Choosing the Right Sunscreen: A Simple Guide

By Patricia Rios

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun, picking the right sunscreen is key. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming. But fear not! We’ve got you covered with some straightforward tips to help you choose the perfect sunscreen for your needs.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

Article Source: The Boston University

Understanding Sunscreen Types

There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Chemical Sunscreens: These absorb UV rays into the skin. Look for active ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate.
    • Choose chemical sunscreens for quick absorption and water resistance.
    • Check the label for these active ingredients to ensure you’re getting the right protection.
  • Physical Sunscreens: These sit on top of the skin and reflect UV rays away. Ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are common.
    • Opt for physical sunscreens if you have sensitive skin, as they’re less likely to cause irritation.
    • Be aware that physical sunscreens may leave a white cast, so blend well or choose tinted options.

Choosing Based on Skin Type

Consider your skin type when selecting a sunscreen:

  • For Oily or Acne-Prone Skin:
    • Look for oil-free formulas to prevent clogged pores.
    • Choose sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for better tolerance.
  • For Dry Skin:
    • Seek out sunscreens with added moisturizing ingredients like ceramides or hyaluronic acid.
    • Consider layering sunscreen over your regular moisturizer for extra hydration.
  • For Dark Skin:
    • Avoid mineral sunscreens to prevent a white cast.
    • If chemical sunscreens cause breakouts, opt for tinted mineral options for better blending.

Application Tips

Proper application is key for effective sun protection:

  • Use Enough: Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed skin.
    • A good rule of thumb is to use about a shot glass worth of sunscreen for the entire body.
  • Reapply Regularly: Sunscreen wears off, especially if you’re sweating or swimming.
    • Reapply every two to three hours, or more often if you’re sweating heavily or in the water.
  • Cover Every Spot: Don’t forget those easy-to-miss areas like the ears, back of the neck, and tops of feet.
    • Use a mirror or ask a friend to help ensure you haven’t missed any spots.

Additional Considerations

Some other things to keep in mind when choosing a sunscreen:

  • Avoid Spray Sunscreens as Your Primary Option: While convenient, sprays can be tricky to apply evenly.
    • Use lotions for initial application and sprays for touch-ups throughout the day.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Don’t be swayed by buzzwords like “organic” without checking the ingredients.
    • Look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” to ensure protection against both UVA and UVB rays.


Choosing the right sunscreen doesn’t have to be complicated. By understanding the different types of sunscreen, considering your skin type, and following proper application techniques, you can stay protected while enjoying the great outdoors. So, slather on that sunscreen and soak up the sun safely!


Patricia Rios

I have been writing makeup and beauty content for more than ten years. My passion is to uplift you, my reader, to feel better about yourself.

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