Now that summer season is here, it’s time to stock up on sunscreen. With so many different options available, it’s daunting to make the right choices. The following guidelines can help you choose wisely.

Mineral Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens are mainly comprised of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These reflect UV light off the skin’s surface, while chemical ones (such as oxybenzone, octinoxate and avobenzone) change UV light into heat energy in order not to damage the skin. Traditional mineral sunscreens are made from ground minerals. These may be more natural and gentle on the skin but can sometimes leave a white film. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens spread more easily and leave less of a film.

Sunscreen for Face or Body?

You don’t necessarily need to buy both types of sunscreen. However, facial sunscreens usually do not block pores. If you’re concerned about blemishes, you may want to opt for a facial sunscreen as well. Body sunscreens are generally cheaper and tend to come in larger-size bottles in order to cover more skin.

Sensitive Skin

If your skin gets irritated easily, find a formula that has zinc oxide because it helps calm the skin. This ingredient is even used in diaper rash creams for babies, since it’s also fragrance free, which prevents irritation.

Spray vs. Lotion

When applied correctly, spray and lotion formulas should perform the same. However, when using spray, it’s harder to apply evenly or the right amount. First spritz it, and then rub into the skin. The average adult needs about 1 ounce of lotion for the body (which is about the size of a shot glass). Frequent application is also necessary to remain effective.

Options for Dark Skin

If you have dark skin, don’t opt for sunscreens with high levels of zinc oxide, which can make your skin look chalky. Instead, choose a translucent formula like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face and Body Stick.

Indoors Vs. Outdoors

If you will be outdoors for a while, or in the water, you will need to reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes. If you spend most of the day indoors, a single morning application is usually sufficient.

Higher SPF Vs. Lower SPF

For prolonged sun exposure, you’re best off using higher SPFs, which protect for longer periods of time.

Expiration Dates

Sunscreens are over-the-counter drugs and by law must include an expiration date on the package. It’s important to pay attention to those dates because the product was tested to support its effectiveness up to that date. It has not been proven whether it will work past the expiration date.

Facial Products - Order of Application

If you wear foundation daily, first opt for a primer-like “face sunscreen” with an SPF of at least 30. These types of products contain silica or other ingredients that help products layer on smoothly.

Scalp Protection

When in the sun, be sure to keep your head covered with a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap. There are also hair-protection products with UV filters. Apply a mineral sunscreen powder on your part or other exposed areas.

Fake Tan

For an instant tan that’s fast drying and non-streaking, opt for a natural-looking bronze like Avene Moisturizing Self-Tanning Silky Gel, which does not have a chemical smell. If you want a glow that builds up naturally, try Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer. If you will be outdoors, make sure to apply sunscreen as well. Don’t assume the fake tanner automatically contains sunscreen.

 An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. So enjoy the carefree summer season and be sure to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful and damaging rays.

By Risselle Naimark

Risselle Naimark is a Professional Freelance Makeup Artist and Skincare Consultant. She carries an extensive line of personalized skincare, cosmetics, and anti-aging products. Risselle is also available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, makeup lessons, and all of your beauty needs. She can be reached at 718 263-5517.