By now, you should know that skipping sunscreen causes more than just a bad burn. It makes you highly susceptible to premature signs of aging—wrinkles, fine lines, age spots—and in the worst-case scenario, even skin cancer. Now that summer is at its height, with plans for beach getaways, pool parties, outdoor barbecues, and garden picnics all underway, amping up the SPF should be high on your list of priorities. Without further ado, here’s our guide to sun safety, with a rundown of VISPF (Very Important SPF) tips.

1. CHOOSE A SUNSCREEN WITH UVA/UVB PROTECTION.

UV stands for Ultra Violet. UVA rays are responsible for those visible signs of aging, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Both types of UV radiation can cause skin cancer (and don’t forget what Karen Pamintuan discovered about the UV Index). That said, you’ll need a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection to block both UVA and UVB, like Coverderm’s Filteray Face Sunscreen SPF80, on sale at P1,355, and Filteray Body Plus Sunscreen SPF40, on sale at P1,440.

2. LOOK FOR THE LABEL “BROAD-SPECTRUM PROTECTION”.

Consider this: your SPF rating only refers to UVB protection. There is no ratings scale for UVA as of yet. So it’s important to make sure the phrase “broad-spectrum” appears on the label of your product. Double-check!

3. OR CHECK THE ACTIVE INGREDIENTS LIST.

Did you know that there are two kinds of sunscreen? A physical sunscreen like VMV Hypoallergenics’ Armada Post-Procedure Barrier Cream 50+, P1,325, is gentle on sensitive skin and contains titanium dioxide (which blocks most cancer-causing UVB and UVA rays) and zinc oxide (which blocks the full UV spectrum). A chemical sunscreen like Aveeno’s Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF70, P925, absorbs the sun’s rays, offers both UVA and UVB protection, and contains a combination of “armor” ingredients, including Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Octylcrylene, Octisalate, Homosalate, Helioplex, Mexoryl SX and XL.

4. OPT FOR A PRODUCT WITH AT LEAST SPF 30.

Here’s a surprising truth: no amount of SPF can actually offer 100 percent protection. Basically, the SPF rating (15, 30, 45) translates to how much longer you stay protected under the sun before you start to get red. This differs from person to person. Most dermatologists recommend using a daily SPF 15 (which blocks about 94 percent of the sun’s rays) if you spend all your time indoors and only head out to drive home after work. Planning to spend your day outdoors? Choose a product with at least SPF 30 (which blocks 97 percent) or SPF 45 (which blocks 98 percent), like RMK’s UV Face Protector SPF 43, P1,920. (FYI, Patty Laurel-Filart loves it.)

5. APPLY TWO MILLIGRAMS WORTH OF SUNSCREEN PER SQUARE INCH OF SKIN.

To get the full benefit of any product’s SPF, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a shot glass full of sunscreen (or two tablespoons) on all exposed areas or the face and body. The amount of sunscreen you should apply on your face should be equivalent to a nickel-sized dollop, spread out.
If you’re using a spray, like Bella B’s Sunny Bee Spray Mist Sunscreen SPF 40, P700, it can get tricky! Most dermatologists recommend spraying the product onto your palm and then applying it to your skin to make sure you’re getting enough coverage. But if you think that defeats the purpose of using a spray, mist yourself with the sunscreen until an even sheen appears on your skin.

6. APPLY A PRODUCT WITH SPF DAILY.

Fun fact: many factors affect the effectivity of your sunscreen’s SPF. Sweating, water immersion, even your skin color! The best way to stay protected apart from avoiding the sun altogether? Wear SPF daily and constantly reapply it every two hours, or any time you’ve been swimming or sweating heavily.

For more summer-ready beauty essentials, check out our Summer Collection and score up to 70% OFF!