Sunscreens come in many formulations and delivery methods, and it can take trial and error to find the one you like best. Whether it’s a sport spray, an easy-to-use stick or a rich moisturizer with anti-aging ingredients, the best sunscreen is the one you will use every day.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. The number tells you how long the sun’s UVB rays would take to redden your skin when using a particular sunscreen compared with the amount of time without sunscreen. So if you use an SPF 15 product exactly as directed (applied generously and evenly, and reapplied after two hours or after sweating or swimming), it would take you 15 times longer to burn than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.
Broad spectrum. The words “broad spectrum” on a label indicate that the sunscreen contains ingredients that effectively protect against UVA rays as well as UVB.
Water resistance. While sunscreens can’t claim to be waterproof, they can be labeled water resistant for either 40 or 80 minutes. Yes, you can burn even when you’re in the water, so reapplying is key!
Sensitive skin. Products containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, sometimes referred to as mineral or physical formulas, may be less likely to cause skin irritation in people who have sensitive skin.
The pitfall: Most people don’t apply sunscreen exactly as directed. They may not apply it liberally enough, might miss spots and may forget to reapply regularly. Slather it on!