What Are The Most Important Factors When Selecting Sunscreen?

woman in hat applying sunscreen to shoulderAs warm spring weather arrives early in the area, warmer summer weather is just around the corner. It’s time to restock the sunscreen supply shelf. While year-round sunscreen application is important, there are factors to pay attention to when the days are longer and the sun’s rays get stronger.

When choosing a sunscreen, pay attention to two items: The product’s SPF and whether or not it is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.


Two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays harm the skin: UVA rays prematurely age the skin, causing wrinkles. UVB rays burn the skin. Too much exposure to both can cause skin cancer. Therefore, it’s important to choose a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from all UV rays.


Another acronym to pay attention to is SPF, or sun protection factor, which measures how well a product protects against UVB rays (UVA protection is not rated). When applied correctly, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 provides slightly more protection from UVB rays than a sunscreen that has an SPF of 15.

The Key Components to Effective Sunscreen

Regardless of a sunscreen’s SPF or whether it is broad-spectrum, the factor that make a sunscreen most effective has everything to do with the person applying the sunblock: Correct application.

  • Apply generous amounts of sunscreen 15 minutes prior to going in the sun.
  • Use sunscreen on all skin surfaces that are exposed to the sun. Don’t forget ears, lips, tops of the feet and your scalp if it is exposed.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after heavy sweating or being in water (regardless of whether or not a sunscreen is water resistant).
  • Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days (UV light passes through clouds).

Talk to an associate about the sunscreen products available exclusively in our office. We can make recommendations about sunscreen options based on your particular skin type or condition.