Are You Using Sunscreen The Right Way?

Stay safe in the sun. Find out the right way to use sun protection and how you can fix any mistakes you’re making with your SPF.

right way to wear sunscreen, a flat lay of sunscreen bottlesphoto credit: Georffrey Ross

There’s a right way to wear sunscreen, and there’s a wrong way

Don’t skimp. When it comes to the sun protection factor (SPF), the right way to wear sunscreen is to go big! In recent years, the expert-advised minimum SPF has shot from 15 up to 30.

“SPF 30 is good, but if you’re exposed to significant sunshine, you should really have more on than that,” says Dr. Martin Josso, director of L’Oréal Suncare. Whether you prefer the glide of a stick, the creaminess of a lotion or the ease of a spray, the best sunscreen for you is one that you’re actually going to use. It should also boast broad-spectrum protection, meaning that it guards skin against UVB rays (responsible for sunburns) and UVA rays (the culprit behind premature aging and skin cancer).

Be generous

Even the heftiest SPF can’t do its job if applied poorly. “If SPF is measured according to the standard procedure, an SPF 30 will provide 30 times more protection [from sun] than bare skin,” says Dr. Josso, “but in practice, we know that’s not the case. People use a lot less than the amount used in standardized testing, which is two millimetres per square centimetre. Usage per person varies, but the average is less than half.”

Do sweat it

Heading to the pool? Will your workout be extra sweaty? You’ll need sun protection that goes with the flow. “We found that if you apply regular sunscreen to skin that is wet, either due to water or perspiration, its efficacy will decrease dramatically,” says Dr. Josso. Look for products that are targeted at an active lifestyle.

Dr. Josso helped develop Vichy Idéal Capital Soleil Sport, an innovative formula that can easily be applied to wet or dry skin and – hooray! – won’t leave telltale white streaks behind. For all sun care, reapplying every two hours is a smart move for maximum efficacy.

Ingrie’s Sunscreen Picks

And the last tip for the right way to wear sunscreen: Use a sunscreen that you’ll like enough to keep using. I’ve rounded the best sunscreens on the market right now that you’ll love too!

Best Stick Sunscreen:

Mychelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Clear Stick SPF 50, $17 at

Best Spray Sunscreen:

Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Spray SPF 50+, $45 at Sheseido retailers.

Best Mineral Sunscreen:

Bioderma Photoderm Mineral Compact SPF 50+ in Golden, $30 at Bioderma retailers.

Best Face Sunscreen:

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $20 at mass retailers and drug stores.

Best Sport Sunscreen:

Vichy Idéal Soleil Sport SPF 60, $30 at mass retailers and drug stores.

Best Lip Sunscreen:

EPS Active Protection Lip Balm in Lemon Twist SPF 15, $4 at mass retailers and drug stores.

Best Luxe Sunscreen:

Clé de Peau Beauté UV Protective Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, $160 at Holt Renfrew stores.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada