As we start to spend more time outside, it’s more important than ever to apply sunscreen daily to avoid skin damage. Sunscreen is not a one size fits all product, everyone’s skin type is different and has unique needs. Below we break down which products and ingredients you should look for when choosing your next sunscreen.
If you have sensitive skin, you may have noticed that your skin becomes easily irritated by many products, often resulting in dry patches, burning or stinging sensations, breakouts or redness. If you have sensitive skin, avoid fragranced sunscreens to prevent potential allergic reactions. Make sure the sunscreen is labeled fragrance-free rather than unscented. Unscented products can still contain a fragrance in order to neutralize the smell of its ingredients. Fragrance-free sunscreens offer the same amount of sun protection as other sunscreens and won’t irritate your skin.
You might also consider sunscreens with mainly physical blockers such as zinc or titanium. Just like jewelry made from titanium, titanium sunscreens rarely cause allergies and are best for those with skin sensitivity.
Oily, acne-prone skin
Those with oily or acne-prone skin often dislike wearing sunscreen because of the oily residue that some leave behind. To avoid this, pick sunscreens that have non-comedogenic ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, clay or retinol. These non-comedogenic ingredients won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts as many of them repair the skin upon application. Avoid sunscreens that have added oils such as avocado oil, coconut oil or shea butter as these will increase oil production which can lead to breakouts and blocked pores.
All skin types
Try to limit your time outside when the sun’s rays are the strongest, typically from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m1 regardless of your skin type. Make sure your selected sunscreen is labeled broad-spectrum, so it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are associated with causing the skin to age, while UVB rays are commonly linked to sunburns. It is recommended that you wear an SPF of at least 30 when you are outside – even on a cloudy day.
- Check the expiration date – Old sunscreen won’t be effective at blocking the sun’s rays and expired ingredients could irritate your skin.
- Remember reapplication – Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours due to sweating, exposure to water and/or the sun breaking down the ingredients and weakening its effectiveness over time. Apply waterproof sunscreen to extend the product’s effectiveness while participating in water-based activities.
- Timing is key – Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you plan to go outdoors. This gives the product time to absorb into your skin and provide ample sun protection.
- Apply properly – Sunscreen should be applied to every part of the body that is exposed to the sun. Research has shown that one ounce of sunscreen covers the average person’s body properly2. Additionally, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears and the tops of your feet and hands.
- Pucker up – Skin cancer can affect all different areas of your body, including your lips. Apply lip balm containing SPF to your lips before heading outside.
To learn more about what sunscreen suits your skin type and best application methods, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist online or by calling your preferred location.
1Cleveland Clinic. (2019, October 10). In Sun Damage: Protecting Yourself. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/5240-sun-damage-protecting-yourself
2SUNSCREEN FAQS. (n.d.). In American Academy of Dermatology Association. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/eve…,often%20should%20I%20apply%20it%3F&text=Apply%20enough%20sunscreen