Sunlight is actually good for the skin in small doses, but it only takes a few minutes for the skin to get what it needs. This holds true even while wearing a sunscreen that has a high SPF.
Sunburns can quickly develop within minutes when we are distracted, sleeping, or involved in outdoor activities. It is usually too late by the time you notice your skin turning even a light hue of pink, because burns continue to develop after the initial point of exposure. The safest solution is to cover up with long sleeves, pants, hats and glasses. However, that solution is hardly an option when it’s hot, and especially while exercising or relaxing at the beach. Which sunscreen you choose will depend on how fair your skin is, what activities you are doing, and whether or not you have any skin sensitivities.
Waterproof and SPF Level
People who have red or blond hair typically have the fairest skin. However, people with dark hair and dark eyes can also have a fair complexion as well. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF level of at least 15 as adequate protection from the sun for all types of skin complexions. If your skin is pale or light olive, you will likely need greater SPF protection, such as 40 or higher, but keep in mind that the number in SPF does not evenly accrue to increase your level of protection. For example, an SPF of 15 naturally increases your skin’s protection by 2%, but an SPF of 30 does not double that level of protection to 4%. It is best to exercise caution by choosing an adequate level of protection while paying close attention to reapply lotion whenever it seems necessary.
Sweat can wash away sunscreen over time, so you may need a water resistant sunscreen if you plan on being outdoors in excess of an hour. You may be sweating more than you realize in drier climates. Waterproof lotion should be reapplied after every hour of spending time in the water.
Some people are sensitive to sunscreens that contain harsh chemicals. Traditional sunscreens use harsher chemicals to create a reaction in the skin to increase resistance. The best types to use for sensitive skin use natural and gentle ingredients. Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide sunscreen causes less skin irritation than other chemicals traditionally used. They work to provide protection by blocking UV light.