The Ultimate Guide to Sunscreens

People often regard sunscreen application only as part of their summer routine. Heads up, ladies and gents—putting on sunscreen is as crucial as washing your face.

Disregarding this step means wasting your entire skincare routine. Think about this: it’s like going into a battlefield without a shield. Spears of ultraviolet rays penetrate into the skin, causing harm.

Lucky for you, this article will break down the basics of sunscreen (and recommend some for your skin type, too!). Grab some pen and paper as we dive deeper into the last step of your AM skincare routine.

FURTHER READING: How To Layer Your Skincare Products

The Importance of Sunscreen

You might be asking, “What’s all the fuss about sunscreen?” Simple: not only does it prevent premature aging, but it goes as far as protecting your skin from cancer. Basking in the sun’s ultraviolet rays without putting on sunscreen can cause inflammation, formation of dark spots, and the early onset of fine lines and wrinkles. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

Apart from diligently applying sunscreen, it also pays to take other precautionary measures such as wearing caps and using umbrellas. Keeping out of direct sunlight, specifically during 10 am to 3 pm, also reduces the risk of acquiring both short- and long-term damage.

Some Things You Need To Know

Terms such as SPF and PA can get confusing. What’s with all those plus signs on the packaging of sunscreens? Also, what’s the difference between UVA and UVB? Fret not, we’re here to clear your confusion!


The first thing we have to know is what we’re up against everytime we step out into the sun. The sunburn we experience is due to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. In addition, UVB rays are commonly thought to cause most skin cancers. 

On the other hand, UVA rays are the ones that dive deeper into the skin. They give us those fine lines and wrinkles that we want to avoid. Moving on…

SPF and PA++++

What’s SPF and PA, you ask? Sun Protection Factor, otherwise known as SPF, pertains to a sunscreen’s ability to protect from UVB rays. In general, it only takes about 10 to 20 minutes for a person’s skin to burn under the heat of the sun. Wearing a product with SPF 15 would protect the skin from burning for 15 times longer. It’s still important, though, to reapply your sunscreen every so often (2-3 hours if you’re outdoors) since sunscreen can get rubbed off due to sweat. PA or the “Protection Grade of UVA”, on the other hand, refers to a product’s ability to protect from UVA rays. 

Another frequently asked question is the recommended SPF value in order to really maximize protection against the sun. Here’s a fact: putting on SPF 30 already blocks 97% of the rays! Going above this will only make a small difference because you can’t 100% protect yourself from the sun (unfortunately). 

FURTHER READING: What Do Sunscreen Numbers and +++ Mean

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens

The difference between chemical and physical sunscreens has to do with the way they protect the skin from UV rays. Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients such as avobenzone octinoxate and oxybenzone, and protect by absorbing UV rays, converting them into heat, and emitting them from the body. On the other hand, physical sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These literally act as “barriers”, staying on top of the skin, and protect by reflecting the sun’s rays. 

Typically, chemical sunscreens are lightweight and apply without a white cast, making it the preferred type of sunscreen of morenas and those with oily skin. In contrast, physical sunscreens are more likely to weigh heavier and leave behind a white cast. However, in recent years, technological advances have made it possible for manufacturers to come up with physical sunscreens that wear comfortably without leaving behind a heavy white cast. In general, physical sunscreens are recommended for those with sensitive skin. 

Sunscreen Recommendations By Skin Type/Concern

Want to shop for sunscreens but don’t know which one to choose? You’re in good hands! We’re laying down our product recommendation depending on your skin type.

Oily skin

The struggle is real when looking for a sunscreen that won’t make your face shinier than it already is. I know, I’ve been there. As an oily-skinned gal, products with lightweight formulations have my heart. One of them is the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA++++ which is water-based and is therefore lightweight! The best part? It can be reapplied on top of make-up. 

Acne-prone skin

For those who have frequent breakouts, the Some By Mi Truecica Mineral 100 Calming Suncream is for you! This contains tea tree and madecassoside, both of which are famous for calming down acne. To add, it also has whitening and anti-aging properties. A great multi-tasking product that’s worth every penny. 

WATCH: ANTI-ACNE SUNSCREEN! BONGGA! | Some By Mi Truecica Mineral 100 Calming Suncream

Sensitive skin

Dubbed as “the sunscreen for those with sensitive skin”, the Cosrx Shield Fit All Green Comfort Sun gently protects your skin from the sun. It’s weightless, which makes it perfect for the Philippine weather. On top of that, it also has a semi-matte finish which will make you look fresh all day. No irritation, only sun protection.

Dry skin

The cult favorite CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++ makes it on top of our recommendation for those with dry skin. Youtuber Soo Beauty (수뷰티) describes this as “very very moisturizing.” No white casts and is comfortable on the skin. This is very ideal because it features aloe vera, an ingredient is known to be a superstar when it comes to hydration.

WATCH: Fave Suncream for Every Skin Type! | 요즘 잘 사용하는 선크림 제형별로 추천!

Hyperpigmented skin

What’s worse than acne itself are the marks they leave behind. Thankfully, there’s a sunscreen that features brightening ingredients such as niacinamide, yuja, and glutathione. The Some By Mi Yuja Niacin Mineral 100 Brightening Suncream is a savior when lightening up dark spots. After consistent use, you’ll notice a different glow on your skin. 

And there you have it! Hope our handy guide has helped you learn more about sunscreens and convinced you to add one to your every day routine (if you haven’t yet). Whenever you feel like applying sunscreen is a nuisance, remind yourself that good things take time. Your efforts of slapping on sunscreen on a daily basis will pay off as you get older as it masks your real age. Until then — cleanse, moisturize, and (sun) protect.

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