Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Although we didn’t care for it when we were younger, it is safe to say that by now we all know the importance of sunscreen. It’s the one essential product that allows us to enjoy those days at the beach or by the pool without having to suffer the consequence of a sunburn. However, it’s one thing to know that you need to use sunscreen, but for most of us, that’s pretty much all we know (guilty).We researched everything from the sun’s UV rays to the true meaning of SPF so that you can get educated on the best sun-protecting defenses around. Here’s everything you need to know about sunscreen so you can enjoy the summer months and keep your skin looking fresh!  


UVA vs. UVB Rays

Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays are the sun rays we typically think of when we think about protecting our skin. They are the ones responsible for our nasty sunburns and have the potential to cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays have the ability to penetrate through things like window glass, clouds, clothes, and other things you think might otherwise protect you from the sun.  This means that even on the cloudiest days, those rays are getting through to your skin. UVA rays can also cause skin cancer, but are more widely known for their effect on skin in terms of darkening, aging, and wrinkling. That’s because these rays go deeper into the skin as opposed to just hitting the surface. Something that many sunscreen users don’t know is that in order to get protection from both types of UV rays, you need to use a sunscreen that says “broad (or “full”)spectrum” on the bottle.


SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF number stands for the theoretical amount of time you can stay in the sun with sunscreen, as opposed to without. For example, an SPF of 15 means that you can stay in the sun 15 times longer than you normally could without sunscreen. An SPF of 30 means you could stay out for 30 times as long, so on and so forth. When it comes to how much protection from the sun you’re actually getting, scientists say that an SPF of 15 filters 93% of UVB rays, an SPF of 30 filters about 97%, and an SPF of 50 filters 98%. Since there is only a 1% difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50, most doctors recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 because it’s easier to find and more reasonably priced for basically the same amount of protection. There isn’t any product that actually offers 100% protection. In fact, it is illegal in some places for sunscreens to have an SPF higher than 50 on the bottle because anything higher really doesn’t make a difference.

Face vs. Body

Is it okay to wear the same sunscreen on your face as you do on your body?  The answer to this question is that it’s best not to.  Your face is exposed to all of the sun’s elements throughout the entire day.  On top of that, it is also home to the most delicate skin on your body.  For these reasons, face sunscreens are made to provide the most protection in the most sensitive way.  Face sunscreens won’t irritate your face or make you break out and are super comfortable to wear.  Despite its sensitive qualities, however, face sunscreen is still one of the strongest and greatest protectants against the sun.  It is made to be well-absorbed and highly effective.  Sunscreen for your body is made for larger, less sensitive areas, making it not as practical for use on your face.  If you want extra protection on your body, you may use face sunscreen, but as it is usually more expensive and comes in a smaller container (generally), you might not want to.

Our Recommendations

Sun Bum


This sunscreen will not only protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, but it will nourish your skin with Vitamin E as well. It is moisturizing and more water-resistant than other similar sunscreens.

Buy it on Amazon for $15.

Neutrogena Beach Defense


This lightweight sunscreen is great at absorbing into your skin, so you won’t even notice it’s there! It is oil and PABA free, making it good for your skin. It is broad-spectrum and water-resistant, as well.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face Lotion


This sunscreen is broad-spectrum, water-resistant and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as the best sunscreen to wear for daily use. Additionally, it won’t clog your pores since it is oil- and grease-free.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.


Frequent sunscreen application is the only way to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. That’s why it’s vital to know all the facts about sunscreen before you choose what kind to use. Make sure you always buy broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, but no higher than 50. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours so that it can remain effective throughout the day. With these tips in check, you’ll be able to get through the summer (and year) sunburn-free!