Go-To Tips on Picking the Right Sunscreen for You

When it comes to enjoying the sun in a healthy way, it seems that we’re still searching for the perfect balance: How can we enjoy the health benefits of sun exposure, such as vitamin D, and still protect our skin from harmful UV rays?

I can remember being at the beach with my family as a child and dreading getting the call from my mom to come out and reapply sunscreen. Naturally, I tried to avoid it. Little did I know that years later, I would be applying sunscreen every morning on my own (without Mom’s reminder), whether I am going to be directly out in the sun or not. Now that I’m in my thirties, I fully understand that using sunscreen is not only important to protect my skin, but it is also an effective anti-aging tip.

It took me a while to find the perfect sunscreen for daily use. Some types of sunscreen would leave my skin oily, clog my pores, or even worse, make me break out. But what was really concerning is that many sunscreen brands found at local pharmacies are actually full of toxins that can irritate our skin and bodies once absorbed. I have learned that finding the perfect sunscreen is very important to get the right protection without the side effects.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created a handy guide on what to look for when choosing your ideal sunscreen. Here are some great tips on picking the right sunscreen for you.

Be mindful of the ingredients, especially the main active ingredient

The main active ingredient in sunscreen is usually what provides protection from UV Rays. This is critically important, but we must also ensure that the chemical used won’t cause any damage to our bodies like disrupting our hormone, thyroid, and reproductive systems or cause any skin allergies. There are some chemicals we should avoid because of their high toxicity concerns, such as Oxybenzone and Occtinoxate. Instead, look for safer alternatives that will equally protect you from sun damage, like Zinc Oxide, Avobenzone, and Mexoryl SX. 

You should be aware of other ingredients used in sunscreen. Vitamin A may have anti-aging benefits when used in night creams, but it may not be a good idea when it comes to sun-exposed skin since some research shows that it may accelerate the development of skin lesions. Skin experts also suggest avoiding products that combine sun protection with bug repellent. The recommended reapplication time of sunscreen is different when compared to bug repellent, and the chemicals used may be too harsh on the face or other sensitive areas. Simply put, look for a product that contains clean and simple ingredients.

Choose the right SPF. More is not necessarily better

We have the tendency to believe that more is better. And that’s applicable in some situations, but when it comes to choosing the right SPF, the “more is better” adage is true up to a certain point. Many may think that SPF 30 or 50 may just not be enough, and they would rather use SPF 100 to be safer. The truth is that a higher SPF does not guarantee more protection. In fact, SPF 50 blocks 98% of sunburn rays, while SPF 100 blocks 99%. We should remember that creating a higher SPF requires more chemicals, and that may come with greater risks to our health. A higher SPF may also give a false sense of security, and people may expose themselves longer, believing they are fully covered with their high SPF. So when picking out your SPF, avoid going lower than 15 or higher than 50. Find a safe, happy medium.

Enjoy the sun in a safe way

After you choose your ideal sunscreen, do remember that there are still other ways to enjoy the sun safely. Hats and shades not only make you look and feel fabulously stylish, but are also great accessories to shield you from the harsh sun. You don’t need to dress up like a beekeeper and cover every inch of your body, but do plan to find shade by the pool or beach to take a break from the sun’s harmful rays when things get too hot. Finally, remember to choose when to have your fun adventures in the sun wisely. Go earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon!

Looking for your perfect sunscreen match? Visit PureFormulas.com for our selection of clean sunscreen alternatives for face and body. Want to go the DIY route, here is a great recipe!