Making Sense of Sunscreen

Father’s Day is a big day for me now. It has turned into a gift giving day. It hasn’t always been this way, but lately as my children have gotten older and have become gainfully employed, I have started getting cool stuff. A lot of it is related to hobbies and various types of apparel. Lately, it has turned into a “let’s keep dad safe in the sun” grab bag.

At the top of my gift bag I received SPF50 long sleeve shirts and a wide brimmed straw hat you might see farmers wearing in the hot summer sun. As I found my way to the bottom of the bag and past the baseball cards, I discovered another layer of sun protection. I found sunscreen and lots of it.

Most of my sunscreen from last summer had expired. When I would squeeze it out of its container the clear oil and white lotion had separated into two distinct parts. It was time for a new batch of sun protection and my family knew it. So, what did I get?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Sunscreen has come a long way

I received sunscreen in a spray can, in a bottle, in a twist/turn operated container and in a tiny dispenser. It came in spray form, a liquid lotion, a gel, and a balm. It was for my scalp, my ears and cheeks, my legs and arms, and my lips. Each item of sunscreen was specifically designed for unique usage on a different part of the body. Each was at least SPF30 and was attractively packaged.

We have come a long way in just a few years. Not long ago there were very few options. Initially sunscreen came in a plastic squeeze bottle ensuring that it would get all over your hands and anything you touched. Soon a spray form entered the market ensuring that all those around you would get a dose of sunscreen in their eyes. Things have changed and so have the ways the consumer can use it.

My sunscreen routine

Here is how I think about and use sunscreen these days.

  • I apply a base sunscreen lotion (SPF 30) almost every day after my shower. I use it on my face, ears, neck and the tops of my hands, basically any part that I expect to be exposed during the day.
  • I keep a sunscreen stick (SPF 70) with me in the car. This is good for applying in small areas without getting any of the product on your hands. It can be very thick so I try to just apply a light glaze.
  • I apply spray sunscreen (SPF 50-100) on my legs and any part of my body that may be hard to reach. I use this product when I know that I will be outside for extended periods and may sweat.
  • I also keep lip balm (SPF 30) with me in my pocket. I apply this often after drinking and eating. I really don’t want to burn my lips.

One thing I have learned over the years is that my skin is not uniformly the same in each part of my body. My ears are different than my legs. My lips are different than the top of my hands. Each part requires a unique sunscreen product for the best protection and comfort. If you have ever tasted spray sunscreen you are thankful that they created lip balm with SPF.

Hopefully, you will develop your own sunscreen strategy that is unique to your body’s needs. What products have you used?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.