Makeup and Beauty Blog’s Sunscreen 101 – What you need to know before you buy sunscreen

Published in: Beauty Tips, News, Skin Care

Here’s my mental run through before I head to the beach: Flip-flops? Check. Cute bikini? Check. Cowboy hat? Check. Sunscreen? CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

While many people associate sunscreen as something that you only use during the summer months, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day of the year. I am proud to say that I’m a year-round sunscreen girl, a sunscreen connoisseur of sorts!


Because I use so much sunscreen and go through a tube fairly quickly, I buy drugstore brands to keep the cost down. Within the past few months I’ve noticed that several of my favorite brands are being reformulated, like Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunblock which now contains something called “Helioplex,” and Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, which contains an “Active Photobarrier Complex.”

Last year, the U.S. FDA approved Anthelios SX, an over-the-counter sunscreen ingredient that contains a UVA filter called ecamsule. Ecamsule, a potent UVA blocking compound, has been sold in sunscreen products in Canada and Europe since 1993.

With all of the choices out there, sometimes deciding on what sunscreen you need can be overwhelming. Choosing a sunscreen based on a yummy coconut scent often isn’t enough … you’ve got to read labels and know how to properly apply it, too. Never fear, beauties! Makeup and Beauty Blog is here to help break it down for you with Makeup and Beauty Blog’s SUNSCREEN 101!

What’s the deal with UVA and UVB rays?

Both UVA and UVB rays can be damaging, so an ideal sunscreen should provide protection from both types of radiation. However, the current SPF (sun protection factor) rates only the degree of protection from UVB rays. There’s currently no rating system that measures the degree of UVA exposure.

What do you need to look for when purchasing sunscreen?

Most experts recommend reading the list of ingredients to look for two things. The first is to see if it has broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) coverage. The second is to see if the broad-spectrum sunscreen contains avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. These ingredients provide significant UVA protection.

What formulation should you choose?
There are lots of sunscreen options to choose from: lotions, creams, gels, sticks, spray ons – it really depends on your skin type and what you prefer. I like sunscreens that don’t make me feel sticky or greasy, so I like dry-touch formulas for my neck, legs, feet, torso, arms and hands. I like oil-free formulations for my face. For my back, I use sprays to get to those hard to reach areas.

Water resistant versus waterproof
I use water-resistant sunscreen formulas for every day use, but when I’m at the beach I make sure to use a waterproof formula. Waterproof formulas protect you for 80 minutes in the water, while water-resistant sunscreens retain their protective ability for at least 40 minutes in the water. Unless you want to haul your cookies in and out of the ocean or the pool every 40 minutes (and who wants to do that?) get thee some waterproof!

One more important thing …

Don’t be chintzy with your sunscreen! The American Academy of Dermatology suggests using at least one ounce (about a shot glass full) of sunscreen on exposed skin every day! And don’t be shy about putting more on during the course of the day. Experts say frequent reapplication is one of the keys to sun protection.

The American Academy of Dermatology Seal of Recognition
It can be overwhelming to choose a sunscreen because of all choices available. To help consumers choose products that provide the sun protection recommended by dermatologists, the American Academy of Dermatology has started a program called the “AAD Seal of Recognition.” This is a new program, and currently there are only two products with the AAD Seal of Recognition label – Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 55 and Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock SPF 55. You can find them at your favorite drug store.


And because I like any opportunity to accessorize, I always wear my rockin’ straw cowboy hat to the beach to keep sun off my face when I’m chillin’ on the beach.

This weekend was pretty mellow for me. I worked out, ran outside, and went for long walks around the neighborhood with the hubby and dreamt of buying a house. I was going to go surfing with my gal pal at Linda Mar beach because I’ve been really desperate to get in the water. It didn’t happen because 1.) I overslept and 2.) as much as I try I can’t fool/trick/imagine myself into warmth with the water up here.

How was your weekend? Tell me all about it …

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 3 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Erin says:

    How do you wear sunscreen every day without it looking greasy and smelling like that weird sunscreen smell? I would like to wear it daily but I don’t want to smell like a beach. Tips?

    • Erin, I use a Shiseido sunscreen lotion that’s really high in SPF. I also hate the greasy feeling of sunblock and the smell, so I was really surprised and pleased by the Shiseido one. It doesn’t feel greasy and it won’t leave your face shiny (if you get the lotion one, not the cream). Also, to me it has a floral scent instead of the typical sunscreen smell.

      Since discovering this (just this summer, actually), I probably won’t use anything else unless I find something less expensive (because this is damn pricey!) and that works just as well.
      Swatch And Learn recently posted … Nail Art Tutorial: Candy Corn Nails

  2. PragmaticMom says:

    That was a really informative post on sunscreen, thanks! I also wanted to share some inexpensive sunscreen products that my derm recommends:

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