Sunscreen 101: How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Your Skin

The sun is shining brighter and the skies are bluer and clearer. You know what that means. The season has taken a turn and summer is upon us. While the summer season is a welcome relief from months of biting cold, it also puts your skin at a greater risk of damage from the sun rays. To make sure that you soak up the summer without ending up with tan or sunburn, you need to step up your sunscreen game. But which is the right sunscreen for your skin? How do you choose from a host of options available in the market? Here is a detailed rundown to help you pick out the best sunscreen for your skin: 

When it comes to choosing the best sunscreen for your skin, you have to factor in different variables to find the perfect fit for your skin type and sun protection needs. From the kind of coverage offered by the sunscreen to its formulation and suitability for your skin type, here is some sunscreen 101 you need to keep in mind when picking out your next tube: 

Read The Sunscreen Label 

You can gauge how effective sunscreen will be in offering you the right kind of protection from sun damage by simply reading its label. A good formulation, especially for the harsh Indian summer, is one that checks the following boxes: 

  • Broad-spectrum coverage: This means that the sunscreen is designed to offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays 
  • SPF range: The SPF range is an indicator of the extent to which the sunscreen is capable of protecting your skin from reddening or tanning from sunlight when used the right way. For the Indian summer, only sunscreens with an SPF range of 30 or above are effective. 
  • PA: You also see the words ‘PA’ with + signs on various sunscreens. But what does it mean? PA stands for Protection Grade, which conveys the level of protection offered against UVA rays. A sunscreen with one + mark, for instance, offers some protection against these harmful rays, whereas one with +++ marks has higher protective abilities. The bottom line is that the higher the number of pluses, the more effective your sunscreen. 

Based on these variables, here is what an effective sunscreen label should read like – Mom & World Baby Sunscreen UV SPF50 PA+++, La Shield Fisico Matte Sunscreen Gel SPF50+ & PA+++, Phy Shld Daily Defence Cream For Men SPF 45 Pa+++

 Mineral or Non-Mineral 

Apart from what your sunscreen can do, it’s also important to pay attention to what it is made of. Based on their compositions and key ingredients, sunscreens are divided into chemical and mineral. 

Non-Mineral sunscreens contain different chemical compounds such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate or avobenzone, which absorb the UV rays, preventing them from reaching the skin. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, comprise zinc oxide, which is sometimes used in combination with titanium dioxide. 

One of the biggest disadvantages of chemical sunscreens is that the ingredients can irritate sensitive skin. While mineral sunscreens are more skin-friendly, some of these can make the skin look chalky or create a visible white tinge. 

Although many believe mineral sunscreen to be a better alternative, that is not necessarily true. Suitability largely depends on skin type. For instance, if you have sensitive skin, a mineral-based formulation like the Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF50+ would be better suited to your needs. Likewise, for extremely dry skin types, chemical sunscreen can prove to be a more fitting choice. 

Gel, Spray Or Cream 

Sunscreen of different configurations and compositions are available in gel, spray and cream formulations, By and large, sunscreen creams prove to be far more effective than gels or sprays. 

However, if your skin is extremely oily, a gel-based alternative like Perenne Sweatproof Sunscreen Gel SPF50 or Fuschia Sunscreen Matte Gel SPF50 can offer protection without risking breakouts or acne. 

Waterproof Or Not? 

Ideally, your sunscreen should be water-resistant or sweat-proof, so that it doesn’t get washed down with perspiration. But having a robust waterproof formula becomes that much more important if you want a formulation for outdoor water-based activities such as swimming or going to the beach. 

Something like the Jovees Sunblock Waterproof UVA/UVB Hydration protection SPF45 will perfectly cater to your requirement in such cases. For protection against sweat, a formulation like the POND’S Skin Fit Pre-Workout Sun Screen SPF50 can work well. 

For The Whole Body Or Just The Face? 

Whenever you step out in the sun, you must layer up all the exposed parts of your skin with an effective sun protection formula. Rather than apply the sunscreen designed for your facial skin everywhere, using a sunscreen body lotion like the Biotique Bio Vera Ultra Soothing Lotion SPF75+ for other areas can ensure better protection from tanning and sunburns. 

By using these different yardsticks vis-à-vis your requirements, you can easily zero-in on the perfect sun protection formula for your face and body. Get set to soak up the sun without a care in the world! 

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