Home Beauty The unconventional  guide to sunscreen: How to choose the right SPF to protect your skin 

The unconventional  guide to sunscreen: How to choose the right SPF to protect your skin 

The unconventional  guide to sunscreen: How to choose the right SPF to protect your skin 

Do you want to give any favor to your skin? If your answer is yes, then the best favor you can give to your skin is applying sunscreen every day. It is a part of daily skincare rituals, but mostly it is restricted to the summer skincare routine. It is not fair for your skin as it protects your skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer throughout the year. According to Skincare Foundation, the daily application of sunscreen can help reduce skin cancer risk by half. Despite its many benefits, only 15% of men and 30%  of women use it daily. Why? Because there are many misconceptions about sunscreen that make it hard to choose the right sunscreen. Buying sunscreen is not a scary thing instead, you know all the basic knowledge about sunscreen. To help you find your skin savior, we have created this unconventional guide to sunscreen. In this guide, we have covered all essential knowledge about sunscreen.

Scroll down to read this unconventional guide to sunscreen.


The unconventional guide to sunscreen

What is SPF?

SPF is an abbreviation of Sun protection factor. It means how much sunscreen can protect your skin against UVB. In other words, it’s the amount of solar energy needed to burn you if you’re wearing sunscreen compared to unprotected skin.

SPF  number indicates how much sunscreen can filter out UVB rays. There are different SPF numbers like SPF15, SPF 30, SPF 50, etc. 


SPF 15 filters out about 93% UVB, SPF 30 filters out approximately 97%, and SPF 50 filters around 98% UVB rays.

The minimum recommended SPF is 30. The higher  SPF number provides more protection to your skin from UVB radiation.

What is a broad spectrum?

Broad-spectrum means the ability of a sunscreen to protect your skin from two types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB). Sun emits these two UV rays, and they pass through the ozone layer to the earth.

These rays are harmful to our delicate skin. Always select a sunscreen that is labeled as broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum.

Here are the differences between UVA and UVB rays.


Around 95% of rays that enter the earth are UVA rays.UVA is the longest radiation, and it can even penetrate the glass.

That is why it is always recommended to wear sunscreen even indoors. As it has the longest wavelength, it can easily reach deeper layers of the skin.

They are responsible for premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin. 

Here is how you should memorize it ultaviloetAging.A in UVA means aging.


UVB causes skin redness, skin tan, and sunburn. They cannot penetrate through the glass, but they affect the outermost layer of skin. 

A little trick to memorize  UVB is UVburning.B in UVB stands for the burn.

Skin cancer is caused by both UVA rays and UVB rays.

Difference between physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?

The difference lies between active ingredients. But they have the same purpose of absorbing UV rays. 

Here is the difference between physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen.

Physical sunscreen

Physical sunscreen’s second name is a mineral sunscreen. Its main ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide make a protective layer on the skin that reflects sun rays from your skin.

Physical sunscreen does not absorb into your skin; instead, it sits on top of the skin. It starts to work as soon as you applied on your skin.

It is the most suitable option for those with sensitive skin, children, and pregnant women.

Most physical sunscreen leaves a white cast on the skin and generally has a thick formula that is difficult to apply. But now, companies are making physical sunscreen with tinted formula or with nanotechnology. These are easy to use and do not leave a white cast on the skin.

Best physical sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen 

Its main ingredients are oxybenzone, avobenzone,octinoxate, octocrylene, dioxybenzone, and homosalate. Chemical sunscreen does not sit on top of your skin; instead, it absorbs into your skin like lotions. 

Further, its ingredients react with UV radiations and convert them into heat. It is how they protect skin from sun damage.

They are easy to apply and do not leave a white cast. Chemical sunscreen is suitable for oily skin as it has a light formula.

Apply it 15-30 minutes before going outside the home.

They irritate sensitive and rosacea-prone skins.

Best chemical sunscreens

What should you read on the label of sunscreen?

  • Broad-spectrum
  • SPF 30 minimum
  • Choose water-resistant sunscreen if you are swimming. (Water Resistant  means the sunscreen  can protect your skin for 40 minutes effectively in water, and then you should reapply sunscreen)
  • Expiry date
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Noncomedogenic(that do not clog the pores)

What’s the recommended amount of sunscreen on your face?

If you are using cream sunblock, then a two pea-sized amount is needed to cover your face.

Those who use spray sunscreen should spray it until their faces are evenly covered.

Reapply your sunscreen after 2 hours.

Should you apply sunscreen daily?

Yes, you must apply sunscreen every day. There is no holiday for sunscreen. It is a misconception to apply SPF only in summer and outdoor. 

You must apply sunscreen in winter as UV rays are in the atmosphere. Apply sunscreen if you’re indoors, even when it’s raining.

There is no excuse for not wearing sunscreen.

How to choose sunscreen for different types of skin?

 Oily skin:

 Opt for lightweight gel sunscreen or spray sunscreen having a matte finish if you have oily skin.

One of the best oily skin sunscreens is La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 60

 Dry skin: 

It is preferred to use lotions or cream-type sunscreen. Avoid spray sunscreen because alcohol is used in spray sunscreen. Alcohol causes more dryness and irritation to the skin.

For dry skin, opt for Dr. Oracle A-thera Sunblock, SPF50+ PA+++. 

Sensitive skin

Physical sunscreen is the best option for sensitive skin. Make sure your physical sunscreen is fragrance and alcohol-free.

CeraVe and Cetaphil have the best sunscreens for sensitive sunscreen.

Acne-prone skin

Avoid cream and lotion sunscreen as they are greasy and clog pores of the skin.

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ is the best option for acne-prone skin.


Is there a difference between face sunblock and body sunblock?

Generally, you can use the same sunblock for your body and face. In the market, usually face sunblock bottle size is smaller than body sunblock bottle. You do not need to buy an extra sunblock bottle.

 Our face skin is more sensitive than the rest of our body skin. So opt for a sunblock that is lightweight and non-greasy. It will protect your skin from irritation and acne breakout.

What are the best sunscreens?

There are various options available, and it isn’t easy to choose the best one.

Here is the list of best sunscreens approved by dermatologists.

  1. EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46
  2. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 55
  3. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
  4. Cetaphil Pro Oil Control Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30(best for oily skin)
  5. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30(best for sensitive skin)
  6. Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42
  7.  Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50

 Can kids use sunscreen?

Yes, kids can use sunscreen. But be careful while applying, so it does not get into their nose, eyes, and mouth. As kids have sensitive skin so choose a good physical sunscreen for them.


Before purchasing sunscreen, read the ingredients list and expiry date of the SPF. Choose according to your skin requirements. If you want to protect your skin, apply sunscreen religiously. Consider it a meal for your skin. You should only apply sunscreen and skip all other products if you do not follow multiple skincare regimes.

In this sunscreen guide, we have covered each question related to sunscreens. We hope our unconventional guide to sunscreen will help you to choose the right sunscreen for your skin.

More to read: In What Order Do I Apply My Skin Care Products?