Many of us have grown up being slathered, sprayed or doused in sunscreen from a very young age. Over the years we’ve also become privy to the fact that many formulas aren’t exactly “healthy” for us either. Many often contained benzenes (and still do), which is known to cause cancer. Without much regulation, as the summer months roll around many of us are left wondering what to do to protect our skin so we're detailing how to choose a sunscreen.
What does SPF stand for anyway?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, which refers to the amount of time sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays.
What do the SPF numbers stand for?
The numbers in SPF correlate to the amount of time and is noted in numbers ie. 30, 50, 70, 100. These numbers are an indicator for how much longer it takes for your skin to burn with and without sunscreen. The important factor to note here is that, anytime we are under the sun, your skin is technically “burning,” SPF simply elongates the amount of time it takes to have an effect.
Types of sunscreens:
When buying sunscreen there are often many types to choose from with the most common being SPF and Broad Spectrum. SPF usually blocks the skin from UVB rays while Broad-Spectrum works to block both UVA and UVB rays.
UVA vs UVB
- UVA rays penetrate deep into the layers of the skin and are responsible for photoaging — think wrinkles, sunspots and loss of collagen.
- UVB rays penetrate the outer layers of the skin, causing damage to cells and are responsible for burning the skin.
These types of sunscreen contain minerals such as zinc oxide that create a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. You might notice with some of these formulas that they create a white cast on your skin and can feel thick or chalky when applying.
These formulas use chemical ingredients such as avobenzone that work to absorb UV rays before it can wreak havoc on the skin.
How often should you apply sunscreen?
Sunscreen is something that should be worn year-round, even during winter. Although you might think you’re safe from the rays due to cloud cover or being inside, however, UV rays can still penetrate clouds and UVA rays specifically can penetrate windows. For best results and maximum coverage, formulas should be applied generously every few hours.
What's on our wishlist:
Le Prunier Plumscreen
Created with the same skin-loving ingredients from their cult-favorite Plum Beauty Oil, this sunscreen protects against blue light and UV damage, while protecting collagen and moisturizing skin. Thanks to its nano zinc oxide, wearers don’t need to worry about residue.
Vacation Chardonnay Oil SPF 30
Broad-spectrum, reef-friendly, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, PEG, Paraben, and Cruelty-Free, this vegan formula is made from chardonnay grapeseed oil that delivers shine and hydration while also protecting your skin.
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Invisible, weightless and scentless — this sunscreen protects the skin without leaving a trace. Great for priming under makeup or all on its own, there’s a reason why this formula has been a fan-favorite season after season.