It's May, and that means it's Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Over 5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and the best way for you to protect yourself is to wear sunscreen. Every single day. Even when you're indoors! EVEN if there's SPF in your makeup!! No matter your skin tone. End of story. It's not only your first defense against skin cancer, but it also helps prevent dark spots and wrinkles from forming so you can look young forever. Who wouldn't want that?

Sunscreen is clearly very important. People have probably been telling you to slather on the SPF since the day you were born, but they don't tell you how to find the best SPF for your skin. If you don't know what SPF stands for or what the number after SPF means, keep reading to learn everything you need to know in order to find the right sunscreen for your skin and learn what product the Supergreat staff are loving right now.

What you need to know about sunscreen:


What does SPF stand for?

Sun Protection Factor.

What does the number after SPF mean?

Many people believe that number indicates the strength of protection (i.e. SPF 30 is 30 percent protection from the sun's rays), but it is actually and indication of how long you'll be protected before needing to reapply. To figure out what level of SPF you need, you first must calculate how long it takes your skin to burn without sun protection. If you typically burn within 10 minutes, multiply that by the SPF number you are using and that will tell you how long you'll be protected. For example, if you're using SPF 30 and you burn within 10 minutes, 30 x 10 minutes = 300 minutes, which means you'll be protected for about 5 hours.

How much SPF should you wear?

You should aim to apply about one shot glass full or two tablespoons full of sunscreen to the exposed parts of your entire body. A nickel-sized amount of that should be spread over your face alone.

What's the difference between UVA rays and UVB rays?

UVA rays only reach the skin's surface, causing sunburn. UVB rays penetrate deeper and damage DNA, causing skin cancer. While UVA rays are mostly present on sunny days, UVB rays can penetrate through clouds and windows so it is important to look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both.

SG staffers share their favorite SPF products of the moment:

Abe, Social Media Manager

"I used to only use sunscreen during summers at the beach or pool, but one visit to the derm turned my life around. He suggested I use Elta MD (shoutout Dr. Hudson). It's a bit pricey but the formula is amazing, and you can't even tell you're wearing sunscreen after putting it on."

Sable, Editorial Consultant

"ILIA Tinted Serum for sure, Supergoop GlowScreen and Glow Body Oil, IT Cosmetics CC Cream, and Bareminerals Tinted Gel Moisturizer too."

Abi, Writer

"I'm really liking Supergoop's Glowscreen but I'm sure that's in everyone's top 3 right now. I also like Bare Republic's Mineral Sunscreen in Diamond Dust and Golden Haze. They're glittery so they're perfect for fun outdoor events like concerts or whatever."

Czarina, Graphic Designer

"I use Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++, the Japanese formula. It's a sunscreen that's super light and isn't greasy. Japan has higher sunscreen regulations so formulas are much nicer."

Nataliya, Engineer

"I use Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen from Shiseido. It also feels like nothing when it dries down."

Me! Savannah, Your Beloved Editor

My introduction to daily SPF was through Glossier Invisible Shield, then I swapped it out for Elta MD Clear Broad Spectrum. Today, my favorite SPF products of the moment include Supergoop Glowscreen (it was a reward, but we aren't being told to say this—it's just really good) as well as Kinship Self Reflecting Moisturizing SPF. On my lips I like to use any kind of SPF chapstick, like this one by Sun Bum. I also love Supergoop's Shimmershade, the first eyeshadow with SPF in it, because it stands alone as a pretty eyelid shade while protecting the super thin skin around our eyes. I love testing SPF products because they're a lot more like makeup than skincare; you can test lots of different kinds at once without worrying that it'll freak out your skin.
Add a review of your favorite SPF product below! 🍵