!

Also don’t forget to take periodical breaks from the sun. Wishing you a very happy summer!