Recently, we posted an article about shameful sunscreens that are a waste of money. A lot of you then smartly asked, “well, what sunscreens should we look for instead?” We’ve got the answers for you right here. While staying far away from those shameful sunscreens, be on the lookout for these key things when searching for a great product.

  1. The Right Active Ingredients:
    When looking at sunscreen labels, make sure you see Avobenzone and Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide in the list of active ingredients. The first helps to absorb harmful UVA rays while the latter reflects them away from the skin.
  2. Broad-Spectrum Coverage:
    This term means that the sunscreen will protect against both UVB and UVA rays, both of which have been linked to types of skin cancer.
  3. Water Resistance:
    According to the FDA, if a sunscreen is labeled “water resistant,” it can maintain its SPF protection for at least 40 minutes of sweating or swimming. And if it says “very water-resistant” or “very sweat-resistant,” you can expect solid coverage for at least 80 minutes.
  4. The Right SPF:

    Look for the SPF of your sunscreen to be over 15 (keeping in mind that anything over 50 isn’t worth it). Also, bear in mind that the SPF refers to the percentage of coverage you’ll receive – not how long you can stay in the sun and be protected. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will give you about 93% protection from the sun’s rays whereas an SPF of 50 will give you about 97% protection. Unfortunately, no sunscreen will give you 100% protection. But whatever SPF you choose, reapply often if you’re out in the sun (at least every 2 hours).

On the hunt for a great sunscreen that offers maximum protection? Take a look at EWG’s Guide to the Best Sunscreens of 2015.