We often get asked ‘What is the best sunscreen to buy’?

The answer is always the sunscreen that you’ll wear and re-apply often. Beyond that, there are a few options and criteria that we have preferences towards to maximize your sun protection.

Our preferences are here to help guide you on what to look for in a sunscreen brand, but first let us give you some tips about sunscreens to help you make the most educated decision.

We encourage choosing a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. Here’s why

  • Ultraviolet light often referred to as UV light is emitted from the sun and two types are of concern: UVA and UVB.
  • UVA rays are the primary cause of premature aging of your skin as they penetrate into the deeper layers. This leads to a breakdown in the communication of your skin’s “operations” causing wrinkles, sun spots and a whole lot more.
  • UVB rays affect the more superficial layers of our skin and can cause we call sunburns.
  • Repeated unprotected exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can wreak havoc and ultimately may lead to skin cancers.

A broad spectrum sunscreen offers protection from both UVA & UVB rays. So broad-spectrum is a YES!

Now that you have a broad-spectrum sunscreen the next question is what SPF do you need?

SPF is the abbreviation for sun protection factor. It’s important to note that SPF only signifies how well a sunscreen protects you from UVB as UVA protection is not rated, hence why you should always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sunscreen manufacturers rate SPF based on how long it takes skin to sunburn when treated with sunscreen versus skin without.

We highly recommend using a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Testing has shown that sunscreens above SPF 50 offer small increases in UV protection.

You’re probably wanting to know how often you should re-apply your sunscreen.

We recommend following the manufacturers label guidelines on your sunscreen. As a rule of thumb it is recommended to re-apply every 2 hours when possible and sooner if you’ve been in water from a pool or beach and/or sweating excessively from outdoor or indoor activities. This is important and ties back into the SPF number on your bottle. Higher number SPFs don’t translate to lasting longer. Sunscreen by most is not applied thoroughly or even in the right amount therefore resulting in less protection than the SPF number suggests.

We hear you asking ‘What about water-resistant sunscreen?’

When a sunscreen is labeled as water resistant, it means that the sun protection and effectiveness of your SPF will be maintained for up to 40 minutes in water or from excessive sweating. Then you’ll need to re-apply.

If the label states very water resistant then the SPF is maintained up to 80 minutes in water or from excessive sweating before you need to re-apply.

Broad spectrum. Check.
SPF 30 to 50. Check.
Re-application as often as possible, but best in max 2 hours. Check.
Water resistant for outdoor activities and re-apply after 40 minutes. Check.

We encourage choosing a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection.

Let’s dive deeper now and look at ingredients.

Sunscreen ingredients are often referred to as filters. These filters can reflect or absorb UV rays. The filters are categorized as being organic or inorganic and most often called chemical or physical sunscreens.

  • Organic filters aka chemical filters act as a sponge and absorb UV radiation and convert it to heat.
    • Popular organic filters are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, or octinoxate.
  • Inorganic filters aka physical filters create a barrier shield on the skin reflecting UV rays.
    • Popular inorganic filters are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Inorganic sunscreens tend to be less irritating to the skin, but this doesn’t make them a preference of choice. Remember the best sunscreen is the one you’ll wear and like on your skin.

Sunscreens are often combined with other ingredients that do other things like a quick 2-in-1. We often see insect repellent and sunscreen together but experts agree that this is not the best choice as sunscreen needs to be re-applied quite often and insect repellent should be used sparingly not quite as often.

Make-up and cosmetic products for both men and women often have a sunscreen mixed in, but they’ll only be effective if applied often and in the right amounts. It’s unlikely someone would apply that large amount of make-up or cosmetic product multiple times throughout the day.

Let’s dive a little deeper into understand how each ingredient filter protects you. The chart below has a list of some of the most popular filters in sunscreens today. It charts their level of protection based against the light spectrum protecting from UV radiation. What you’ll notice is zinc oxide protects you from the entire UV spectrum so it’s always our top ingredient choice. When choosing a sunscreen for yourself it’s great to reference the chart below to ensure you’re getting the max coverage and protection. Feel free to book mark it for your use when sunscreen shopping.

Sunscreen is widely offered in multiple forms from sprays to creams to powders, so how do you choose?

This comes down to personal choice depending on the area of your face or body and the activity involved in your day. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose:

Creams are the most popular form of sunscreen in the market today. They work well for most people and are an excellent choice if you have dry skin. They are usually best for the face, neck and chest.

Lotions are best used when you want to cover large areas because as they tend to be thinner and easier to apply. Lotions are generally not as emollient or ‘greasy’ as a cream.

Sprays have quickly made they’re way to the top of the list for many people. Sprays are easy to apply and especially easy to apply on children. Sprays however run with risk of not applying enough, so always ensure you are spraying a fair and even amount on all areas. We recommend not using on the face so as to not inhale the sunscreen.

PRO TIP try to spray in areas of blocked winds.

Gel sunscreens are not quite as popular, but should be because they work great in areas with hair making them an excellent choice for the chest and scalp.

Stick sunscreens were all the rage in the 90’s and were usually bright coloured. Although they are not as popular now they may be making a come back because they’re great for applying around eyes and lips and they’re good for applying a thick enough amount.

A few more important reminders…

It’s generally best to apply your sunscreen before going outdoors. Always use sunscreen on any area of face and body that is exposed to sunlight. UV light can pass through clouds and even some windows so it’s important to use your sunscreen all year round and make an effort to use it indoors if you spend a lot of time by windows. Avoid the sun during it’s peak hours from 10 am to 4 pm even in winter. Snow, water, sand and even concrete reflect light and can increase the risk of sunburn. When able try to wear sun protective clothing such as pants, shirts with long sleeves, hats and sunglasses.

We’re always here to help you with advice and how to choose the best products and ingredients for your individual needs. We have chosen a number of sunscreens that we like and think you’ll like as well. Visit our SUNSCREEN BAR and sample our sunscreens to see which is best for you.

PRO TIP when using a Sunscreen after using a topical and stable high quality Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) serum you amplify your protection sometimes 8-15 times!