How to choose the best sunscreen for YOU


How to choose the right sunscreen for you

In honor of skin cancer awareness month, I filmed a vlog going over general sunscreen guidelines and how to choose the best sunscreen for your skin type. Check it out!

In a nutshell, my general guidelines are to use sunscreen daily, SPF 30 or above, reapplying every 2 hours if you are exposed to the sun. And yes, UVA radiation travels through glass so even indoors you are exposed to UV rays that cause photoaging!

And remember, the order of application of your topicals, outlined below. You always want your medication to go on closest to the skin, followed by a good hydration barrier to lock in moisturizer, and then sunscreen to fight off UVA and UVB. After that basic regimen is on, you can then move on to the rest of your makeup.

  1. Medication (acne or rosacea medicine, etc.)
  2. Moisturizer
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Foundation
  5. Other makeup

If you have questions about the safety of sunscreen ingredients, check out my post here debunking myths about certain products. Please do not write off sunscreens containing oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate because of things you have heard on the Internet saying that these ingredients are harmful. Check out the science for yourself!

Here are some of my personal favorite SPF containing products:

Let me know if you have any questions; another post on general FAQ’s about sunscreen is coming soon!

6 Comments on How to choose the best sunscreen for YOU

  1. Audrey
    March 31, 2017 at 7:46 am (11 months ago)

    Since primer is very useful to make anything on the top of it last longer, should primer be used before using sunscreen so I have a layer between my skin and my sunscreen?

    • Joyce
      March 31, 2017 at 8:35 am (11 months ago)

      Good question; I had to look this up myself recently when I started using primers more often. You want to wash your face, moisturize, then apply sunscreen before applying primer then makeup (foundation etc). The primer should go on directly before makeup because you want to create a smooth canvas for makeup application. I tend to use primers with spf and foundation with spf so on days I use both I skip the additional layer of sunscreen.

  2. Cheyenne
    October 4, 2017 at 12:09 pm (5 months ago)

    I have brown skin and growing up I tanned within, what seemed like, minutes. I was reading about two types of tans, a quick tan where no new melanin is produced but rather it is redistributed and one where new melanin is produced overtime. Since a tan is evidence of UV damage can you explain what damage occurs within the first hour or so of being outdoors without sunscreen and how the redistribution of melanin is a defense mechanism? Thanks so much!!

    • Joyce
      October 4, 2017 at 1:05 pm (5 months ago)

      Hi Cheyenne, great question! You’re totally right in that there’s 2 types of tans. the initial quick tan you see within hours of being outdoors is due to UVA radiation which causes redistribution of melanin to more of your skin cells. The tan you get from UVB radiation exposure is delayed and longer lasting because your body is actually synthesizing new melanin in an attempt to protect against more damage. Melanin is protective because it scatters UV radiation (physical barrier) and allows for less penetration and damage from UV rays (absorbent filter). So does that mean that getting a tan is good? No! Because if you notice your skin is tan, that means the damage has already been done, and we all know that cumulative sun exposure and damage can lead to photoaging and higher risk of skin cancer. UVA rays cause damage through generation of reactive oxidative species and DNA breaks, and UVB rays cause DNA mutations that increase risk of skin cancer. So in a nutshell, try to avoid getting tan in the first place because that means you’ve already sustained damage from the sun, and it all adds up!

  3. Michelle
    November 13, 2017 at 7:14 pm (3 months ago)

    Thanks for the video. I have a question – if a sunscreen is broad spectrum, does that mean it blocks approximately the same percentage of UVA and UVB rays? For example, would a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 block 97% of UVA rays and 97% of UVB rays, or is it possible for the protection to be slightly skewed toward UVA protection vs UVB protection based on the active ingredients? I’ve heard that physical sunscreens provide better protection in the UVA spectrum, so I’ve been trying to determine if that is actually true and if so, if it is significant enough to take into consideration when choosing between physical and chemical options.

    • Joyce
      November 23, 2017 at 4:19 pm (3 months ago)

      Hey Michelle, this is a GREAT question and actually the answer may surprise you. The SPF only refers to the percentage of UVB rays blocked and not UVA! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation: “The FDA has instituted a pass/fail test based on the critical wavelength value of 370 nm as its standard for acceptable broad-spectrum protection. In this widely used in vitro (lab-based) test, the UV absorption spectrum of the sunscreen is plotted against wavelength; the wavelength where 90 percent of absorption occurs is defined as the critical wavelength. Therefore, the more potent and broad the UVA protection, the longer the critical wavelength. Most consider a critical wavelength of 370 nm or longer as being good UVA protection.”

      Sunscreens from Europe and Asia have a UVA factor; I wrote about it more here. I would still get broad spectrum sunscreen because it covers UVA but if you can get sunscreens from Europe or Asia, they have better UVA blocking ingredients! Hope this helps!


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