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How To Pick the Right Sunscreen

Woman with beautiful skin applying sunscreen We don’t often think of it this way, but sunscreen is a skincare product. And like any other skincare product, you should be mindful about what you choose to use on your skin. Not all sunscreen is created equal. But with so many choices, how do you know which one is right for you and your skin?

General guidelines

Everyone should consider the following factors when searching for which sunscreen best suits their skin and lifestyle.


Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, is a common consideration when choosing a sunscreen, and rightfully so. It is a good idea to choose a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15, but ideally 30 or above. Sunscreen with an SPF under 15 may not protect against all of the harmful effects of the sun, although it may offer some protection against sunburn. SPF 30 sunscreen blocks 97% of the sun’s UVB rays (as opposed to 15, which only blocks 93%). The margins decrease from there, although no amount of SPF protects 100%.

Broad Spectrum

Choosing a broad spectrum sunscreen is essential. You may be aware that there are more than one type of UV (ultraviolet) ray. When referring to sunscreen and the damaging effects of sun exposure, we talk about UVA and UVB rays, and neither are good. UVB rays are the type responsible for causing sunburn. They also are the type of UV rays that cause most skin cancers. These rays are dangerous to your skin, and all sunscreens protect against them. The SPF in sunscreen indicates the percentage of UVB rays that the product blocks. UVA rays are also damaging to the skin. In fact, UVA rays are more abundant than UVB rays in sunlight and can penetrate deeper into the skin. Like UVB rays, UVA rays are a contributor to skin cancer. In addition, they can cause premature aging, sun spots, and wrinkles. For this reason, you want to choose a sunscreen that states it is “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVB and UVA rays.

Water Resistance

While it may not be necessary for your day-to-day use, if you are going to be spending time in the water or sweating a lot outdoors, water-resistant sunscreen is a good option. No sunscreen is 100% waterproof or sweatproof, and keep in mind that you may rub it off with your towel. Regardless of whether you are using a water-resistant sunscreen or not, make sure to reapply throughout the day.

Sunscreen Per Skin Type

In simplified terms, sunscreens work by either creating a physical barrier that deflects the sun’s rays or a chemical barrier that absorbs them.

Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, some chemical sunscreens might be irritating. Sunscreens that work by physically blocking the sun (sometimes called mineral sunscreens) use zinc oxide and can be more gentle on sensitive skin. You can also opt for a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin.

Dry Skin

Those with dry skin can opt for a sunscreen with additional components to hydrate and moisturize the skin. These products do double duty by not only protecting from the sun’s damaging rays but also benefiting the skin directly at the same time.

Recent Treatments

If you have recently undergone skin treatments such as anti-aging or acne treatments, you should be extra careful about sun exposure. Talk to your treatment provider about your specific guidelines. They may recommend using a higher SPF, avoiding the sun in the middle of the day, and covering up with a  physical barrier like clothing and a hat.

Product lines at VLI


SkinCeuticals takes a comprehensive approach that aims to correct past damage, protect healthy skin, and prevent future damage. SkinCeuticals products include broad spectrum sunscreens that utilize transparent zinc oxide to get the benefits of a mineral sunscreen without the white tint found in many mineral sunscreens.

ZO Skin Health

ZO Skin Health offers medical-grade skin care for everyday use. ZO is a 3 step approach to skincare using science to customize a skin care plan that is right for your unique needs and concerns. ZO Skin Health includes advanced sun protection to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

Get Help

By asking a professional for assistance with choosing a product, you will be able to find a sunscreen you love using that’s best suited to your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you to protect and pamper your skin.
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