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Your Summer Guide to Sunscreen

What is the number one tip dermatologists recommend for healthy skin?


So, here for summer 2024 is your updated guide!

Two girls floating in a pool

In this blog, I will explain the importance of sunscreen and how to pick a sunscreen. Sunscreen can help prevent skin cancer as well as aging (wrinkling, brown spots, etc.) of the skin. 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US and the benefits of sunscreen outweigh potential risks from their ingredients. You can use less sunscreen if you use sun protective clothing, seek the shade, and wear a hat and sunglasses.  

Let’s start with some basic background information about sunscreen.

Types of Sunscreens:

  1. Chemical Sunscreens: Absorb UV radiation. These contain ingredients: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octinoxate. These are lightweight, often found in lotions and sprays. However, they may cause skin irritation or allergies in some people.

  1. Physical (Mineral) Sunscreens: These reflect UV radiation. These contain ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide. These are less likely to cause irritation, and are effective immediately upon application. The downside is they can leave a white residue on the skin.

Choosing the Right Sunscreen. 

The BEST sunscreen is the one that you will wear and reapply!

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor):  a measure of how well a sunscreen protects against sunburn, mostly from UVB rays

  • Choose SPF 30 or higher for adequate protection.

  • SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays.

  • Broad-Spectrum: Protects against both UVA (aging rays) and UVB  (burning rays).

  • Water-Resistant: Ideal for swimming or activities causing heavy sweating. Note: "Water-resistant" is not waterproof; reapply after swimming or sweating.

How to Use Sunscreen (correctly):

Apply Generously:

  • Use about one ounce (a shot glass full) for full-body coverage.


  • Apply 15-30 minutes before going outside. 

  • Reapply every two hours, and immediately after swimming or sweating.

  • Wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days and in winter.

Your sunscreen expires. Usually there is an expiration date on the bottle. If not, it is generally okay for use for up to three years from purchase. 

Brands of Sunscreen

In the recent Consumer Reports recommendations, sunscreens were evaluated for  SPF, UVB, and UVA protection, scent, and feel of the product. Here are some of the report’s top recommendations: 

  1. Coppertone Water Babies Lotion SPF 50  Price: $9.27 

  2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Lotion SPF 50  Price: $33.00 

  3. Eucerin Advanced Hydration Spray SPF 50 Price $18.00

  4. Everyday Humans Oh My Bod! Lotion SPF 50  Price: $6.00

  5. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Lotion SPF 30 Aloe Vera Price: $13.00 Neutrogena Beach Defense Water + Sun Protection Spray SPF 50 Price: $10.00

  6. Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Glow Spray SPF 30 Price: $16.00

  7. Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte Gel SPF 45  Price: $15.00

  8. Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 Price $15.00

  9. Banana Boat Light As Air Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 Price: $20.00 pack of 2

Here are some of my favorite sunscreens that won't run in eyes and sting:

  1. Elta MD UV stick SPF 50 (mineral sunscreen, apply head to toe, oil-free!) (sold here)

  2. Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

  3. LaRoche-Posay Anthelios Activewear Lotion SPF 60

  4. Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport Stick SPF 50

And let’s not forget that we need to protect our face every single day! Here are some of my favorite daily facial moisturizers with SPF 30 to be worn every day of the year:

  1. Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 original or tinted (sold here) #1 by dermatologists

  2. Olay Complete SPF 30

  3. Eucerin Age Defense SPF 50 with hyaluronic acid

  4. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer  UV SPF 30

  5. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer SPF 50

SPF 30 or Higher Sunscreen and Proper Use will Keep You Covered!

The bottom line? Proper use of sunscreen is far more important than brand differences or SPF numbers over 30. We suggest applying the proper amount before sun exposure, then reapply, reapply, reapply, reapply. And remember, sunscreen is only one part of an overall smart sun protection strategy, which should include protective clothing and avoiding exposure during peak hours.

Have a great and safe summer!



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