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The Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen

Summer is here, and that means it’s time to talk about sunscreen! With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one and know how to use it effectively. Let’s break down the different types of sunscreen and provide tips on how to use them for maximum sun protection.


Types of Sunscreen

Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate. These ingredients absorb UV radiation, converting it into heat and then releasing it from the skin. Chemical sunscreens are often preferred for their lightweight and non-greasy feel.

Physical Sunscreens: Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, contain active mineral ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting UV rays away. Physical sunscreens are often recommended for sensitive skin as they are less likely to cause irritation.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

When selecting a sunscreen, consider the following factors:

  • SPF Level: SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 for daily use, and SPF 50 or higher for extended outdoor activities.
  • Broad-Spectrum Protection: Ensure your sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Water Resistance: If you’re swimming or sweating, opt for a water-resistant sunscreen to ensure continued protection.

How to Use Sunscreen Effectively

  1. Apply Generously: Most people don’t use enough sunscreen. You need about one ounce (a shot glass full) to cover your entire body. Don’t forget often-missed spots like your ears, neck, and the tops of your feet.
  2. Apply Early: Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside to allow it to absorb and take effect.
  3. Reapply Regularly: Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating. Water-resistant sunscreens still need to be reapplied after 40 to 80 minutes of water exposure.
  4. Daily Use: Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach! Apply it every day, even on cloudy days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage.


Sunscreen Myths Debunked

  • Myth: “I don’t need sunscreen if I’m indoors all day.” False. UVA rays can penetrate windows, so apply sunscreen even if you’re inside.
  • Myth: “Darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen.” False. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, needs sunscreen to protect against skin damage and skin cancer.



Choosing and using the right sunscreen can make a significant difference in protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Whether you prefer chemical or physical sunscreens, make sure to use them correctly and consistently. And for an extra boost in finding the best sunscreen deals, try Capital One Shopping. This free browser extension helps you discover the lowest prices and apply available coupon codes automatically. Stay protected and happy sunbathing!