How to Choose the Best Sunscreen for Your Needs

Your Guide to buying the best Sunscreen


This Sunscreen buying guide is designed to help you find the best protection for your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. We will provide you with information on the different types of sunscreens, their ingredients, the benefits they provide, and how to choose the best sunscreen for your individual needs. We'll also provide tips on how to apply sunscreen correctly and safely, so you can enjoy your time in the sun without worrying about sunburn or skin damage.

Key features

  1. SPF Rating: This indicates the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays, which cause sunburns. Look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
  2. UVA Protection: This indicates the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVA rays, which can cause skin cancer and premature aging. Look for a sunscreen that offers "broad spectrum" UVA protection.
  3. Water Resistance: Water resistant sunscreens are effective for up to 40 minutes when swimming or sweating. Look for a sunscreen labeled "water resistant" or "very water resistant".
  4. Active Ingredients: Look for sunscreens that contain only active ingredients approved by the FDA, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  5. Application: Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed parts of the body before going outdoors. Reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.
  6. Type: Sunscreens come in various types, such as lotions, sprays, gels, and sticks. Choose the type that best suits your needs.
  7. Allergies: If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, look for sunscreens that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin and are hypoallergenic.

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Important considerations


  • Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection: Sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB radiation, which can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.
  • Water Resistance: Sunscreen that can withstand water for extended periods of time, allowing you to stay in the water longer without having to reapply.
  • Non-Greasy: Sunscreen that is not greasy or oily, making it easier to apply and more comfortable to wear.
  • Non-Comedogenic: Sunscreen that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores or cause breakouts.
  • Hypoallergenic: Sunscreen that is formulated for those with sensitive skin, reducing the chance of an allergic reaction.
  • Moisture Barrier: Sunscreen that helps to lock in moisture and protect skin from drying out.


  • Skin Irritation/Allergies - Some people may experience skin irritation and allergic reactions when using sunscreen, such as redness, itching, and burning.
  • Cost - Sunscreen is often expensive and can add up quickly, especially if you are using it regularly.
  • Ingredient Safety - Some sunscreens contain ingredients that may be harmful to health if used over a long period of time.
  • Application - Sunscreen often needs to be applied very carefully and consistently in order to be effective. It can be difficult to ensure full coverage, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Water Resistance - Most sunscreens are not designed to hold up to long periods of swimming or sweating, meaning they may need to be reapplied more frequently.

Best alternatives

  1. Broad-Spectrum Hat - A broad-spectrum hat guards against UV rays from the sun and offers additional protection from other environmental pollutants.
  2. Long-sleeved Shirt - A long-sleeved shirt can block up to 70 percent of the sun's rays and provide a breathable layer of coverage.
  3. Sunglasses - Sunglasses offer protection from UV radiation, reduce glare, and protect your eyes from damage from the sun.
  4. Sun-protective Clothing - Sun-protective clothing is designed with a high UPF rating, meaning it can block up to 97 percent of the sun's UV rays.
  5. Sunscreen Stick - A sunscreen stick is an alternative to traditional sunscreen lotion, offering a mess-free application and portability.
  6. Sunscreen Spray - Sunscreen spray is simple to apply, and helps provide an even coverage of sunscreen across the skin.

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Common questions

  1. What types of sunscreen are there? There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical (organic) and physical (inorganic). Chemical sunscreen works by absorbing UV radiation and preventing it from reaching the skin. Physical sunscreen contains active ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that reflect UV radiation away from the skin.
  2. What SPF should I use? The SPF (sun protection factor) is a measure of the sunscreen's ability to protect your skin from UV rays. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection. For everyday use, a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is recommended. For extended outdoor activities (such as swimming or gardening), an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.
  3. What other factors should I consider when selecting sunscreen? When selecting sunscreen, you should consider the type of sunscreen (chemical or physical), the SPF level, the type of skin you have (dry, oily, or combination), and whether you are looking for a waterproof or water-resistant formula. Additionally, look for sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection and are free of synthetic fragrances and other potential allergens.
  4. How often should I reapply sunscreen? Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating heavily. It is also important to remember to apply sunscreen even on cloudy days and in the winter months, as UV radiation can still penetrate through the clouds and snow.


In the United States, the FDA recommends wearing sunscreen on your eyes as well as your skin. In 2018, researchers from the University of Arizona found that a common ingredient in sunscreen, avobenzone, may help protect eyes from damage caused by UV radiation. They suggested that wearing sunglasses with sunscreen already applied to the lenses could be a good way to help protect eyes from the sun's UV rays. Source

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.