Broad spectrum is the ideal sun protection, providing protection from both UVA and UVB rays which is essential when protecting against sunburn and the damage rays can have.
Stands for Sun Protection Factor, or the measure of how well you’re protected from UVB rays. The higher the number SPF, the better protection the sunscreen provides (to a point, see below). Something to note is that SPF only refers to protection factor from UVB rays, but not UVA. Look for sunscreens that also include the verbiage “broad spectrum”.
One of two kinds of sunscreens (in addition to chemical sunscreens, below), this formulation contains active mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which causes the formula to essentially sits on top of your skin, deflecting UV damage away from the dermis. They have a reputation for not rubbing into skin as well as chemical sunscreens, but they are the most recommended formulas by dermatologists and are also great for sensitive skin types because they are non-irritating, non-allergic, and non-comedogenic.
Regular or micronized (a smaller particle size), zinc oxide is the most common ingredient in mineral sunscreens and provides broad-spectrum sun protection, protection from skin cancer, and aids in the recovery of sunburns.
Sunlight has many different kinds of “rays”, but the ultraviolet rays are the most damaging to our skin, causing skin to age and potentially cause skin cancers. UVA and UVB rays are the two most basic types of ultraviolet rays that can reach the earth's surface and penetrate your skin.
Fun fact: There are over 500x more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays. While typical sunscreens protect against UVB rays, many do not protect against UVA rays, so it is essential to find a sunscreen that protects against both.
UVA rays are longer than UVB rays and penetrate the deepest into the dermis, making them one of the greatest factors in premature aging of the skin, including wrinkle formation AKA photoaging. These rays also play a role in sunburn, though not as much as UVB rays.
UVB rays are the ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface and are most responsible for causing sunburn. These types of rays also play the greatest role in causing skin cancers.
As a general rule, all sunscreens remain at their original strengths for three years, after which it is best to toss out. Most sunscreens have expiration dates on their bottles, but if they don’t, we recommend writing the date of purchase right on the bottle. To keep sunscreen at peak performance, be sure to store it in cool places where the bottle is not exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
This is the concept that for most adult bodies, you need the equivalent of one shot glass of sunscreen to adequately cover your entire body (and a half a teaspoon for your face).That being said, less is not more, in this case. And remember, apply in the AM and reapply through the day regularly especially if you are in direct sunlight.
It works. You should wear it. Remember, there are flaws when it comes to SPF application (especially when done solo or with sprays), so sun-protective hats, tops, and even bathing suits are a great way to boost your coverage. Actually, you should just always wear a hat no matter what.
Formulas who boast this ability have to pass intense water emergence testing prior to their SPF testing, so you can trust that these products will be effective under water. The key thing to remember here is to reapply after you get out of the water. Many brands say protection lasts for 80 minutes, but at a minimum, re-apply every hour. Again, less is not more when it comes to sunscreen.
An oil-soluble ingredient that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Often combined with octocrylene to stabilize the formula, it is only effective for about 30 minutes. Try to avoid using sunscreens with this ingredient.
Often found in chemical sunscreens–oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate,–are sometimes considered a no-no from health experts because of the possibility that they may be hormone disruptors. Our advise? Read labels and do research, and find a formulation that delivers ingredients that you are comfortable with.
One of two kinds of sunscreen (in addition to Physical Sunscreens, above), this formulation contains organic compounds such as oxybenzone and octinoxate which absorb into the dermis, essentially absorbing the sun’s UV rays as they attempt to penetrate the skin barrier. These sunscreens are historically more popular because they have a silkier, more easy-to-absorb texture than Physical Sunscreens and come in mists and sprays for easy application.