Whether you’re heading out for a picnic on a sunny day or are just on your way to college, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen. Sun protection is necessary regardless of the weather. Because the UV rays of the sun can damage your skin in more ways than one. Apart from tanning your color, which is basically damaged skin rather than glowing and beautiful, the sun’s rays can also cause cancer and trigger premature aging.

This is why, when you pick a sunscreen for routine use you must be sure that you’re buying a product that can provide ample protection against both the UVB and UVA rays of the sun. Since not all skin types are equal, you should select one that is sure to go with yours. What works for two of your BFFs may not work for you. Wondering how to get your hands on the right sunscreen? Here are some things to consider when buying your sunscreen:

1 – Take note of important dates

First and foremost, check out the manufacturing and expiration dates on the packaging. You don’t want to purchase an expired product because the ingredients in expired products can severely damage skin. What’s more, make sure the manufacturing date is not too far back. The fresher the better as the ingredients in sunscreens break down really fast. Don’t stock up on sunscreens just because a good discount is being offered. Purchase your next bottle after the first has almost run out so that you can get one of the freshest manufactured batch.

2 – Make sure the sunscreen suits your skin

Depending on your skin type, your sunscreen requirements will differ. If you have sensitive skin, choose a hypoallergenic and fragrance-free sunscreen. Also avoid alcohol and preservatives. If you have acne prone skin, then your sunscreen should contain alcohol. People with acne can also buy water-based sunscreen rather than one that is oil-based. If you have dry skin, then choose a sunscreen with oils, silicone, glycerin. You can also be extra careful and go for a product that has been dermatologically tested.

3 – Look closely at the ingredients

Certain common sunscreen ingredients can have hormone disrupting properties. Others can be harsh on the skin. Hence, check the ingredients properly. Avoid products that contain chemicals which can damage the skin such as oxybenzone, retinol, and the like. There are also some preservatives which are not very gentle on your skin which should also be avoided. One example of such a component is methylisothiazolinone. If you have had an allergic reaction to any ingredients in the past, check for their presence on the label as well.

4 – Make certain you get ample coverage

The SPF number of a sunscreen determines how much protection your skin can get from the sun’s UVB rays. Generally, you should choose an SPF that is at least 30. It is, however, better to go for a higher SPF rating. Experts say that fair skinned people with a higher risk of tanning should go for an SPF as high as 50. In the same way the number of + signs determine how much protection from UVA rays you can get from a sunscreen.  Some products have at least three of these which is the rating you should go for.

5 – Get the right type of product

There are many different kinds of sunscreens. Some come in the form of gels, and lotions while others come as sprays. It’s best to go for a cream or lotion which you can lather on easily rather than sprays. While the spray option seems more convenient, it often leaves some parts unprotected which means it is not as efficient. Spraying a sunscreen on your face can make some ingredients enter your nose or mouth which can be harmful. Sprays are best for bald or hairy spots. In the same way, powder form of sunscreens is also not preferable.

6 – Remember quality matters more

Don’t worry about the quantity of sunscreen you are getting, nor focus on the price. Your goal should be to pick a product which has good quality. In this regard, try to go for products which have been approved by the Food and Drug Authority, United States. Or you can get one that the European Union has approved. These organizations have very strict standards of approval which makes it easy to rely on the product. What’s more, keep in mind that it’s not necessary that a higher price would equate to better quality. The brand should be trustable, that is what matters.

7 – Check out other features of the product

Your entire family can use the same sunscreen unless you have different skin, for instance, if you have acne and they don’t. In this regard, always take a look at the different features of a product. See if your chosen formula is water and sweat resistant. On sunny days, dripping sweat can literally take no time in wiping your face clear of sunscreen. Also check if the product is gentle enough to be used by the children in the family. Or if it can safely be applied with your makeup. Similarly, note other characteristics as well.

8 – Choose a product that makes you feel good

Last but not the least, you should get a sunscreen that you enjoy applying so that every time you massage it on, you don’t dread it. Perhaps you’d prefer a sunscreen that contains fruit extracts or has a particular fragrance. Other than this, the texture of the sunscreen when on your skin should also satisfy you. Most people like lightweight sunscreens which are non-greasy and easy to apply such that they can be evenly applied without any trouble. You don’t want a sunscreen that has a sticky or watery texture.

So, this way our list of all the things that you should consider when selecting a sunscreen. Do you have any more pointers to add? Tell us the comments!