Posted by: Skin and Cancer Institute in Skin Cancer

You need the best sunscreen for every body part. That means what’s suitable for your arms and legs is not necessarily what’s best for your face and neck. So, which sunscreen do you put where? Stick with us as we explore the best sun protection for you–from head to toe, we’ve got you covered!

The Best Facial Sunscreen

Let’s face it; your facial skin is the most visible and delicate on your entire body. So it makes sense that you’d want to find the best sunscreen for your face, which makes up about one square foot of skin, by the way.

Choose Non-Comedogenic Sunscreen

You’ll want protection without pore-clogging ingredients that could make acne flare. So, look for NON-COMEDOGENIC products. This means they won’t plug your pores.

Get Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Your face needs broad-spectrum sunscreen. It protects your facial skin against both UVA and UVB rays. Not all facial sunscreen falls into this category, so you’ll want to make sure you see “BROAD SPECTRUM” written on the container.

The Best Facial SPF is 30+

The skin on your face needs a minimum SPF of 30. Sun protection factor measures how much sun exposure it takes to burn your skin with sunscreen versus without sunscreen.

Here’s another way to see it. SPF is about the INTENSITY of sun that hits your skin, not about how many minutes of sun you get.

Higher SPF = More Sunburn Protection

An article by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) called “Sun Protection Factor (SPF)” explains it this way:

“The following exposures may result in the same amount of solar energy:

  • One hour at 9:00 a.m.
  • Fifteen minutes at 1:00 p.m.

Generally, it takes less time to be exposed to the same amount of solar energy at midday compared to early morning or late evening because the sun is more intense at midday relative to the other times.”

To Mineral, or to Chemical? That is The Question

Now that you know the best sunscreen for your face is a non-comedogenic one, is broad-spectrum, and SPF 30 or higher, there’s only one question left to answer. And that question is this: does your face need a physical or chemical sunscreen, and what’s the difference, anyway?

The Difference Between Physical And Chemical Sunscreen

Physical sunscreens contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients reflect the sun’s rays with a physical barrier.

Chemical sunscreens, by contrast, absorb the sun’s rays and then release them through the skin in the form of heat.

Choose a Physical (Mineral) Sunscreen For Your Face

Mineral sunscreen is the way to go, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne, because mineral sunscreens tend to be non-pore-clogging.

Your Body Needs Sunscreen Protection

Let’s move on to the rest of your body–which makes up about 20 square feet of skin! This is a lot of surface area to cover with sunscreen, which is why dermatologists recommend you rub the equivalent of a shot glass full of sunscreen into your skin.

Where to Rub in Sunscreen

You’ll want to pay special attention to rubbing sunscreen on the parts of your body that are exposed to the sun. If you’re in a bathing suit, you’ll need protection everywhere. This includes your:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Torso
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Calves
  • Ankles
  • Feet

What Brand of Sunscreen Should I Use On My Body?

The best sunscreen for your body is, well, the one you’ll use. Seriously. So, feel free to focus on sunscreen features (like broad-spectrum and SPF) instead of stressing about the brand.

Have Fun

This is also the time to have a little bit of fun. So, assuming the sunscreen you’re considering meets all of the requirements for broad spectrum and SPF, then you get to move on to the fun things . . .

Do you find the look of the bottle attractive and ergonomic? How about the smell? Do you like it? If you can sample it, consider how it looks and feels on your skin. If it’s a sunscreen you can get excited about and use, then it’s the best sunscreen for you.

Do you have additional questions about sunscreen? Your annual skin check-up is a great opportunity to ask them as you’ll be face to face with your dermatologist.

Are you ready to schedule your appointment? Please call us at the Skin and Cancer Institute today: 888-993-3761.