Beauty & Grooming

How to Know the Best Sunscreen, According to Dermatologists

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measurement of the amount of time that your sunscreen will help protect your skin from solar radiation.
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How to Know the Best Sunscreen, According to Dermatologists
Cr.: iStock/Meeko Media

When it comes to sunscreen, everyone has different views and preferences. With so many differing sun protection habits and opinions, how do you know the best sunscreen for your skin? Between different lifestyles, plus various skin types, tones, and concerns, there’s a lot to consider when choosing sunscreen. ISDIN South Africa, a leading brand in dermatology, breaks down what makes a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen, to make your choice easier. 

Firstly, to know the best sunscreen for your skin, it is important to note that “Sun damage significantly affects our skin. It can harm cells and proteins, contribute to skin cancer, and accelerate the skin’s natural ageing process by up to 80%. So, whatever your age or skin type, there’s one thing that you should always include in your daily skincare routine: sunscreen,” explained Karlo Mitchell from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. 

What do dermatologists look for in a sunscreen? 

Portrait of black woman, happy or cream for wellness in studio with smile, natural cosmetics or glow. Dermatology, face or African girl model applying skincare lotion or creme on brown background stock photo
Cr.: iStock/Jacob Wackerhausen

Skin-boosting ingredients.

To get the maximum benefit from your sunscreen, look for one with additional ingredients that boost overall skin health. The most advanced formulations now help care for your skin in other ways, adding peptides to help target signs of premature skin ageing, and antioxidants, for extra protection against oxidative skin damage. 

The texture makes you want to wear it. The best kind of sunscreen is one you will want to apply every single day. And that’s where expert insights come into play. Dermatologists are always on top of the latest innovations in product texture — such as 100% mineral sunscreens that don’t leave behind a greasy, white residue and don’t burn your eyes. 

The higher the SPF, the better. One of the biggest misconceptions about sunscreen is that if you have dark skin or more melanin, you don’t need to be using a high SPF. Everyone needs to be using sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30+.

SPF, or sun protection factor, is a measurement of the amount of time that your sunscreen will help protect your skin from solar radiation. When making your choice, it’s best to look for a higher SPF, such as an SPF 50 or SPF 50+ sunscreen, as this increases the time it would take for your skin to burn when in direct sunlight.

Woman sunbathing at the beach stock photo
Cr.: iStock/JLeoPatrizi

Lastly, It’s a broad spectrum. Meaning, it protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are largely responsible for premature skin ageing, so they provoke changes in the skin, such as the appearance of wrinkles and sunspots. UVB rays are sometimes called burning rays, as they’re the culprit behind sunburn and tanning in your skin. Both types of rays can contribute to the risk of developing skin cancer. So, for the best all-over protection, be sure to choose broad-spectrum sunscreens.

“Bottom line: To help protect your skin from sun damage and photo-ageing, a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen is a great place to start. Remember, the sun doesn’t take a day off! So, whichever type of sunscreen you choose, apply it daily and apply it well,” concluded Mitchell. 

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