10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Sunscreen



10 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Sunscreen

When the sun is shining bright, and the temperature starts to rise, one of the essential items you need is sunscreen. It not only protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays but also helps prevent sunburn and reduces the risk of skin cancer. However, choosing the right sunscreen can be more complicated than it seems. Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when selecting the perfect sunscreen to keep your skin safe and healthy.

1. Choosing only based on high SPF value

Understanding SPF

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a critical factor in sunscreen selection. Skipping the evaluation of SPF can lead to inadequate sun protection. SPF indicates how long the sunscreen can protect your skin from UV B rays.

Matching SPF with Activities

Different activities require varying degrees of sun protection. A big mistake is not matching the SPF level with your planned activities. Higher SPF is recommended for extended outdoor activities, while lower SPF may be suitable for everyday use.

SPF isn’t everything

Products with SPFs higher than 50 tend to be more sticky and less aesthetically pleasing. Choose an SPF level that suits your skin type and the duration of sun exposure. You can always consult your Dermatologist to zero in on the best option for you.

2. Disregarding Broad-Spectrum Protection

Importance of Broad-Spectrum

Opting for a sunscreen that only shields against UV B rays is another mistake. UV B rays primarily cause sunburn, but UV A rays are responsible for premature aging and skin damage.

It is better to look for broad spectrum sunscreens to ensure protection against UV A, UV B and visible light.

3. Not paying attention to ingredients

Importance of Ingredients

It is commonly seen that many people are unaware of the ingredients used in their sunscreen. It is better to take professional advice from your Dermatologist to decide on a sunscreen based on your sensitivity or allergy profile.

4. Using same formulation for face and body

Your face and body have different needs

Skin of the face has different properties compared to that of the body, hence different formulations are usually needed. Face sunscreens are typically lighter and more oil-free than body sunscreens, which can help to prevent breakouts.

5. Thinking all nature based products are chemical free

The Truth about “Natural” Sunscreens

When choosing a sunscreen, don’t assume “natural” means chemical-free. Many natural-based sunscreens do contain chemicals, but they are typically derived from plants or minerals. However, it is very important to carefully go through the ingredient list while selecting a sunscreen. Many so-called natural sunscreens have chemical ingredients that might need your attention.

6. Thinking all chemical ingredients are harmful

Understanding Chemical Sunscreen Safety

Not all chemical sunscreens are harmful. Good chemical sunscreens are carefully tested for safety and environmental considerations and we cannot claim that all of them are harmful. It’s important to talk to your Dermatologist if you have any concerns about the ingredients in sunscreen.

7. Thinking if a sunscreen worked for a friend, the same one will work for me

Consider Your Skin Type

Each skin type is different and needs care and products as the specific needs. Choosing a sunscreen that doesn’t suit your skin type can result in irritation or breakouts. If you have oily skin, opt for oil-free or gel-based sunscreens. If your skin is sensitive, look for products with hypoallergenic labels.

8. Ignoring Expiry Dates

Check Expiry Dates

Using expired sunscreen is a common mistake. Expired sunscreen loses its effectiveness and may not provide adequate protection. Always check the expiry date before applying sunscreen to your skin.

9. Neglecting Sunscreen for Cloudy Days

Clouds Don’t Block UV Rays

Assuming that you don’t need sunscreen on cloudy days is a grave error. UV rays can penetrate clouds and cause skin damage even when the sun isn’t glaringly bright.

10. Applying Too Little Sunscreen and Not Reapplying Frequently

Proper Application Matters

Using too little sunscreen is as good as not using any at all. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin. A teaspoon for your face and a shot glass full for your body is a good rule of thumb.

Reapply for Continuous Protection

Sunscreen needs to be reapplied frequently, especially if you’re sweating or spending time in the water. Not reapplying as directed can lead to uneven protection and sunburn.

In conclusion, choosing the right sunscreen requires careful consideration to ensure effective protection against the harmful effects of UV rays. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you make an informed decision and keep your skin healthy.


What is sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a photo-protective topical product that helps protect the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. Visible light also aggravates pigmentation. Sunscreen works by absorbing or reflecting UV rays before they can damage the skin.

Which sunscreen is best?

The best sunscreen for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Some factors to consider include your skin type, activity level, and the amount of sun exposure you receive.

In general, you should look for a sunscreen that is broad spectrum, has an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water-resistant. Broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF stands for sun protection factor, and it measures how well a sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays. An SPF of 30 means that your skin will be protected from 97% of UVB rays.

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to choose a sunscreen that is fragrance-free and oil-free. If you are going to be sweating or swimming, you will need to choose a sunscreen that is water-resistant.
You can try Dr. Pooja’s Trqois Terra Kudzu-based Face Cream with SPF-15 which is a great nature-based product for most skin types.

What is SPF in sunscreen?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. It is a measure of how well a sunscreen can protect your skin from UVB rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn.

An SPF of 15 indicates protection from about 93% UVB rays. Similarily, SPF of 30 means that your skin will be protected from 97% of UVB rays. So, if you would normally burn in 10 minutes without sunscreen, you would be able to stay in the sun for 300 minutes with an SPF of 30.

How to apply sunscreen?

To apply sunscreen properly, follow these steps:
1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry.
2. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen to your face and neck, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
3. Apply sunscreen to your ears, and the tops of your feet.
4. Let the sunscreen dry completely before applying powder.
5. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming.

What to apply first sunscreen or moisturizer?

It is generally recommended to apply sunscreen, after applying moisturizer. This will help to lock in the moisture and prevent the sunscreen from drying out your skin.

Ultimately, the best way to apply sunscreen is the way that works best for you. Experiment with different methods until you find one that you are comfortable with.

Can I use the same sunscreen for my face and body?

While some sunscreens are designed for both face and body, it’s recommended to use a separate sunscreen specifically formulated for the face.

Should I wear sunscreen indoors?

Yes, indoor activities near windows can expose you to UV rays, as do laptop screen exposure, and strong indoor fluorescent lighting. Visible light also aggravates pigmentation, so, wearing sunscreen indoors is still a good idea. Broad spectrum, nature based sunscreen like Dr. Pooja’s Trqois Terra Kudzu-based Face Cream with SPF-15 is great for indoor use.

Can I use last year’s sunscreen?

It’s best to use fresh sunscreen each season, as the efficacy of sunscreen can diminish over time.

Are natural sunscreens better than chemical ones?

Both types have their pros and cons. Natural sunscreens use physical blockers, while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays. Choose one that suits your preferences and skin type.

Can children use the same sunscreen as adults?

It’s recommended to use sunscreens specifically formulated for children, as their skin is often more sensitive.

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