Everything You Need To Know About Picking The Right Sunscreen

Whether you swear by drinking lots of water and good sweat sesh, or by your Kate Somerville peel for a glowing and healthy complexion, we all have our different skin-saving tricks. But the one tip you always seem to hear across all boards — wear your sunscreen. From living in Los Angeles, the land of 72 and sunny, or New York, the land of ridiculously extreme weather, sunscreen is a non-negotiable in protecting your skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun.

Hopefully none of this is new to you (right, gals?). And hopefully you apply this liberally every day in rain-or-shine (right gals?). But in the chance that you may need a little refresher, here’s a little cheat sheet of what you should know about your SPF.

1. Look for the words “Broad Spectrum”.
This means this sunscreen protects from both ultraviolet A (UVA) AND ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. What’s the difference? UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin, and UVB rays burn the superficial layers (this is your usual “Spring break in Cabo” sunburn). Nevertheless, the both can cause cancer and premature aging.

2. Use SPF 30 or higher.
Many beauty products and moisturizers now will have an SPF included. You need a minimum of SPF 30 for it to be effective. And no, applying two layers of SPF 15 doesn’t count. 😉

3. Sweatproof? No such thing.
Though you may remember seeing claims for sweatproof or waterproof sunscreens, products can no longer claim this because, well–it’s actually pretty impossible. Think about it: sweat or water activities will naturally fade the layer of protection you just applied. Now, look for the words “Water Resistant,” which specify that your sun screen will provide the full level of SPF mentioned while you swim or sweat.

4. Reapplication.
Since your skin is porous, you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day. This may seem tedious at first, but who’ll complain about a quick light facial massage and rubbing some lotion on your arms anyway? Currently, only two times of reapplication are permitted—40 minutes and 80 minutes.

5. Your lips need love too.
Your lips have some of the thinnest skin on your face (next to your eyes). This delicate area should be protected by sun damage as well. Look for lip balms with an SPF 15.

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