One of the top reasons people don’t wear sunscreen is that they hate the texture, formula, or smell. No, that isn’t a statistic from some scientific study, but let’s all agree it’s true. I personally love the smell and texture of the typical lotion sunscreen, so it’s never been a problem for me. For example, one of my college roommates was so skeeved out by sunscreen lotion that she would only use the spray formulas. The good thing about this common sunscreen problem is that they’ve come out with just about every formula you can think of, from unscented to powder applicators. Which sunscreen formula is right for you?
You might be thinking to yourself, “Sunscreen actually comes in powder form?” Yep, it sure does! Powder sunscreen is best used for small areas, like your face, ears, and hairline/scalp. They often come in a container with a built-in applicator or brush, making application super easy. Some formulas are sheer, while others (likely those created for your hairline/scalp) can be tinted to match your coloring. Powder sunscreens make a great addition into your beach bag for those last-minute SPF touch-ups.
While my preferred sunscreen formula is lotion, most people I know opt for the spray version. The debate on whether to spray or spray and rub is up for debate (typing that question into Google gave me 3,340,000 results), and I’ll let you decide that for yourself. Spray sunscreens are ideal for those who are very active or always on-the-go. You can spray the sunscreen on all those hard-to-reach spots without getting your hands covered in the sticky lotion, which is another plus to this sunscreen formula.
Maybe it’s the telltale coconut scent or the fact that most formulas now have the added benefits of a moisturizer — either way, sunscreen lotion is still my favorite formula to use. Follow the AAD’s directions when applying sunscreen lotion: Use enough to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing (most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen). Additionally, follow the guideline of “1 ounce, enough to fill a shot glass,” which dermatologists consider the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body. Adjust the amount of sunscreen applied depending on your body size.
Stick sunscreens are ideal for those small areas we often forget to cover, like our toes, ears, lips, and all the crevices of the face. I love the balm-texture of most of these sticks — they’re so easy to apply. Just glide it on and go! I like to carry one of these with me in my purse in case I end up somewhere in the sun. The travel-size is great for applying to exposed shoulders or the tops of my feet during these surprise sun events.
Sunscreen oils should not be confused with tanning oils. Tanning oils typically don’t have any SPF protection (or if they do, it’s a low level of protection like SPF 5). Look for formulas that are infused with double-duty oils, like coconut, jojoba or avocado. These often add moisturizing or immune-boosting benefits to your SPF.