What To Look for When Shopping for Sunscreen

Our skin is highly vulnerable to damage— especially the skin on our face. Not only is it more delicate, but it’s also the most consistently exposed to outside elements, whether outside, in a car, or even sitting near a window. With summer and stronger rays from the sun being here, we need to protect our skin from sunburns, premature signs of aging, and increased risks of skin cancer. You might be thinking, “it’s okay, I wear sunscreen.” While that’s great, are you wearing the right kind of sunscreen?


From the board-certified dermatologists and skin experts at Être Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Center, here’s an in-depth guide on what to look for when shopping for your sunscreen to ensure it’s giving you max protection.

The Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays

Understanding the difference between UVA and UVB when shopping for sunscreen is essential. Some sunscreens only protect one or the other, and only a few protect your skin from both.


UVA rays are longer and can penetrate deep into the skin, damaging cells, speeding up the aging process, and increasing the risk of certain types of cancer.


UVB rays are shorter, affecting the top layers of skin, causing sunburns, and increasing the risk of skin cancer.


It’s essential to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen as this will protect you again both UVA and UVB rays.

How Does Sunscreen Work?

There are two types of sunscreens: mineral (physical) and chemical.


Mineral sunscreens contain physical particles like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that reflect UV rays and prevent them from penetrating the skin.


Chemical sunscreens utilize chemicals like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octisalate, to name a few. These chemicals react with the UV rays, absorbing their energy before it can penetrate your skin.

Understanding SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF measures how long it takes for UVB rays to burn the skin with sunscreen compared to without sunscreen.


For example:

  • A sunscreen of SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, so it takes around 15 times longer for a sunburn to occur using this strength.
  • An SPF of 50 can block 98 percent of UVB rays, protecting skin from sunburn 50 times longer.
  • Applying an SPF of 30-50 is ideal for the face as it offer all-day protection when applied correctly.

Schedule A Skin Consultation at Être Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Center

If you’re just learning about sunscreen and what to look for when you’re shopping around, you may be experiencing some residual damage from not wearing the correct type of sunscreen or forgoing it all together for many years. Our skin experts at  Être Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Center can give you a full skin consultation and prescribe skin rejuvenation treatments like chemical peels, fractional skin resurfacing, or an IPL photo facial to help reverse years of sun damage. We are here to help revive your skin!

To learn more about how to reset your skin, call (504) 227-3873 or contact us through our website today!

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