How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

Summer is finally here! The temperatures are rising and summer vacations are approaching. Chances are that you will probably head down to the beach at some point this summer. If you don’t want your beach trip to be ruined by sunburn, it is important that you choose the right sunscreen that properly protects your skin from the sun.

Reports show that skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the U.S. Experts estimate that approximately one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives.

The most effective way to protect your skin from cancer is to stay out of the sun. However, this is especially difficult because people enjoy outdoor activities during summer. It is also difficult to avoid the sun because sunlight provides Vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient for the human body.

The second best option to protect your skin from the sun is to wear sunscreen. But with some many different types of sunscreen available, you may find yourself unsure of which sunscreen is best for you.

When choosing the right sunscreen, it is important to look for four important factors. First, you need a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Second, you need a sunscreen with a broad spectrum of protection. Third, you need a sunscreen that is water resistant. Finally you need to be cautious with expired sunscreen.

SPF 15 or Higher

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which protects your skin from UVB Rays. An SPF number indicates how many more minutes the sunscreen will allow someone to remain in the sun without getting burned compared to if they had no protection. For example, if you normally burn in about ten minutes, a sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 multiples that time by 15. In other words, you can go for up to 150 minutes before burning.

It is important to know that an SPF number protects people differently. For instance, if you have light skin or you burn easily, it might be more beneficial for you to consider using a sunscreen with a higher SPF number.

A Broad Spectrum of Protection

There are two types of radiation that make up sunlight: UVA and UVB. Both of these types can do serious damage to your skin. UVA rays can age your skin by causing wrinkles or age spots; meanwhile, UVB rays can burn your skin. Too much exposure to either of these could potentially lead to skin caner. When selecting your sunscreen be sure to read the bottle. If that particular brand of sunscreen helps protect you from both UVA and UVB, then it should read “broad-spectrum” or “full-spectrum.”


If you are at the beach, chances are that you will either be sweating or swimming, which can cause the sunscreen to rub off. A water-resistant sunscreen means that it will stay effective for up to 40 minutes in the water. There is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen, so you will still have to reapply it after you take a dip.

Expired Sunscreen

When you purchase your sunscreen, be sure to check the expiration date because sunscreen does expire. When sunscreen expires, the chemicals will degrade and eventually become less effective, leaving your body vulnerable to the sun’s rays.

If you see that your sunscreen is expired, that does not mean that you have to immediately toss it in the garbage. Sunscreen does not become ineffective the very next day. Some experts even claim that certain brands of sunscreen can be used up to 3 years after the expiration date. But if you do not feel comfortable using expired sunscreen, you can always toss it and purchase a newer product.


Applying sunscreen to your skin is only part of a regimen to protect your body from the sun’s harmful rays. You should also consider wearing protective clothing as well as periodically taking a break from the sun. By educating yourself about the many different sunscreens available, you can effectively protect your sun as well as enjoy your summer.

Recommended Posts