Tips and advice for finding the best sun protection

There are many competing resources on finding the best sunscreen. This is partly due to the fact that there are so many sunscreens available for purchase. Many of them advertise high sun protection factors (SPF) or they claim to be water proof or water resistant. But it can be hard to sort through all of the marketing and hone in on what's really important. In this article, I will explain what you should look for when picking a sunscreen. 

The difference between natural and chemical sunscreens 

There are two fundamental types of sunscreen available: natural and chemical. Natural sunscreens work by forming a physical barrier on the skin that attempts to stop the sun's rays from ever penetrating and damaging your skin. 

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, actually penetrate the skin. They are absorbed and they function by having chemical compounds that attempt to scatter the UVA and UVB rays so that they cannot do any damage.

Chemical sunscreens have come under scrutiny in recent years because many of the active ingredients have been shown to cause allergic reactions and in some cases, there is evidence that consistent use of chemical sunscreens may cause more long term health consequences. 

Considering that many natural sunscreens have advanced and no longer produce a thick white paste that is impossible to rub in, I would recommend picking up a natural sunscreen as opposed to a chemical one.

Picking the right SPF

Many people assume that you should buy the highest possible SPF. I mean, a higher number must be better, right? This is true to an extent, but the number is misleading as almost 98% of UVA and UVB rays are blocked at an SPF of 30. Far more important than the SPF is how often you apply your sunscreen and whether or not you are diligent in re-applying after being in the water or sweating profusely. 

Picking the right sunscreen will help protect you from sun damage, but there are many other steps you should be taking as well. This would include avoiding direct sunlight during the peak of the day and wearing a hat as well as sunglasses. Buying a powerful sunscreen will not provide more protection than a hat would nor will there ever be anything you can put on your skin that will be more effective than sitting in the shade. Buy a decent sunscreen, but also keep these other points in mind on your next trip to the beach.