Your Guide To Choosing The Right Sunscreen

Your Guide To Choosing The Right Sunscreen

Choosing the right sunscreen for yourself can feel daunting, but we promise, it's not as complicated as it seems! There are a few key factors to consider and some myths to be aware of in helping you find your new favorite sunscreen or, falling back in love with the one you’ve been using for years!

Mineral or Chemical? What’s the difference?

When you think of mineral sunscreens you probably picture a lifeguard from a movie with bright white cream over their nose…. Right!? Right idea, but thankfully sunscreens have come a long way since that white gloopy mess. Mineral sunscreens use most commonly Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to create a physical barrier between you and the sun. For people with really sensitive skin this may be your best, as some people with sensitive skin can feel a warmth or tingling sensation with chemical sunscreens. If this is something you’ve experienced before, it doesn’t mean you get to skin your sun protection altogether, just time to try something using a mineral component instead. A nice benefit of using a mineral sunscreen is that there’s no wait time between you and the sun, just apply and go!

We love Coola Matte Finish in Cucumber and E-Cream by Skin Essence

The word chemical can get a bad wrap, but all sunscreens carried by Sugarmoon are selected for both their efficacy and stay within our mission to be good for our bodies and for the earth, so you’ll find no harmful additives on our shelves. Many people love the feeling of a chemical component sunscreen because they can feel lighter and are available in more options like sprayable products. These can come in handy when you’re on the go. With this type of sunscreen you'll want to wait about 30 minutes before going out into the sun because it needs a bit of time to soak in.

We love Coola Spray in Citrus Mimosa and Pina Colada

How often should I apply and reapply, and how much do I use?

Just like brushing your teeth or washing your face, applying sunscreen is something that should be done daily, even through the winter months. While you’re driving, walking to the subway or walking your dog, you’re in more sun than you realize and sun damage can occur without the bright red telltale burn we all fear. 

The SPF posted on your sunscreen is meant to give you an idea of how often to reapply. Essentially, if you know on a high UV day you’d typically be ok for 2 or 3 minutes before getting a burn, wearing an spf 30 will give you 30 times as long, so you would reapply after about an hour. If you can last 5 minutes, reapply after 2 hours. Generally most dermatologists and estheticians suggest not going longer than 2 hours in the sun without reapplying to be safe. 

You also need to make sure you’re using enough! An average person should apply about 1 oz of sunscreen at a time when out in the sun, and be doing that every few hours. This means that your 8 oz bottle of sunscreen will cover you and your friend for one full day out in the sun! When less is applied you’re no longer getting the SPF listed on your bottle, you may be getting SPF 8 or 14 instead of 30 when you’re being stingy with it. This is one of the biggest factors in developing sunburns, so don’t skimp here people!


Check your expiry date!

Most sunscreens will show you either an expiry date, or a symbol of an opened jar with a number beside it like 12m. This means that once your product is open its good for 12 months, then time to replace it. Time to throw away your sunscreens that have been sitting in the medicine cabinet for the past few years and replace with something that will be as effective as the label claims.

How to select your SPF

While you can find sunscreens with an SPF up to 100, there have been many studies done that show that anything higher than an SPF 50 is not actually offering additional protection. Depending on your needs, we suggest you choose sunscreens with an SPF 30 which is perfect for the average person, but anything below 25 will need to be reapplied so often you’ll run through your bottle in no time at all. 

Who should wear sunscreen?

EVERYONE!!! No matter what your skin type, complexion or age, you should be wearing sunscreen daily. Many baby SPF products are available and should absolutely be worn, but for babies and children we also suggest covering skin with sleeves, pants and hats to keep that young skin safe. Although people with darker complexions may not show sun damage as easily or burn as quickly its always possible to develop skin cancer, so always sunscreen up!

For babies, we love Coola Baby Mineral SPF 50, and Coola Baby Mineral Sunscreen Stick

Need one more reason?

They say that around 90% of visible aging comes from factors we can control and the number 1 factor is sun damage. Don’t want anyone to correctly guess your age? Wear your sunscreen!!

May 14, 2024 — Jamie Nelson