How to Choose the Right Sunscreen: Tips and Side Effects

How to Choose the Right Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a critical part of our daily skincare routine, offering essential protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, choosing the right sunscreen and understanding its potential side effects are crucial for maintaining healthy skin. Here we will talk about the process of selecting the best sunscreen for your needs and highlight five side effects you should be aware of.

How To Choose the Right Sunscreen

Selecting the appropriate sunscreen can be overwhelming with the myriad of options available. Here are some key factors to consider:

Calcium Deficiency Supplements

SPF (Sun Protection Factor)

SPF Level: The SPF number indicates how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. Dermatologists generally recommend using sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which blocks about 97% of UVB rays. Higher SPF levels offer slightly more protection but are not significantly more effective than SPF 30.

How to Use Glutathione for a Brighter and Glowing Skin

Broad-Spectrum Protection

Why Pineapple is the Perfect Summer Snack Top 8 Reasons

UVA and UVB Protection: Look for sunscreens labeled as “broad-spectrum,” meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots, while UVB rays can burn your skin. Both types can contribute to skin cancer.

Water Resistance

Activity Level: If you are swimming or sweating, choose a water-resistant sunscreen. These are labeled as either “water-resistant (40 minutes)” or “water-resistant (80 minutes),” indicating how long the protection lasts while you are in the water or perspiring.


Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and contain ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate. Physical (mineral) sunscreens, containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, reflect UV rays. Physical sunscreens are often recommended for sensitive skin as they are less likely to irritate.

Skin Type

Sensitive Skin: Choose a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens are a good option.

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin: Look for non-comedogenic, oil-free formulas.

Dry Skin: Opt for sunscreens with hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid.

Formulation Preference

Creams, Lotions, Gels, and Sprays: Choose a formulation that you find easy and comfortable to apply. Creams are often moisturizing and suitable for the face and dry skin areas, while gels are good for hairy areas like the scalp or male chest. Sprays offer convenience but should be applied generously and evenly.

5 Side Effects of Using Sunscreen You Should Be Aware Of

While sunscreen is generally safe and effective, it can sometimes cause side effects, especially if not used properly or if you have sensitive skin. Here are five potential side effects to be mindful of:

Skin Irritation and Allergies

Symptoms: Redness, itching, and rashes can occur if you are allergic to one or more ingredients in the sunscreen. This is more common with chemical sunscreens due to their active ingredients.

Prevention: Conduct a patch test before using a new sunscreen. Apply a small amount to your inner forearm and wait 24 hours to see if any reaction occurs. Opt for hypoallergenic and fragrance-free formulas if you have sensitive skin.

Acne Breakouts

Symptoms: Some sunscreens can clog pores and cause acne, particularly in those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Prevention: Use non-comedogenic and oil-free sunscreens to avoid clogging pores. Gel-based or water-based formulas are often better choices for oily skin.

Eye Stinging and Watering

Symptoms: Sunscreen can cause stinging, burning, or watering of the eyes, especially if applied too close to the eye area or if it runs into the eyes when you sweat.

Prevention: Be careful when applying sunscreen near the eyes. Use a stick sunscreen for the face to minimize the risk of the product getting into your eyes.

Hormonal Disruption

Concerns: Some chemical sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, are believed to have hormone-disrupting effects. They can mimic or interfere with hormones in the body, leading to potential long-term health effects.

Prevention: Choose sunscreens without oxybenzone and other controversial chemicals. Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are safer alternatives.

Environmental Impact

Concerns: Chemical sunscreens can wash off in the water, harming marine life and coral reefs. Ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate contribute to coral bleaching.

Prevention: Use reef-safe sunscreens, which do not contain harmful chemicals. Look for products labeled as “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe,” and consider mineral-based sunscreens.

Choosing the right sunscreen and being aware of its potential side effects are crucial steps in protecting your skin and overall health. Always select a sunscreen that suits your skin type and lifestyle needs. By understanding the ingredients and formulations, you can minimize the risk of side effects and enjoy the sun safely. Remember, sunscreen is just one part of sun protection—wear protective clothing, seek shade, and avoid peak sun hours to keep your skin healthy and radiant.